Monday, May 23, 2011

What is behind the axing of decent television sit com shows like Paul Reiser?

I generally don't like sit coms. I don't like that sit coms are supposed to generate a laugh every 10 to 15 seconds. I don't like too much canned laughter. I don't like witty, dim-witted one liners that if said in real life would end a friendship, yet occur every minute on a sit com.

And yet, I prefer sit coms to shows that care more about how people were murdered, then when that person was alive. I also prefer sit coms to shows that have guns, or car chases. I also like sit coms more than news because the news purposely avoids issues that would energize those in the middle politically.

I don't like reality television because it gives way too much self importance to people who are being paid not to work while fretting over the most trivial issues.

There is something going on with sitcoms that I find intriguing. I think there have been a lot of decent cancelled sit coms in the past few years that have been summarily cancelled due to low ratings, and more importantly, panic and desperation from the networks.

Did you know the two greatest sit coms of all time, Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond, were both almost cancelled due to low ratings after their first season? Paul Reiser's new sit com was recently cancelled AFTER TWO EPISODES!

It seems that shows with less violent, good guy types get the quick axe from the Networks. Paul Reiser, Gary Unmarried, Outsourced, probably had the nicest casts, were fun to watch, and were summarily axed well before their time.

I think the cable networks have spent so much time trying to compete with the networks that they are missing an excellent opportunity to raid cancelled network shows.

Which makes me wonder about payroll for the actors. I'm guessing that Paul Reiser must have been pulling down a million dollars an episode. If Reiser's ratings were so low that the show had to be pulled after two episodes, was Reiser's salary a factor in dumping the show so soon?

If I were Reiser, and NBC offered me a sit com with a guarantee of 13 episodes, and 100,000 dollar salary per episode, or a one million dollar a show salary, and no guarantee, I would take the 100,000 dollars an episode and try to build my show.

Really poor ratings means the networks have to charge less money to their advertisers, and so even saving 900,000 dollars per episode may not make a dent versus what the networks could charge per episode if the shows ratings were higher.

But there is a bigger issue here. Maybe it's ok to have a low rated television show that has potential to pick up steam specifically because that show could be used to offer advertisers "make goods", and to possibly lure new advertisers who can't afford to be on a hit show, but could afford to be on a lower rated show.

I'd rather have a show with low ratings and potential, and use those early on lower ratings to pull in new advertisers and appease unhappy ones as well, then simply focus on the ultra highest ratings for each and every show. At some point, if the show is pleasant and entertaining to watch, it will eventually find an audience.

Otherwise, expect more reality tv shows with trashy people gaining more traction as the networks continue their addiction to the worst demographic for knowing good programming when they see it, and ironically, who also have the least spendable cash.

But then again, it's not the amount of cash that youth spend that interests the networks, it's the debt they can create within our youth so that our banking interests can feed off of our youth's debt for the rest of their lives.

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