Thoughts on TV.

Law & Order & Profit


"Half of everything on TV is crap. But then, half of everything is crap. "
– Anonymous


I’d love to know who first said that. Looked around Google and a couple of other places. Couldn’t find it. Oh well.

I was checking the news this morning, and came across a couple of items:

  • The West Wing has been canceled.
  • Emily’s Reasons Why Not (Heather Graham’s new show) was canceled after only one episode.
  • Law & Order (NBC) has been moved from it’s time slot to be opposite Lost (ABC) on the schedule.

Let’s think about this for a second. The West Wing was, at one time, an interesting show, but had long since "jumped the shark." I think that happened with Martin Sheen & Co. said "the Hell with doing a drama…now that we’ve got an audience, let’s push our liberal agenda message!"

I like Heather Graham. She’s a babe, and she can act. She has this appealing sort of waif/sexy girl next door/girl with a brain & mind of her own thing going. No idea why her show flopped. According to CNN, the brass at ABC greenlighted her show before they even saw a script. They spent some BIG bucks promoting it as the lynchpin of their post-Monday Night Football schedule. Oops. ABC said it was so bad, there was no saving it. No word on if the other five episodes in the can will ever see the light of day. Seems a shame. I would suspect this will not do Graham’s career any good. It kind of goes back to my thesis about movie studios and directors. The problem in Hollywood is they buy the "concept" and frequently don’t bother to look at things like "story," "script," "chemistry between actors," and "is anybody outside of the two coasts gonna watch this thing?"

But I digress. Where were we? Oh yeah…

Now we have Law & Order, a.k.a. the Dick Wolf Full Retirement Plan. L&O has been an entertaining show. They’ve not just survived cast changes, but thrived with them. Unfortunately, Mr. Wolf has begun injecting his storylines with the same "fellow traveler" liberal claptrap from which the MSM news suffers. (A recent episode featured a right-wing talk show host/author accused of sexual harassment gunned down in front of a NY bookstore where he’d been signing books – a VERY thinly veiled swipe at Bill O’Reilly.)

L&O is going up against the critically-aclaimed, people-pleasing cult hit Lost. (author’s note: I’ve never watched Lost. I hear it’s good.) I think that L&O has two problems. First, it’s got that liberal propaganda thing going. Relentlessly. Makes the preachiness of the last season of the original Dragnet look tame by comparison. Second, it’s been around a while. Third, It’s line extensions (L&O Criminal Intent, L&O Special Victims Unit, etc.) have diluted the need to get your L&O fix from the original source. And fourth, it’s just about to the point where you can’t turn on the TV without seeing an L&O in reruns.

Who thought it was a good idea to sell shows into syndication and allow them to blanket the airwaves. We used to Tivo L&O. We can’t any more. We’d fill up an 80-hour hard drive in a week! It’s the law of supply and demand. When you have a virtually limitless supply, demand drops. While I’m sure that Dick Wolf is simply trying to "monetize" the value of the show(s) to the max, he’s succeeded in making the viewing of a L&O brand show to be something less than precious. Fitting, then that the original L&O is now being thrown to the wolves (sorry…couldn’t resist) by pitting the show against the Lost juggernaut. When you market something, it pays to think about devaluing your product by oversupplying it, simply because you’re greedy – or because you can.

In Pace Requiescat, Law & Order.

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