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Saturday, October 10, 2009

NBC

Slow suicide, says Nikki Finke:

NBC has axed Southland... I hear Trauma is next because of its ridiculouly excessive $3 million pricetag an episode. (When I screened the show, I was rooting for the helicopter to kill off every character...) My NBC insiders are letting Angela Bromstad off the hook, saying "she picked the best of shit" from Ben Silverman's failed development. "This is the last gift that keeps on giving from Ben Silverman." The insiders are even going so far as to give up on the rest of the primetime schedule for their network. "There's nothing watchable the rest of the year." Even midseason and spring of 2010? "Nothing watchable the rest of the season," I'm told. "Maybe Jerry Seinfeld's The Marriage Ref will work, but he's not even in it. This is not a fun place to be right now. And we committed to Jay Leno on the air for 2 years because he was worried we'd have an itchy trigger finger. It's an embarrassment for all of us. Maybe he'll get fed up -- he's not right now -- and then we can re-negotiate." This is beyond sad. It's the destruction of a brand.

But it's not just management; there's a huge structural problem, according to commenter Working Actor:

Additionally, when you have a scripted hit, the long-term revenue is awesome. This fact, along with what used to be the love of creating quality, interesting shows, is what drove Hollywood.

But then you get GE involved, which has no creative interests — just money interests, and the Wall Street driven mentality of short-term returns for hungry shareholders in order to justify large paychecks for management … Leno and all the other crap on NBC was born. Wall Street is not into risk right now, and Hollywood is the ultimate risk-taking business — a disconnect.

Furthermore, while the other studios may not be run nearly as corporate as GE’s NBC, they all suffer from variations of it. The “suits” make more and more of the creative decisions than ever before. I’ve heard casting director after casting director complain about how they used to be able to make most casting decisions, but now there are more than a dozen suits who have to confirm everything down to a non-speaking co-star. Show decisions are increasingly based on precedent and models, not necessarily the writing or the creativity. Nearly all the independent production houses are gone. NBC, CBS, ABC all make shows for each other — talk about inbreeding. Show creators have to become magicians to get attention and get something green lit. The allowance of these studios to become monopolies of content and distribution is going to become their downfall because in reality they need to have fostered creative independence to supply them with the content, choice, and quality they desperately need.

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