NBC: heroes or the biggest loser?
Re “NBC’s Cuts Will Alter the Look of Prime Time,” Oct. 20
NBC’s retreat from expensive prime-time TV production is merely a sliver of the gigantic sea change in pop culture that’s irrevocably in motion. It started with the music business, which has imploded into a shadow of its former self as veteran stars have been humbled into smaller paychecks and an apathetic landscape.
I’ve been saying for years now that movies, television and pro sports are right behind it. Everybody keeps saying, “It’s the Internet,” but it’s bigger and more basic than that. Today’s youth are smarter, more savvy and less gullible than previous generations, and they should be applauded for dismissing the incredible excesses that baby boomers brought upon the entertainment business.
Already gone are record albums that sell 10 million copies; next in line are $20-million movie roles (Jim Carrey being the first), $1-million-an-episode TV roles (“Friends”) and $25-million-a-year sports contracts (A-Rod). All of these represent reprehensible excess whose core ingredient is greed. And greed always loses in the end.
Congratulations, NBC Universal, for being the first in prime time to step up to say enough is enough.
It’s never them, is it? Awhile back, in the wake of two failed cartoon launches, I overheard a Nickelodeon exec say, “I guess kids just aren’t watching cartoons anymore.” It couldn’t possibly have been that the executive brain trust had just developed two bad shows. No, kids had suddenly lost their innate interest in animation. Incidentally, the next show Nick launched was good (the mega-hit “SpongeBob SquarePants”), and kids magically loved cartoons again.
Now we’re hearing the same logic from the folks running NBC into the ground. They’re invoking the convenient dodge of audience migration because of media proliferation as a cover for bad development. Many will lose their jobs to boost the sagging stock price, but no one will ask if the bloat that really needs cutting isn’t the egos in the front office.
Perhaps NBC Universal Chairman Bob Wright and all the other myopic network executives have yet to realize that “the audience that just isn’t there” was driven away long ago by the mind-numbing, manipulative, moronic mediocrity that they have been filling their schedules with since reality programming started to rule the airwaves.