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It's official - Jay Leno is the Future of Television

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by mreposter, Sep 6, 2009.

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  1. bicker1

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    And do keep in mind that FX and TNT do tend to present their dramas at 10PM as well.

    Hint: If you plan on ratifying everything I said, it is probably best to start your message in some other manner. ;)

    No one said it was. However, it is also critical to keep in mind that for-profit companies are not responsible for making "a" profit; they're responsible for making the best financial decisions for their owners -- i.e., the "most" profit.

    You keep saying that as if you've proved it; you haven't.
     
  2. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    You're operating under a false premise... You are assuming you have already proven your position (which you haven't).

    You have taken the position that cheap is the best way to profit... I have taken the position counter to that, which is that cheap is not the best way to profit.

    In that scenario, yours is the case that must be proven. My "proof" is all over the satellites with lots of non-cheap programming that turn a profit for their creators. IF your position were correct, we wouldn't get things like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, because we all know those could have been made much cheaper... and if cheap = the best profit, surely those would have been done on the cheap, right?
     
  3. rudeney

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    I beg to differ. Just because that is what you see and those are the companies that you choose to deal with does not make it so. There are plenty of companies making very nice profits selling better products and services to those who want, need and are willing to pay the price for quality.
     
  4. bicker1

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    Uh in this context all I'm saying is that you haven't proven your position. I'm not basing the statement you replied to on anything else, nor is any other proof necessary.

    I think your problem is that you think, when someone says something isn't the most profitable way of doing things, that they're saying that it isn't a profitable way. It is a very common consumerist mistake, assuming that "any" profit is the same as "the most" profit. They're different. The objective for a for-profit business is "the most" profit.

    And the numbers for the Jay Leno show prove that, definitively.
     
  5. bicker1

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    So why don't you (that's the generalized "you") patronize those television networks, and let the Wal-Mart networks provide their cheap wares in peace? What justification do people have for essentially demanding that all outlets must necessary service them, and them alone?

    I'll answer my own question: The complainers realize the truth of what I was saying, and recognize that it essentially leads to a situation where there are substantially fewer choices serving their preference, perhaps none. The whole argument stems strictly from the fear that what these networks are doing is right (for them) and will result in ubiquitous suckiness for viewers, while still serving the best financial interests of the owners of the enterprise.

    Otherwise, let it go -- I'd like to see you try: Let NBC be what it will be, without criticizing it for not serving your personal preferences.
     
  6. phrelin

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    Northern...
    Actually, I've taken a broader view - the company is NBC Universal (NBCU). Their broadcast arm has moved away from serving me well. On the other hand, USA and SciFi have offerings that effectively filled in some of the gaps. Of course, I have to pay for them as part of a package which supplement advertising revenues. But that's life.

    And they developed Hulu which is the on line source for content from NBC, Fox, and ABC.
     
  7. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Sorry, but no. All the numbers for Jay Leno prove is that it is successful for Jay Leno. That's all. You cannot extrapolate the numbers for one successful cheap show and say ALL shows would be profitable if they were similarly on-the-cheap.

    All I've ever said to counter your position is that going cheap isn't the only way to make a profit... and that history has shown us already that good shows can cost money AND be profitable... and in fact some can be very profitable.

    Your position of "cheap is the best way to the most profit" is simply unprovable... so there's no reason for me to have to prove the opposite because the opposite must be true when your position cannot be.

    Again, history is littered with successful and profitable shows that did cost more money to produce than a cheap show. Your opinion might be shared by many companies that are trying to skim costs to increase short-term profits... but in the long run that will not continue to work. IF all TV became such a venture, then people would watch less TV and do other things... and then the only way to bring them back would be spending more for higher quality and the cycle would begin anew.
     
  8. bicker1

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    Between Royal Pains, In Plain Sight, Psych, and Burn Notice, that puts NBCU in a spot superior to ABC, in our home.

    Even more so ... it might be the future of drama on television.
     
  9. bicker1

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    Sure you can. Survivor, Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, etc. Occum's Razor says that this much evidence can only be trumped by evidence to the contrary. That's what I'm waiting to see you post.
     
  10. rudeney

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    Ironically, I'm not criticizing NBC.
     
  11. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Sorry, but that's fail #2. You're trying to "prove" that the only way to make the best profit is to go cheap. The evidence to the contrary is all over the tube. IF what you suggest is true, then the only programs on TV right now would be as you describe. Fortunately for me, there's lots of proof all over the tube of scripted dramas, comedies, and even sci-fi that continue to be made and tried each year.

    In order for your hypothesis to be true, we would already have seen the end of scripted TV long ago.

    You're trying to prove "all" and you haven't done that yet, because your suggested type of programming isn't all that is available. My proof needs only be that there is one scripted show on TV... and since there are many, my case proves itself. Where is your proof that the only way to make the most profit is to go cheaply? Not "a" way, but the only way, as you have been asserting.
     
  12. bicker1

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    That is not the case. In order for my hypothesis to be true, we would already have seen a strong up-tick in less expensive television programming, and a decrease in more expensive programming.

    Remarkably, that has indeed the case.

    No I'm not.

    Jay Leno-like programming is the future of over-the-air broadcast television. I'm sorry that that upsets folks.
     
  13. IndyMichael

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    I hope Conan's ratings slide to the point Leno goes back to the Tonight Show and shows return to the 10pm slot on NBC. Until then I'll continue to dvr Leno and replay it at 11:30 that night, or the next morning.
     
  14. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Doubtful. If anything, Leno-like programming is an echo of the PAST of OTA broadcast television. That's how TV started, and they moved away from it as the sole type of programming because they learned in order to keep viewers they needed to provide variety.

    I predict one of two scenarios:

    1. OTA remains as competitive as any other commercial channel on satellite by continuing to provide a variety of all types of programming to reach the widest audience.

    or

    2. They continue to go even cheaper and stop spending money for new Leno-like... and really go on the cheap and just pay for syndicated programming (which would be cheaper than Leno)... and then they die a slow death of obscurity as people tune them out.
     
  15. bicker1

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    It makes sense that the medium will return to its less expensive roots, when it becomes no longer the premiere source for entertainment programming. Radio, today, is back to being all news, talk and pre-recorded music -- no more radio dramas; no more live performances by orchestras and opera singers.

    I don't see your #2 as being necessarily inconsistent with what I've said. I think it is an extreme view... I think my radio example is a better model. It hasn't sunk as low as would be the analog to your extreme #2 example.
     
  16. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    bicker1,

    I think you and I actually agree about the direction OTA TV seems to be heading. I think we just disagree that it has to be that way.

    Now, the suits at the network might believe it has to... and then perception=reality, so they can make it happen if they want to... but I continue to hope the lightbulb will turn on and they will realize that there are other ways to turn a profit too.

    I see too many "me too" kind of reactions... just like when ER was successful and then lots of medical drama copies popped up all over the place... If Leno succeeds, someone will inevitably conclude "Leno is the future" and stop trying to do other things.

    But... Leno > Crap most assuredly true... while Leno > Scripted is not a proven scenario. I'm sure Leno is better/more profit than lots of scripted TV... but that shouldn't mean give up trying to make good scripted TV altogether. I hope anyway.

    Next thing you know, we will get "Survivor: The Movie"
     
  17. bicker1

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    Perhaps, but let's push that a bit: Do you agree that in any give-and-take situation, if one side has no incentive to move, then they won't move? I think most people would agree with that. So please help me understand the source of your optimism in this regard: What is the motivation for networks to remake themselves as in your optimistic vision, and more importantly, what has changed to bring about those specific motivating factors that clearly, because of where the industry has been heading, haven't had any impact up until now?

    I think you're being grievously unfair in your appraisal of the business acumen of the folks at the networks. It's not just one or two networks you're complaining about here: Remember, Fox has never put anything on at 10PM. Neither has CW. And don't put it past ABC to start down this path... they're looking very seriously at it. And you cannot deny the existence of CBS's Survivor and Amazing Race. And so on. This isn't just a couple of network execs having a few too many martinis and going off-track. They practically all agree with each other and effectively disagree with your perspective. They're not idiots. They're not following the leader... they're thoughtful, accomplished, intelligent professionals with expertise and experience in this business that put practically all of us in third position.

    Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that they can't make some profit some other way, and I doubt that they would say that either. However, in business the objective is not "some profit". Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to make decisions in the best financial interests of their owners. It's the nature of corporations: People invest to safeguard their retirements, pay for college, etc., their own concerns. For good or ill, they're generally not in it for the subject-matter of the companies they invest in. Indeed, many of the most well-regarded financial advisers talk about diversifying your portfolio -- owning pieces of many different kinds of companies. There is no way anyone can be expected to care about each and every one of those industries on the industry's own proprietary merits. Again, for good or ill, people invest to make money to safeguard their own financial future. You can even object to the concept of capitalism and investing and corporations and fiduciary responsibilities... object all you want... but that doesn't make the reality of these things go away. It doesn't mean the people who disagree with you are in any way making the wrong decisions. They're simply holding to different perspectives than you are, and you can both be reasonable even though your perspectives are diametrically oppositional.

    Again, getting back to the point: The obligation these people have is to make the most profit, not just enough profit to satisfy your personal feelings about how much profit should be made by the companies that serve you.
     
  18. bicker1

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    Like it or not, the best way of predicting what viewers will like is looking at what they like. Every so often, people allow something new into their hearts and minds, but generally, people are sheep and just resonate with the familiar. The reality is that the networks do both. If the networks didn't try new things, then we wouldn't have seen them try Leno at 10PM every night. You simply don't like the innovation that they tried this time. Just like, I suspect, lots of people in this thread didn't like when the first dance reality show was introduced, or when Who Wants to be a Millionaire was introduced, and so on. You don't see the innovations that you don't like. And we also see people saying things like "Why can't the new shows be more like ER?" (That's from Showbiz forum on Delphi, this morning.) People who don't like the new shows because they're not just like the old shows.
     
  19. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I agree they seem to be headed in one direction... I see nothing right now that says they won't continue to do so... But I hope they realize the mistake in doing so.

    There's no reason to go towards 100% unscripted TV any more than there is reason to go 100% scripted. TV history has shown that variety of programming usually is the best path to get the most viewers.

    Either they will eventually realize this and scale back and stick to a variety of programming OR they will go all the way down the path and pigeon-hole themselves as non-scripted TV only... and at that point I believe they would fail as a channel.

    Since they want the "most profit" they should want the "most viewers"... and as we've speculated on other subjects... having too narrow a genre doesn't seem to be a way to maximum profit.

    Consider... the argument that Syfy is trying to increase profit by diversifying programming should be just as true to an OTA network. An OTA network that goes to 100% non-scripted has become too narrow a niche to gain the most profit by the most viewers.
     
  20. bicker1

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    It won't be a "mistake" until there is a better way to make more profit, though. That was my earlier point. I do agree with you that they they will not get rid of scripted programming, entirely. What we're seeing is a reduction, not an elimination (at least so far), and more critically, a reduction in the budgets for the scripted programming that is slotted in, which would result in a commensurate reduction in production values, etc.

    However, keep in mind that over-the-air broadcasters aren't "pigeon-holing" themselves, by doing this, especially with regard to NBC Universal -- they have a bevvy of cable networks. They manage their entire set of networks, over-the-air and cable, as a portfolio. De-emphasizing scripted programming over-the-air while boosting scripted programming on cable is strategy, not "pigeon-holing".

    Your implication that "most viewers" means "most profit" is indefensible. Cost of programming matters. "Most viewers" means "most revenue", NOT "most profit". Big difference.

    I do resonate with your point about "having too narrow a genre" -- let's bring that part of the discussion over to all the Syfy threads.
     
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