If you go back to my bio, you’ll see that I spent a few years as VP Programming at NBC New York. The best way to describe my stay there is as follows…there was a Disney movie made about a monkey in charge of selecting the new shows for the network. There are many who, to this day, believe that movie was based on my career. But as I watch TV, what is their excuse today? We have absolutely reached a new low in programming. Let’s go through it. The reality craze has brought us such classics as Miami Ink, a series about tattoos. Then there is a series about folks who “repo” stuff. And let’s not forget about The Bounty Hunter.
Now before this sounds like sour grapes, here is the sad reality of it all, these shows are getting numbers…decent ratings. Sponsors are stepping up and buying time here. So now the floodgates have opened. I spent an hour last night watching a reality show called “Wrecked”. It was an hour of watching a towing crew pull an SUV out of a ditch. They ran an elapsed time super across the screen; I suspect that was the drama component. But like any good story line, I kind of knew they were gonna get this truck out of the ditch and upright. High fives all around. They ran a teaser for the next episode; a 16-wheeler filled with live hogs gets sideways. I set my TIVO. No way am I missing that.
So where do we go from here? Well, I was thinking of developing a few shows of my own. How about Accountants Gone Wild or Celebrity Colonoscopies… an inside look. The truth is reality shows cost a fraction of what a well-crafted/produced series would cost…and frankly, the viewers have set the bar pretty low allowing the networks to get away with it. Now there have been exceptions. A&E/The History Channel has been brilliant. And HBO had a stellar run. But now it’s all about the bottom line. Maybe we should stage a National Watch out. But I’m afraid somebody would tape it and turn it into a series.
Gotta go, don’t want to miss CSI Hoboken. And right after that, So You Think You Can Whittle.