Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New U.S. TV Season May Be Doomed

Check out the semi-brilliant article in this week's New York Magazine about the new incoming American TV season.
I've been viewing most of the new pilots and all I can say is there isn't much out there to excite any one.
But Josef Adalian's article "On The Eve Of A New Season, Network Execs Fear A Premiere Week Ratings Disaster" has set alarm bells ringing in the Manhattan sky scrapers.
Adalian forcibly argues that the safe, secure days of network fall launches are a thing of the past what with the advent of DVDs, cable hits and the Internet.
And I happen to think he's right.
Last season ratings were down by as much as one quarter at some of the old line networks. NBC's plunge was so precipitous there are doubts the peacock proud network can ever come back.
Already NBC's Million Second Quiz and the return of Fox's The X Factor have opened to disastrously low ratings.
Every season more viewers are figuring out they no longer have to stick with network schedules. They can program their own faves and watch when they feel like it.
And Adalian makes the point the overnight Nielsen ratings no longer can tell who is watching --it may take weeks for all the figures to be compiled.
When I started out as TV critic of The Spectator a mere 43 years ago it was all so simple. I worked in a 10-channel universe.
NBC would have a hit like Seinfeld and viewers stayed glued to NBC for the night even sticking with such dogs as Suddenly Susan.
Now viewers are all over the map and ditching mediocre series like crazy.
Canadian networks have wound up buying practically every American series for big bucks and ignoring their Canadian content responsibilities.
Unless they switch to more quality Canadian fare they could wind up as the TV season's biggest losers.
In the new TV world content will be king.
So let the 2013 TV season begin and be on the lookout for shows quickly crashing and burning.
It's going to be one mean, nasty shoot out I'm predicting with the very existence of some networks on the line.

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