Media Cannibalizes the Network to Save It
In case you missed the news, the Sunday finale of former Public Emeny hype-man Flavor Flav's Bachelor-style reality show, Flavor of Love, became VH1's most-watched show ever -- the Number One non-sports telecast of the entire year on basic cable.
Nevermind that the show basically features burnout Flav sampling the wares of women who once would have been relegated to the back rows of one of his videos; the true charm of the show is that it is so blindingly, obviously awful.
NBC has decided to move its football drama Friday Night Lights to the Monday at 10 p.m. berth once held by its greatest hope, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, in a move that feels conspicuously like re-arranging deck chairs on the you-know-what. And its parent company has already copped to a plan which involves cutting $750 million from the company -- including a reduction of 700 positions, taking all scripted programming out of the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. timeslot all week and moving MSNBC from New Jersey to Manhattan (no word on what that means for My Name is Earl and The Office - now airing at 8 p.m. Thursdays).
As with so many similar announcements, it feels like NBC is doing less with less and calling it more.
In particular, it's bet on high-minded quality dramas don't see to be working out so well. Lights, Studio 60 and Kidnapped are all going down in flames while stuff like the Deal or No Deal-style 1 Vs 100 finds better traction with viewers (I'm also warming to the X-Men-style drama Heroes, as we see more powers and less angst)
There's a sense that the stakes couldn't be higher and the cartoons are winning the war. Even ABC's once-powerful Lost is losing ground to Mandy Patinkin as an FBI profiler and Gary Sinise's pinched, predictable forensics guy on CSI:MY is the king of Wednesday television.
Somehow, this isn't the golden age of TV I envisioned when the season started.
(I'll be taking a break until Wedneasday for vacation -- the longest intentional break from posting i've taken since I started this thing. Make a note to rejoin me on wednesday and i'll try not to bore you too much with tales from my Jamaican getaway...assuming I even come back!)