Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Is Network Television As We Know It Over?

NBC’s Performance Would Suggest It Is

Things evolve, contrary to Conservative’s position that evolution is a liberal fantasy story made up in order to deny the true Biblical story of creation.  And one of the areas that evolves is modern culture.  Ozzie and Harriet (who?) just would not get on the fall TV schedule these days.

For about 80 years now networks have dominated the radio/television prime time entertainment arena.  The network programming can be regarded as software, developed and designed to sell hardware, i.e., radio sets and television sets.  But they evolved into their own thing, and their programming has dominated popular culture since the 1920’s.  But that may be ending.

The competition for entertainment is leaving network television with little to do except do what television does best, broadcast in real time.  So news, sports and reality shows are now the dominant forces on TV, with drama and comedy series slowly ebbing away.  The dramatic results of all of this, NBC, the first major network finished the February ratings period in fifth place, behind not only ABC, CBS and Fox, but also behind Univision.

When the official numbers are completed Thursday, NBC will finish this sweeps month not only far behind its regular network competitors, but also well behind the Spanish-language Univision. No broadcast network has ever before finished a television season sweeps month in fifth place.

How bad was it?  Ugly.

Advertising executives note that ratings this month on many shows are so low they may force NBC to offer a spate of what are known as make-goods — free commercials to cover shortfalls from rating guarantees. . . .

The network’s prime-time record this month is a litany of ratings sorrows: Shows that looked like hits last fall, like the new comedy “Go On,” have collapsed. New shows, like the comedy “1600 Penn,” started weak and have fallen fast. NBC even had the lowest-rated new network drama of all time, “Do No Harm,” which was rated 0.9 in the 18-49 category for its premiere this month and fell to 0.7 in its second week.

It was canceled after two episodes. . .

 “Smash” returned three weeks ago to audience indifference. Last week’s episode could not eke out even a 1 rating among viewers aged 18 through 49, the audience NBC sells to advertisers.

Over all, the network’s ratings have fallen so far that no episode of any show on NBC in February came within one million viewers of a show on PBS: “Downton Abbey.” And forget approaching the numbers of a cable hit like AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

NBC is expecting to come back big next year, but that is only because of the Winter Olympics, not because it has big programming prospects.  But the real indication of just how much trouble traditional network programming is encountering is this tidbit.

Mr. Bader noted that some other programming reinforcements are lined up for NBC, including a new edition of “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Yes, when your entertainment success is dependent upon Donald Trump and a bunch of has-been celebrities, your demise is on the horizon.  Thanks for the memories NBC.

No comments:

Post a Comment