5/28/2008 2:31:47 PM permalink
I perused through IMDB.com this afternoon, and came across this blurb about the
Big 3 networks working together for a cause. Read on. Three Networks Set To Air Cancer Telethon
28 May 2008 10:38 AM, PDT
In an unprecedented one-night hookup, three major TV networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, have agreed to air a joint telethon on the first Friday night in September to raise money for cancer research. To demonstrate the networks' unity, the three evening newsbanchors appeared together on each of their networks' morning shows today (Wednesday) to promote the telethon. The fund-raiser was reportedly the brainchild of Katie Couric, whose late husband, Jay Monahan, died of the disease in 1998.
After reading this, it brought to mind something that had been brewing in my head for
quite sometime now: the networks uniting as one network.
Okay, so maybe that is a bit far fetched when you consider that NBC is backed by
Universal Studios, ABC with Disney, and CBS is partnered with Viacom, which runs Paramount
and Dreamworks. The Big 3 joining forces as one network would probably never happen,
but it if did, no one on God's green earth could ever accuse me of being surprised.
Sure, they've been bitter rivals to each other forever, each vying for your attention span with
sit-coms, endless crime dramas, and reality shows. Their battle for ratings has been a losing one.
Ratings for network TV overall has been suffering for many years, and it's getting desperate.
Unless a show has the ratings bonanza of an American Idol, or Lost, it's lucky to last a season,
no matter how well-produced, acted or intrigueing the series may be.
I wrote a letter to Nina Tassler of CBS regarding my disdain for good shows like Moonlight getting
the boot, but it was never with the belief that it would make a difference. I knew better than that.
I understand many did NOT like Moonlight for several reasons. Whether I disagree with
them or not is irrelevant. I liked the show, and that's enough for me.
But because the ratings did not justify it's stay on the eye network, ratings that other
smaller cable networks would love to claim, it's gone.
The truth is Moonlight remains a victim of how the Big 3 are running things season-in, season-out. Ten
years ago, had Moonlight been out then, it would've stayed a few more seasons if the numbers were
the same, but that is no longer the case. The number of new shows coming in and out of all the networks is near dizzying. It's really hard to keep up. The more new shows announced, the more turned off I become with
each title. My reason to care has dramatically dropped. Why should I give a new show a chance if it's
going to be cancelled within a few months? I'm sick of it.
I even read that Joss Whedon's new TV show on Fox, Dollhouse, is already getting campaigns to save the
show before it's axed, and it hasn't even aired yet! The case of desperation for good TV shows to last
a while longer continues erode the our patience. We, the TV viewing audience, is suddenly asked to
work harder to watch and keep watching at the bequest of the TV networks. That's insane.
Legally, financially, and thanks to no small measure of pride from each, the 3 networks getting together
may never happen. Yet in a climate where so many corporations are merging and partnering up for the sake of surviving in a volatile market, it's a wonder that it hasn't happened yet. Even if two of the three were to
join forces, would it make things better? Would there be less cancellations of good shows?
Who knows? Would it decompress the desperation level that results in axing-off shows with ratings
just below acceptable? Doubt it.
But with each year that passes, it's clear that this is not a cyclical problem that will go away, with all
3 networks back up in a high-flying upswing of success in another year or two. They can no longer claim
each other as the biggest competitor, which is a title now shared between cable, the internet, and gaming
consoles. And just like I touched on in my last rant, time has become more valuable a commodity than
With so many choices before us on a daily basis, from playing GTA4, mastering Guitar Hero,
chatting away with family members online while completing a POGO.com challenge, laughing at
the latest exploits of Monk on the USA network, watching movies commercial free on any number of
channels, the Big 3 have their work cut out for them.
But the premature cancellations of good shows continues to plague the Big 3 to a degree that more
and more viewers are being turned off. No one watches free television to be frustrated. All they care
about is to be entertained while relaxing from the hectic insanity of their day. At its best, television can
be a lot of fun to watch and enjoy. But killjoys from the Big 3 continue to popup up, and it's only getting
worse. Sure, TV shows die off, and life goes on. I get that. But this is at an unprecedented level.
Can anyone here remember a time where so many fans of recently cancelled shows are pissed off
Sooner or later, something's got to give. And when it happens, the Big 3 may wind up on the losing
end of the deal. Unless, of course, they decide to strap their boats together to stay afloat.
You never know.