Failure is an Option: Why Now is Not an Opportune Time to Announce an Entirely New Development Slate of Shows

With the Fall television season mere days away from kicking into high gear it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that both the Network and Studio publicity machines are out in full force touting exciting new shows from the likes of Shonda Rhimes, Bill Lawrence, McG, among others. Of course, what sure as heck might come as a surprise — or to be more accurate — a bit of a disappointment, is that the shows that are making headlines aren’t coming to a small screen near your anytime this September, but rather next and beyond.

Call it the curious case of Hollywood’s development cycle. In order for Networks and Studios to ensure they have enough time to properly create, cast and evaluate Pilots that will premiere next September, the development process must start now. Which if you ask us, is not only akin to ?buying new furniture for the dream house you have yet to put a downpayment on, but more importantly?, sends somewhat of a mixed message to your potential viewing audience.

Said the hypothetical Network executive to his imaginary audience, “Psssssst… you know those shiny new shows we’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars promoting all summer long with a seemingly endless barrage of commercials, billboard and interviews? Well, get this… they’re not really that good! In fact, we have so little confidence in WHITNEY our new Fall lineup that we’re already working hard on their replacements for next season. Replacements that we promise — and we know we say this every year —are going to be awesome.”

In other words, aside from reinforcing the notion that upwards of 95% of the shows that the Networks are unveiling amidst much pomp and circumstance over the course of the next few weeks won’t make it to May 2012, we strongly believe that the negative connotations that come with these type of announcement (See: CBS Developing Sherlock!) far outweigh the positives. Yes, a teensy little piece of us wants to applaud the proverbial powers that be for proactively trying to correct the abomination that is ABC’s upcoming cross-dressing comedy that is WORK IT in advance. But, a larger piece of us, specifically the part that would much prefer to be spending our time rooting for this medium we’re so passionate about can’t help but think that it’s time for Networks and Studios to consider a little “Extreme Makeover: Publicity Edition” by delaying the hype surrounding next seasons offering until — at the very least — the ratings come out for this years.

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  • Anonymous

    I partly agree but it’s not that farfetched for networks to accept that a lot of shows will fail and that they have to continue working on new projects. We can all pretend that all of these shows are going to be huge and there won’t be any new ones necessary but that’s just naive. Plus, is anybody really paying attention to all of these developments? You shouldn’t. Half of them don’t see a camera and another big chunk don’t get past the studio heads. I stopped caring about projects until they are announced during the Sweeps.