Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Shame of the Peacock.

The National Broadcasting Company once was a beacon of shinning light in the television world. An example of some of the networks former shows below.

Former Shows –
Golden Girls
Rowan & Martins Laugh-In
Knight Rider (The Original)
The A-Team
Sanford & Son
Silver Spoons
Miami Vice
Remington Steele
Third Watch
Chico and the Man
I Dream of Jeannie
Quantum Leap
Mama’s Family
Hill Street Blues
Night Court
Family Ties
Homicide: Life on the Streets
I Spy
The Facts of Life
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Gimmie a Break

NBC was also the home of “Must See TV,” where they owned Thursday Nights from the mid 80’s until the late 90’s. Shows such as The Cosby Show, Friends, Seinfeld, and Cheers were the biggest draws on Thursday. In the mid 80’s The Cosby Show and A Different World was required television in my home. My mama was particular about what I watched but those two shows always got the green light.

Now after decades of greatness look at what’s left?

1. 30 Rock
2. All the Law & Order’s
3. The Office
4. Parks & Recreation.

I can’t put Heroes on the list because that show is on its last leg. Every Monday night I wish for someone to come and finish it off. What was once a promising show has turned into an episode of Passions meets The Incredibles.

How did this mighty Titan end up being so limp? I’m surprised that they haven’t dusted off Saved by the Bell and recreated Saved by the Bell “The Married Years.” Mr. Belding is not in his 70’s yet so he shouldn’t be retired (you know we are in a recession – you can’t afford to stop working). The lack of creativity and imagination has sent this NBC down the crapper. I watched Chuck the other day just to see what it was about. Afterwards my first thought was: you got rid of Southland and kept this?? No offense to the female spy in lingerie but I’ve seen better acting at a church play. You would be surprised what an auto mechanic can do when he is playing the resurrected Jesus the Christ.

The network decided that they would not be bothered with creating 10:00pm dramas (the usual show at that time) and would focus their effort on cheap entertainment. Besides “I Love New York” on VH1, the cheapest shows out are talk shows. Cheap, because 15 white comedic writers from Harvard are less expensive than 15 white dramatic writers from Harvard. Cheap, because there are no changes to locations and the need for different set designs. YES!!! It must have sounded like a splendid idea when the corporate suits came up with it. All they needed to do was put the plan into motion.

Somewhere before this grand decision was made. CBS and ABC were coming on strong at 10:00pm and NBC was getting its teeth kicked in. NBC decide that they would prematurely retire Jay Leno……while he was still number 1 in the late show ratings!!!! Even Jay Z knew he couldn’t retire!! In the Entertainment Field you don’t leave at the top of your game. You wait until your career is half dead and then you resurrect it and do it again. Leno (whether by ego or just plain naïveté) let it be known that he might take his show (his persona) on the road. NBC was so afraid that their “Tonight Show” would get killed by Jay Leno on another network that they caved in. They retired Jay and rehired him to host his own show.

Conan O’Brien was the wacky zany guy that hosted Late Night and was the air-apparent to Jay Leno. He stuck it out with NBC in order to one day be able to sit in Johnny Carson’s chair. It took me awhile to get Conan but once I started to understand him I liked what I saw. I love his self-loathing style of humor and how he is able to make a joke and be the butt of one. Don’t get me wrong because Leno is alright. It’s just that when he tells jokes, you feel like you are watching senior citizen’s performing Shakespeare at the local Denny’s.

So with Conan leaving the Late Show someone was needed to fill that spot. I swear on everything that is right and just in the world. I don’t know how Jimmy Fallon’s name got pulled out of the hat to get the gig. The Citizen Household was shocked when we heard the news. Citizen Wifey was calling foul and was trying to track down Arsenio Hall. I was almost going to cry foul until they said The Roots would be his house band. Because George Lopez and Wanda Sikes were getting their own shows I was satisfied…..for now. I would mention that another black woman has a show but I don’t watch the network she is on.

*SIDE NOTE* It’s 2010 and all the major network talk show hosts look like they did back in the 1950’s. Reality Check Please!!

So everybody plays a game of talk show musical chairs and what do we get after 7 months?

Local Television affiliates (Boston’s WHDH is one in particular) are so pissed off that they are threatening to stop showing the Jay Leno Show. Leno’s ratings are so bad that people aren’t even sticking around to watch the news. Conan isn’t fairing any better. My parents (long time Carson watchers) stopped watching The Tonight Show. My mama doesn’t like Conan and thinks his pants are too tight (don’t judge my mama!!!). Conan was more underground when he was doing Late Night and now they have him all corporate on The Tonight Show. The demographics for both shows are different. Conan will eventually be able to build an audience but he needs more than just 7 months.

Don’t ask me what Fallon is doing because I only watch for:
a. The Skits
b. The Roots
c. Whoever is performing with The Roots
Occassionaly I have to sit through a guest or two but I will say he is getting better with his interviews.

So after 7 months of getting their heads handed to them, what do they do? They try to make everyone go back to what they were doing before the move. If that’s not the dumbest thing you ever heard. It’s like shoving the baby back up in the mother because the Doctors didn’t like what they saw. This is the same network that brought you Homicide: Life on the Streets??? Oh, but it is the same network that brought you Manimal (which I did watch by the way).

Now they are saying that Fallon will come on at 1:00am in their new line up. That doesn’t make sense to me. If Leno starts at 11:30pm (Eastern) he will end at 12:30am. That means Conan would start at 12:30am (which would actually be the next day) and end at 1:30am. Oopps.. I forgot about poor Carson Daly. He usually comes on after Jimmy Fallon. His show Last Call would now come on when people are getting up to go to work. His new audience would be people that went work at 5:00am and mothers feeding their newborn children.

So what happens next? Conan has put his foot down and said that he aint movin!!!! Unfortunately for Conan, Leno is okay with moving back to his original spot. Fallon is just hoping that he doesn’t end up coming on at 4:00pm. And Daly is too scared to say anything. This has turned into a PR nightmare for NBC and they deserve all of the bad press. They sacrificed quality content for quick and easy. How do you forget how to make good television? I’ve shared my opinion about what I think happened. What do you think?


md20737 said...

I can’t put Heroes on the list because that show is on its last leg. Every Monday night I wish for someone to come and finish it off. What was once a promising show has turned into an episode of Passions meets The Incredibles -- This was ultra funny and true at the same time. Im soooo tired of Claire.

Corporations are not run by common sense, only by purse strings. Whoever holds the purse makes the decisions and it seems the person holding the purse this time is kinda slow.

uglyblackjohn said...

NBC is just playing from behind and they're paniced.
It's like a man who gambles big and loses. Most will try to win all their money back with one big bet (which usually doesn't pay off) but they end up further in the hole.
The key is to manufacture a string of small successes and then to build on those.

msladydeborah said...

Some of my all time favorites came on NBC at one time.

The corporate heads don't realize that television viewers are not quite as dense as they want to believe. This whole idea of Leno being powerful enough to break the already established shows in that slot was not thought through completely.

Citizen Ojo said...

OneChele - TNT, A&E, Bravo and even USA are beasts. Their shows are good because they have great characters. They make you want to watch every week. It's not that hard to understand.

md20737 - So is Jay Leno holding the purse? ha ha ha

UglyBlackJohn - "The key is to manufacture a string of small successes and then to build on those." You are correct with this one Sir...Thats the basic model that they used back in the day.

msladydeborah - Leno's audience was watching something else at 10pm. Even I know that and I don't read ratings every night. Now you have 3 talk shows on back to back to back. All with movies stars, comedians and singers. Really??

the uppity Negro said...


You did a whole post on this!!! LOL

But, I mean, you listed sit-coms and let the record show, sit-coms as we know it died with "Home Improvement" in 1999. I mean sit-coms back then were filmed in front of live-studio audiences and we haven't seen that since the 90s. I mean kids now don't even know what it means for writers to have to write a comedy for a studio audience--think how much better the jokers were.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, most of my favorite shows came on NBC. Wow...I'd forgotten about that.

This whole late-night TV thing is providing more drama than any of NBC's recent shows. This hoopla is the best boost for their ratings they've gotten in a long time.

uglyblackjohn said...

Isn't Bravo an NBC Universal Comcast channel?
Maybe the network is more influenced by it's E!, Telemundo, Style sister channels and forgot to add content to all it's fluff.

Citizen Ojo said...

Uppity - The new style 30 min comedies that do not have a live studio audience have changed the game. At first they were something to get use to but now I like them. It doesn't tell you when you need to laugh so whatever you think is funny is funny to you and yours. Home Improvement....I never understood what people liked about that show...

labellanoire - I would say if you grew up in the late 80's early 90's your family watched NBC alot. True..the ratings have helped late night NBC but in the process, NBC looks like they can't hit a nail with a hammer straight.

UglyBlackJohn - Maybe the wrong person is running the network. They should switch places. Telemundo is hot right now.

Val said...

I think Carson Daley is getting the boot and the new Leno show is only going to be a half hour long unless of course the redheaded guy bolts then Leno is back where he started. This hilarious!

Letterman is having a field day with this. I really think he should have taken over for Carson on the Tonight Show. That's where it all went wrong.

And I'm with OneChele, I liked Southland. It relied a little too much on stereotypes but I hoped they would work through that.

Val said...

P.S., If you think NBC is bad now just wait until Comcast gets its greedy hands on it.

Citizen Ojo said...

Val - Thanks for stopping in. I'm not a lawyer but the whole Comcast NBC deal seems like it should be illegal. They would corner the market and have a mini monopoly. The only plus side is that NBC apparently needs help with their script writing so that may help.

the uppity negro said...

Um...Home Improvement was the ish!