This is why democracy works

This is why democracy works

: As I always say, the trends that threaten to eat TV never do. Tabloid shows, blooper shows, variety shows, soap operas… all dead.

Now reality shows are clutching their throats and choking.


A fall season with a glut of reality shows has led to several cancellations, weak entrants and

  • So what’s the next addiction?

  • There isn’t anything that evil about reality shows. They’re made because, well, in a world of ever-fragmenting media, anything that is cheap to make is going to get a producer’s attention.
    The drawback is, of course, the barriers to entry are incredibly low, ergo high competition and a glut of the darn things.
    But “a painful glut of low-production dreck” is the future.
    Daytime TV is all about this. For a single episode of “Friends” or “Roots” you can make months worth of gameshows. The entire year’s worth of The Newlywed Game is filmed and produced in a single month. They rent the studio in Burbank and the freelance production crew for a month, and they work 18 hour days, shipping in the newlywed contestants like cattle in the Chicago stockyards.
    Fragmenting Media = Cheaper Shows = More high concept rubbish like Queer Eye.
    The biggest gripe in the mix comes from advertisers. Ratings drop, the price for advertising on America’s No 1 show doesn’t. As pure media, TV gets more expensive, relative to what is delivered (less and less every year). It can only get away with it because the Number 2 choice in terms of impact and audience delivery is so far behind.
    But don’t rule out broadcast just yet. Though it might be failing in terms of quality of experience and audience delivery, it has once trick up its sleeve- it’s still a wonderful incubator for future syndication properties- Friends, Seinfeld etc- which they can sell in dozens and dozens of local and foriegn markets.
    Theoretically ABC, CBS or NBC could fund Prime Time at cost, or even a small loss, and theoretically make their money back selling Seinfeld to Swedish or Korean TV… amazing what can be done with a few lowly-paid dubbing artists.