Is it just me, or have the networks thrown in the towel?
NBC has decided to dispense with original programming in the 10 p.m. slot five nights a week in favor of a Jay Leno-hosted chatfest. Many nights, you’re more likely to find a reality show than a scripted program on at least two of the five major nets. Same-week reruns liter the schedule. And quality programming — think DAMAGES, TRUE BLOOD or RESCUE ME — are more likely to be found on cable.
Worse, many of their upcoming offerings stink of flop-sweat. Take MOMMA’S BOYS. Please. Take it, and don’t come back. Or the latest incarnation of THE BACHELOR, in which a single dad seems ready to turn his son’s future well-being into fodder for a reality show on which past contestants have exhibited truly attrocious behavior.
Across the board, network numbers are down. But perhaps they have only themselves to blame. After all, they’re making it easier and easier for us to watch the shows they’re offering at our leisure. We can watch on-line, or wait until the end of the season and purchase the shows on DVD. We can cruise on over to iTunes, or Hulu.com or AOLvideo.com or… well, you get the picture. Suddenly, Must-See TV has morphed into Will-See-When-I-Get-Around-To-It TV. And of course, the current ratings system is tragically flawed, perhaps broken beyond repair.
In this struggling economy, when more people are staying close to home and turning to their televisions for cheap entertainment, shouldn’t the networks be responding with original programming as opposed to reruns and reality? Are we really going to settle for BAD GIRLS CLUB and A DOUBLE SHOT OF LOVE, or will we instead use our televisions to play the latest Wii game?
In the end, that’s up to the networks. If they show it — and “it” is worthwhile programming — we will watch. Heck, if ACCORDING TO JIM proves anything, it’s that we’re not necessarly even going to hold the networks to the whole “worthwhile” thing.