The Wall Street Journal reports today on TV networks and studios currying favor with bloggers. Blogola, they call it. Back when I was a TV critic, I never went on the network junkets; I wanted to be just another member of the audience and not get starstruck; when I started Entertainment Weekly, in my brief reign, I wouldn’t allow TV critics to write features about the stars they criticized. But, Lord knows, times have changed. Critics matter less. Shows are smaller. Bloggers are, truly, just viewers and fans: real people. So who’s going to pass up a chance to hobnob with a star and take home some TV schwag? All this also indicates that mass TV continues to fade as even the networks realize they are selling to niches.

Speaking of shrinking TV, note that NBC — which last season essentially surrendered the 8 o’clock hour to reality junk rather than producing fictional and comedy TV — now continues to skulk:

NBC made it own schedule public yesterday, and it was, by its executive’s admission, a conservative lineup with only four new hours set for the fall. Kevin Reilly, the president of NBC Entertainment, said that adding more new series now was unwise because it is so difficult to market new shows in the fall.

Yes, you can only bribe so many bloggers and that takes you only so far.