Friday, January 8, 2010

Feminized TV: How PC Kills Revenue

The plot should be a no-brainer. TV Broadcast networks, free to anyone with a TV antenna, ought to be reaping recessionary rewards as people cut the cable or satellite payments and surf online and over-the-air. But TV Broadcast networks are still losing viewers. Some of it is simply bad programming (NBC is reportedly thinking of yanking Jay Leno's 10 PM show off the air after the Winter Olympics), but a lot of it is the simple inability of the networks to make anything that is attractive to male viewers. Lost in all the hype about female decision-makers driving 80% of all consumer purchases is the fact that men make up close to 50% of the population. A recent interview with "Criminal Minds" showrunner Ed Bernero at Deadline Hollywood Daily illustrates why: despite men at the top of the Networks, nearly all the executive staff is female (or gay). Which means, PC kills revenue.


As always, read the whole thing. But several points are worth excerpting:

EB: Television viewership has been declining for about 10 years. The internet has been blamed. Everything has been blamed. Except for what I think the problem is: that the networks own the shows, and they completely think that they make them. They don’t any longer let the people who make shows just make them. The networks have notes about everything. They are intimately involved in every aspect of the process. And I think it’s hurt the process.
...

DH: Network/studio idiocy is infamous. But if you can link it now to network ownership...

EB: That’s when the erosion of viewership began. I also think one of the things that’s really hurting us is political activism of any stripe. Michael Jordan had it exactly right, he was my idol -- when he was asked about a political question at one point and he said I’m not going to answer it, and they said why not, and he said: Because Republicans buy gym shoes too, right? That doesn’t exist anymore, that kind of smarts.

Any time someone says anything right, left, whatever, I think we lose viewers. And somewhere around the country somebody says, I’m not going to watch what Hollywood does anymore. I wish we would go back to just being entertainers. Anytime we sign a petition that says let’s ignore the fact that Roman Polanski raped a 13-year-old, we lose viewers. And I think that has reached a critical mass. We live in a very polarized country right now. So why would someone like Megan Fox want to diss middle America?

And it’s not just that they’re not going to watch her material, they’re not going to watch mine. There are people in Kansas who are going to say, you know what? Screw Hollywood. Because we are sort of thought of as this monolith, and I wish people would take that into account.
DH: That probably comes from the fact that you are from the middle. The Rust Belt.

EB: Yes, very much from the middle. I eternally fight internal battles about developing things that only appeal to the East Coast and the West Coast. For years I’ve been trying to do a Western, nobody’s interested in doing a Western, how can that be? Every time someone does a Western movie, people flock to it. It’s like, we’re continually programming to people who are least likely to watch us. People in Nebraska aren’t watching things on the computer, they’re watching television. Why aren’t we programming things for them? We only program things that appeal to New York and Los Angeles and in many ways spit on the rest of the country.


Berneros argument (again, read the whole thing) is that the relaxation of fin-syn rules (he notes he has been writing cop shows for about 12 years) has changed network relationships from simply buying shows from providers to owning them and making MBA weenies who know nothing about film or TV production into suddenly, film-makers. That moreover, politicizing things to make one feel better on the cocktail circuit is a disaster. As is the elitist view that only the viewpoints of LA and NYC matter, that the "stupid hicks in the middle of the country" will in fact watch anything the hip and cool people put on. Clearly, this is not the case, and the contempt for Middle America has hurt the networks.

But just as important, has been the process by which men have fled or been expelled from television, particularly broadcast television, which in turn has become a gay/female ghetto. More below:


ON TV CONTENT FOR MEN, WOMEN, AND THE NETWORKS

DH: When you look at the CBS lineup, I guess it’s the network that seems to have a lock on crime with the multiple CSI’s and Criminal Minds – but it’s controlled by two women, Nina Tassler and Nancy Tellem. And my understanding is that they are looking for more shows that have more female appeal. I just wondered what the deal is.

EB: That’s a point I’ve thought about a lot in developing over the last few years. Let’s see if I can say this without ending my development career. It’s very female, development. Development staffs are almost all female. It’s not that easy to get a male skewed show through development.

DH: Interesting.

EB: Most of the network television audience now is primarily women, but I think that’s because the shows are developed to appeal to women. I don’t know that there are too many shows that appeal to guys anymore. I’m not sure why that is, but I think that it may have something to do with the fact that most development staffs are women. I know it’s the case at CBS. I know it’s the case at ABC. Not that these are not brilliant women, but there’s a completely different sensibility in men and women, in what men watch and what women watch. Part of the erosion of network television is that men watch sports – there’s not that much on for them. There are not shows that have male themes. That’s all I want to say about that.

DH: And yet at CBS, besides the crime shows even the popular comedies are male-oriented, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.

EB: But Two and a Half Men is not male-oriented, it’s made to appeal to women. Charlie Sheen is playing a bad boy who can be changed…

DH: It’s got a lot of jokes that my husband likes.

EB: But it’s safe.

DH: What is male oriented?

EB: For example, almost all dramas are families, they are work families – ER is a good example, Criminal Minds is a good example. We have a character who is the mother, a character who is the father, a brother and a sister, we have the younger brother that everybody protects, we have the cute cousin…it’s very much a family, and I think that very much appeals to women.

You don’t see loners anymore, you don’t see a Mannix or a Rockford Files or something where it’s a tough guy standing against the world. It doesn’t appeal to women. Guys like a guy who stands up for right, and the Hawaii Five-0 that we were going to write, the issue was sort of like living up to your father, being a cop in a world where your father was a great cop, that’s really a male theme. Women don’t really compete with their mothers; men compete with their fathers. I know I had gotten into many conversations where people didn’t understand why it was important that the character be in competition with his father…men compete with their fathers.

DH: Men compete with everybody. Everything’s a competition.

EB: Right. Two and a Half Men is an example. Those two don’t really compete with each other. It’s not really two brothers living with each other, because two brothers living together don’t get along that well.

DH: Aren’t they like The Odd Couple?

EB: But The Odd Couple is different, because in the 1970s, the "Odd Couple" didn’t like each other. They competed with each other in ways that these two don’t. Because at the base of it all, they [Two and Half Men’s characters] really love each other.

DH: More like My Two Dads.

EB: It’s a subtle thing, but it’s very female-centered. Now, I don’t mean to say that I don’t love doing shows that women like – women like Criminal Minds, and women weren’t supposed to like this show. Our core audience is 35-40 year old women, who I think are an amazing audience. It didn’t surprise me at all, when you put on the show where those women are the primary targets of these monsters, and you put on a show where our team saves women from them every week, I don’t know how this couldn’t appeal to them.

DH: And women are very interested in character, as opposed to what you’re saying -- that sometimes men just like a straight-on hero who does it right.

EB: Yes, I think it’s extremely difficult to get a male themed show on television.

DH: The people who are running the networks are men, but the so-called creative executives, that whole level is mostly female.

EB: If you say this, make sure that you say that I’m not necessarily saying that’s bad…

DH: Just that it’s true.

EB: The TV audience is primarily female, so it’s not a bad thing…

DH: But if you have something that works on that male level, it’s hard to get it through.

EB: What gets made that’s considered for men – it’s really just T&A stuff. It’s not stuff than any guy I know really wants to watch, you know, the stuff with jiggling boobs and all that. Something with real sort of male themes and male strength and things I want to watch in a drama….

DH: The things men want to be respected for…

EB: Yeah, sort of the things that appeal to us, the things we compete for. Macho in a different sense, the kind of things that we think makes us a man. It doesn’t really exist right now. I really don’t want it to seem that I think it’s a problem that women are in development, I don’t think it’s as problem at all, I just think it’s an interesting time that we’re in. And maybe long overdue – maybe television for a long time was made for men and it’s long overdue.

DH: I’m hearing the hero thing, how important that is to men, it’s not just about being understood in a touchy-feely way.

EB: No, not at all, it’s more about being misunderstood, but doing right anyway -- it’s Rockford and Mannix and all that kind of thing. Those kinds of icons don’t exist anymore. But I also love Glee. I watch it with my wife; I loved Desperate Housewives in the first couple of years. It’s not bad, it’s just something that I notice. And I think specifically what happened with Hawaii Five-0.


Bernero, obvious does not want to burn the bridges with the women he has to sell to, year after year. However, he acknowledges that TV simply cannot touch on what men want to see. Which is not families, nor relationship dramas, or hunky gay vampires, nor hunky doctors. But rather, individualists who are somewhat loners, who do the right thing even if they don't get rewarded, because doing the right thing is in fact difficult and a test and proof, together, of their manliness. Together of course with competition, of winning and losing, and keeping score.

Two And A Half Men, is indeed all about how the Bad Boy Charlie Sheen, can be tamed and changed, and how the female audience can laugh at the Beta brother Jon Cryer, who is a loser because he is not a bad boy. While Hanes has dropped Charlie Sheen (very late) from its ads, it is unlikely CBS will drop Sheen. First, he's the show, and second, women forgive ANYTHING from a bad boy. Anything at all. Womens groups have not been picketing CBS to fire Charlie Sheen for allegedly putting a knife to his wife's throat. They are unlikely to do so as they are unlikely to call for Roman Polanski's arrest. Women love the bad boys, Sheen's alleged actions only make him more of a bad boy. Presumably to be tamed by the "special" woman.

Meanwhile Cryer's character, is there so obviously for women to laugh at.

What is interesting is how Bernero essentially cops to CBS and other networks "Prime Time Crime Time" being oriented towards women. A "family" filled with relationship issues, in the workplace (I have never had any workplace be a "family" —I either produced revenue to more than cover my full cost of employment or I was gone, and I suspect most folks have the same experience), with emphasis on relationships within the family and romance for the lead female character. Absent the criminals, it might as well describe Hospital Soaps such as "Mercy" or "Grey's Anatomy."

This is why you don't see either a very male-oriented "A-Team" on television, or at least broadcast television, or private eyes who used to dominate TV: Mannix, Rockford Files, "Simon and Simon," or heck "Jake and the Fatman," and "Riptide." It is worth noting that "Jake and the Fatman" ran until 1992. Back in the 1950's through the 1970's, private eyes and fairly "loner" types such "Wild Wild West" (can anyone imagine such a show today?) or "Rockford Files" which ran through 1980.

With the loss of these shows, has come the loss of the male audience. Which means lower ratings, and lower advertising dollars, no matter how much spin on female-driven purchases marketers put forward.

PC kills. Sure it is "nice to have" all these "diverse" staff, with White males being at the top and the rest female or gay. [A recent episode of "Dog Whisperer" at Chiat/Day was revealing —nearly all the staff was either female (and many of them non-White) or gay. How that enables them to understand and sell to the White middle class particularly White men is a mystery to me. But perhaps nearly 60 years of go-go post-War prosperity made advertising fat and happy, instead of lean and hungry.]

Contrary to Bernero, the idea that it is "time" to have TV all-female, all-gay has real consequences. For NBC, it means money left on the table, that go to Video Games and cable outlets like USA, and to a lesser extent F/X. White women alone are not enough to drive profitable ratings. There simply are not enough of them. The small size of the Black Middle Class (approximately 5% of the total population, or 40% of the 12.5% of the Black population) makes them irrelevant. Hispanics prefer to watch Spanish-language TV. An all female and all gay development staff cannot produce shows that reach men, for the most part, and won't stick with the few that have potential (NBC's late, lamented "Life," with perhaps one of the most masculine, and self-contained loner types shown in decades). Reaching for more women as CBS plans to do, means fighting with ABC, NBC, FOX, and CW for the declining pool of White women (and a few "fabulous" gay men). This undoubtedly suits the prejudices and whims of the female development staff, and is "easy" in that it does not stretch the limits of their imaginations, but it will not fix the problem.

Bernero is undoubtedly correct that fin-syn rules, allowing networks to own shows, and thus making development execs who know MBA spreadsheets or (perhaps, given the revelations in business and politics regarding personal relationships between bosses, certain intimate knowledge of their bosses) into pseudo-showrunners, based on things that have nothing to do with making successful TV shows, has been hurtful to the ability to make shows viewers want to see. So too, anti-Middle Class, Coastal Elitism and politicking of any sort.

But as documented extensively on Whiskey's Place, viewer declines began decades ago, in the 1980's, before Cable TV, before Satellite TV, before the internet, before bit-torrent sharing of TV shows, before fin-syn. Before even, FOX Broadcasting. In the era of rabbit ears and only three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC. The decline began, when men fled TV. Slowly, as more and more shows became female-oriented soap operas. More rapidly, as the development executives became more and more female (and gay). Finally, the last of the old-line TV shows were canceled or concluded in the early 1990's, and TV became a female and gay ghetto.

If TV remains merely a female-gay ghetto, then viewers will never return. Because the missing viewers are men. Video games, and specialized niche networks programming to men, such as Spike-TV and USA Network, will continue to grow in profits, with little competition from Hollywood and the major media companies.

The danger for Hollywood, and networks generally, is that TV's "proven" format of serial dramas, and comedies, can be easily adapted on the internet, with devices that free people from watching broadcast TV. Contrary to Bernero, a lot of TV (including undoubtedly, Criminal Minds) is consumed online or through a computer. Flo TV promises TV on the go, anywhere and everywhere. Apple is promising a tablet device that can provide both an e-reader and mobile TV, connected through Wi-Fi. Various cell phone companies are experimenting with mobile TV, including NFL games. While I will address this issue (portability and convenience versus an "immersive" but expensive experience) in a future post on Avatar (and why the movie is both more and less than it seems), the sum experience of consumer preference has been for convenience and portability at an affordable price over high quality and an expensive, immersive experience.

Consumers preferred cheap walkmen from Sony in favor of expensive home stereos. Later, they preferred a lesser audio experience with sampled MP3s in a convenient, portable form in the Ipod to the high quality of CDs. Apple already offers Itunes downloads for various TV and movies, some of them free, as does Amazon's Un-box, and streaming video at both Youtube and Hulu has generated millions of viewers. When given a choice between cheap, portable, and convenient, and a "family gathering" of the type Bernero mentions, consumers tend to choose cheap and portable and convenient. Moreover, declining marriage rates and very likely, in the recession, declining co-habitation rates, means more individual watching, alone, instead of gathered around the family TV set.

The future is likely to consist of cheap, networked devices playing streaming media, with ads, anywhere and anytime. Providers from Apple, Google and its partners, Flo-TV, and more, are going to be hungry for content. Content that appeals to at least half the gadget buyers, men. Content that can be provided, theoretically, from anywhere: New Zealand, with low production costs, or Canada, or Australia, or even somewhere outside Hollywood in the US. By independent producers, who keep costs low and stories tightly focused on the audience, be it male or female.

And what are we likely to see on these mobile, networked devices? Why, private eyes, and loner-type cops, and maybe even Western tough guys. Made cheaply, rapidly, for a voracious market. Supported by advertising dollars, often with in-show ads or with commercials that cannot be skipped (Apple has a patent for just such a technology). Men generally tend to be the early adopters, and they are unlikely to be consumers of say, "Cold Case" with a hefty dose of feminized PC moralizing by women and authority figures, or the mocking of doofus guys like "Two And A Half Men."

The threat, is then that networks could cease to exist as both advertisers and viewers move to mobile devices, that serve men as well as women. Unthinkable? That is what Detroit thought, with the introduction of cheap and reliable Japanese cars, at the end of the 1970's. I suspect the changes to network TV will be far more rapid. Because the "diverse" and politically correct staffs at broadcast networks will simply order the band to play louder as the ship sinks.

PC kills revenue. Among other things.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like your blog and you have interesting things to say. But I actually rather like those "family workplace" shows. And I am a white male. Many people work in team environments where you have to get along with a range of people; and shows like that help you think about your role.

I became a boss a couple of years ago, and I have black girls and so on in my team. I like to watch the management styles of the bosses. And, whatever else you can say, all those CSIs have white males in charge, as the patriarch. Pretty stern patriarchs, actually.

For many people, the workplace is like a family.

Full disclosure: I am an Australian, so you are free to ignore me.

Julian

Anonymous said...

A follow-up comment. I know what you mean about loner male type shows. I enjoy things like Die Hard, which actually had a couple of explicitly anti-feminist moments by the way, and those recent "Crank" films - in which the girlfriend was a classic dumb blonde - were obviously the lone male type of thing.

Julian (again)

BL said...

You mentioned that PC kills revenue, among other things.

I think that one of the things PC kills is the realism and factual integrity of any given narrative. For example, a few years ago I saw an episode of CSI in which the Grissom character states that rape has nothing to do with sex, and the other male character dutifully nods his head in agreement. How many heterosexual men, when no one else is looking or in earshot, would actually spout that sort of feminist dogma?

Even when the PC ideology is muted, in manifests itself in ridiculous fantasies. Take pretty much any female oriented show, like Grey's Anatomy, where doctors spend more time spreading STDs than curing them, or Gilmore Girls, where a single mom who didn't even finish high school raises a well adjusted daughter, has an active dating life, owns her own home, eats out pretty much every day, and starts her own business, all without going bankrupt.

It's astonishing how much these sorts of messages have influenced women my age (mid 20s). When a guy watches a James Bond movie, and sees all the women swooning for the secret agent, they know it's a ridiculous fantasy. Women watch these PC infused shows as though they are some type of documentary. I have actually gotten into arguments with women, about things like single motherhood and feminism, and had them reference these shows, as though they represent some sort of pool of empirical evidence.

Sad. And they say cartoons are bad for people.

Looking Glass said...

This is a Twilight Demotivational poster.

DOUBLE STANDARDS - "If these were 40yr old men screaming for 17yr old girls someone would call the police."

It's a photo of "Twilight Moms" standing in line outside the theater.

Teresita said...

If TV remains merely a female-gay ghetto, then viewers will never return. Because the missing viewers are men.

Women watch TV five hours per week more than men, but that ends up being a difference of about 20%, and a lot of that can be attributed to daytime television watching by mothers and widows. When you talk about men being "missing viewers" you're talking about chump change. And you in turn elevate the gay market, which will always be chump change because only 8% of men are gay (and 5% of women). There's a couple of cable channels that already serve our demographic, GLBT programming will never make a dent on broadcast TV.

I suspect the changes to network TV will be far more rapid. Because the "diverse" and politically correct staffs at broadcast networks will simply order the band to play louder as the ship sinks. PC kills revenue. Among other things.

If it really did, then PC shows would naturally go away, just like the liberal fishwrap newspapers are going away. And it wouldn't matter if they "played louder" just as it doesn't matter that the New York Times gets more shrill. But network television will never go away, just as music delivered by physical CDs has not totally gone away. Not everyone is a cybergeek with the time and inclination to sign up for a download service.

Anonymous said...

So what you're saying is that someone with a little talent and capital could, by appealing to men, do well in the new media environment.

Hmmm... I wonder who owns the rights to Brisco County Jr....

Tarl said...

[Men want to see] individualists who are somewhat loners, who do the right thing even if they don't get rewarded, because doing the right thing is in fact difficult and a test and proof, together, of their manliness. Together of course with competition, of winning and losing, and keeping score.

Why, that sounds like... the first-person shooter I played with my buddies last night!

That is what the TV is for, not watching insipid Lifetime pap.

Tarl said...

a few years ago I saw an episode of CSI in which the Grissom character states that rape has nothing to do with sex, and the other male character dutifully nods his head in agreement.

I stopped watching those CSI and Law and Order type shows when it quickly became predictable that the white businessman in a suit and tie was ALWAYS the guilty one. Oh yeah, and every single judge is a black female. Gimmme a break, already.

TGGP said...

If networks are "leaving money on the table" then we should see that the most male-oriented shows are the most profitable. In fact, American Idol (very female-oriented) gets great ratings. Chomsky is wrong, media gives the customer what they want.

Advocatus Diaboli said...

The Devil likes to play with HBDers..

The Range of Neanderthal Man
http://dissention.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/the-range-of-neanderthal-man/

Whiskey said...

Teresita, gays are consistently over-estimated by gay organizations as to their representation in the population. The figures I've seen are about 4-5% of men are gay, less for lesbians.

American Idol is popular, and a money maker, because it goes to both older and younger female demos. I.E. tweener girls and post-50 women. Hence guys like Adam Lambert, a gay, nuevo-Liberace for our time. With about the same appeal.

What is notable is what is no longer made, and the money left on the table are as noted, picked up by first-person shooters which make REMARKABLE money -- Call of Duty 2: Modern Warfare made something like $550 million in single week, gross retail sales.

There are no Westerns made, no war series made (excepting HBO mini-series), no private eyes, nothing of the sort that used to draw men into TV. This is why all the networks have for the last ten years reported moderate profits to operating losses, despite serious advantages: paid for affiliate networks, over-the-air cheapness, local news coverage, and more. You have to pay to get USA or F/X channels, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, and CW are free, over-the-air.

Free, should beat paid, in terms of people watching, and so on. Yet some cable shows like Burn Notice get higher ratings than NBC shows like Mercy or Trauma or the like.

Broadcasters are tremendously vulnerable to shifting advertisers, because their audiences are shrinking, not growing, despite a growing population. Cable should fragment the audience, but not to the degree we see.

If people start watching free, streaming video on cheap phones and networked "smartbooks" that are about $100, Broadcasters are hosed.

American Idol reaches at its peak about 35 million viewers. Almost none of them male. The Beverly Hillbillies, in 1968, reached about 60 million viewers, in a nation of 100 million fewer people. Men as well as women watched the Beverly Hillbillies.

Conceptually, there is no reason why someone could not make a "four-quadrant" show that appealed to both men and women, young and old, and pulled in 90-100 million viewers. The Superbowl regularly gets that many viewers. IF such shows even approach that demographic reach, on mobile devices and computers, through the internet, rest assured that the Broadcast nets would rapidly lose advertising.

Nor are cable networks immune. Comcast cited the threat of people ditching cable for internet devices with streaming content as a reason to buy NBC. This may be merely a self-serving excuse for a purchase as Comcast has lots of cash, but so far the markets have not felt that the idea of purchasing a content-creator is completely nuts. [My own take is that NBC is so female-focused that it is useless.]

Did it make sense to base the home-mortgage system on inflated house values and loans to those predictably unable to pay (sub-prime non-Whites for whom denying loans was "racist?")

The answer in the diversity recession is no.

Does it make sense for the Networks to base their entire advertising strategy on a female audience alone, when most of the cable networks also fight over that audience, to the exclusion of male audiences?

I would say, no it does not. [Nor for that matter is excluding older viewers either.]

Eventually, just like sub-prime, the music stops playing.

dana said...

what i noticed also is that anytime there HAS been a series that seemed to be for men, like "the shield" or "rescue me" they tried to insert a sympathetic gay storyline into it and if that failed they simply began to focus more and more on the family, sex, and home life aspect of the most interesting male characters and not on the ACTIONS and GADGETS, the things men like.

even the sopranos started out very male oriented and once it reached a critical mass of female viewership they stopped showing the inside of the strip club and began focussing more and more and more on carmella and the kids to the exclusion of interesting mob action.

in the end, passively imbibed fiction is feminine--men just never had active participatory fiction at their fingertips(video games) and whole channels about how buildings are constructed before--TV is ghettoized by gender now--there are whole tiers of channels devoted to each sex and notice, the male tier is NON fiction--history channel, military channel, discovery, HUNTING channels, the female tier has its own "lifetime movie network" and consists mostly of dramatic programming.

Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech said...

@Whiskey

There are no Westerns made, no war series made (excepting HBO mini-series), no private eyes, nothing of the sort that used to draw men into TV.

Whiskey, why do you think no one has realized that there is a massive opportunity to make money here? Obviously, none of the major networks or even most cable channels will do it. However, why hasn't someone tried to do something like create a cable channel to take advantage of this opportunity. It would probably have to be done outside of Hollywood, but as Fox News shows, providing for an untapped demographic can be very profitable.

Anonymous said...

I prefer masculine movies such as Die Hard (as someone mentioned above). For that reason I like older Hollywood movies with John Wayne or Humphrey Bogart. True individualists.

But to stay on topic, the only television show I watch now (and I do it online) is Supernatural. It, I think, skates the line between male and female viewers (though has once or twice slipped too far to the latter in the most recent season).

The story line is very male orientated. Two brothers hunt and kill monsters. Both brothers are competing with their father, and at times, each other. One of the more continual themes is doing whats right, or fighting the fight, no matter what.
It also has a manly car and the greatest soundtrack of any television show ever (heavy rock, mostly).

It appeases women OTOH by having attractive male leads, one of whom is a real bad boy. There is the family connection between brothers, their father and later a stand in father figure. There is also the occasional and annoying gay reference. Finally, thanks to the female fan power base any interesting female characters are killed off.

Also, I liked Life. It never received a chance though. And it was a travesty what they did between the first and second season: They retconned the story line, changed characters or replaced characters and effectively started again. Then they hastily ended the big, overreaching 'mystery' when the series ended. The show had so much potential and it was all wasted.

- Breeze

Whiskey said...

Supernatural is a winner. How it got on WB and then CW is a mystery to me.

I would think that the network effect of so many female execs (and gay ones) just kills any real male-oriented show.

Look at Fox News. Murdoch only keeps Ailes around because he throws off about a billion a year in profits, Murdochs son and daughter all want to can Ailes and turn Fox News into a clone of MSNBC, only more PC. They all worship Obama as a magical negro (apologies Spike Lee) and like Richard Branson wanting carbon taxes on airplane travel, are so rich they don't care about destroying their own business.

Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech said...

Look at Fox News. Murdoch only keeps Ailes around because he throws off about a billion a year in profits, Murdochs son and daughter all want to can Ailes and turn Fox News into a clone of MSNBC, only more PC.

So after Murdoch's kids kill Fox News as we know it, why won't someone try to start up a similar news channel with a conservative bent? Sure it won't come from the major media conglomerates, but what is stopping someone from realizing how much money is available because Hollywood has abandoned certain types of entertainment (and soon news programming) and doing something to go after that money? For that matter why isn't it happening now? There has to be a reason.

sparkupthenight said...

Network programming decisions aren't about ratings, they're about satisfying the advertisers. Women make a lot more purchases than men do and they're more likely to be persuaded by advertising. A man is going to buy the shaving cream or beer at 60 as he did at 25.

Secondly, the shows men like: action-adventure, sci-fi and the like are very expensive to produce. A 13-episode commitment is a commitment of tens of millions of dollars. The stuff women like: reality, is very cheap to produce. This is the free market at work, the networks are going to go with what they know will make them money, even if there's a chance they're passing on a break-out hit.

One interesting trend is that the best male-oriented television of the last decade was on cable: The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield, Mad Men (I know you've talked about the female writers, but you can't ignore the show's male fanbase) The further you can take a show from the advertisers, the better the product is.

Anonymous said...

Part of your argument is essentially similar to the leftist arguments that placed the current crop of people in charge: that the lack of diversity in entertainment programmers results in a lack of diversity in entertainment. The people in charge cannot and will never admit that this argument applies to themselves; their amor propre prohibits it.

Their behavior reveals that their theories are wrong. They are not the omniscient programmers who can reach the people. Instead they are yet another new class which claims to rule in the interests of the people but rules only in its own interests.

Unlike the prior ruling class, their theories of self-deception and bad faith keep them from asking people what they want or measuring it accurately.

TGGP said...

I know you've talked about the female writers, but you can't ignore the show's male fanbase
I always thought it had a female fanbase. It's plainly a soap opera (I admit I've never watched even a second of it outside of adverts, but it's one of those things everybody knows), and not one encased within a male-oriented setting.

Time Warner lists the names of its execs here. You can count the proportion female from that, but not gay. Maybe there's some gay-activist group that keeps track of how represented they are at various corporations.

Anonymous said...

@ Whiskey:

I think Kripke managed to get Supernatural into production by having successful tv shows already on air.

More importantly there is talk of making a western version of supernatural to do with Samuel Colt and whoever he made the gun for. If that is more than a false rumour than that show will probably be very male orientated and a lot darker than supernatural is.

- Breeze

John Smith said...

goes back to why comic books and the like make the biggest blockbuster films.....spider-man, star wars etc. they have crossover appeal sure, but at their core, they were guy preferred films..

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, I would profer the following:

Current corporate execs grew up in an environment in which going after the low hanging fruit was a successful-enough business model. There is limited experience in developing and maintaining solid cores of revenue from various demographics simultaneously. And limited experience in adapting to market pressure. We see major corporations such as phone and media delivery jockeying for legislated market protections.

Traditional media, on the other hand, is a single-minded, narrowly focused, unimaginative executive leadership that was sure it could afford to wait to get into new media until it had figured out how to transfer their existing monopoly onto it. We see "on-line" newspapers with subscribed membership-only access. What would motivate a person to commit to this relationship, when an Internet browsing session will touch dozens, if not hundreds of "source" sites?

Most shows way outlast their welcome, as far as I'm concerned. I enjoyed 2-1/2 Men, initially, because of the writing and execution. The imposition of the love interest was not only passe, but extended the story line beyond the show's life-cycle. It needs to die a quiet death. The first season of Lost was intriguing. I felt that this show could go one of two ways: the way it was leaning (smarmy soap, targeting the female audience), or it could blow into a full-scale WoW (the term for this genre of game escapes me at the moment). Missed opportunity, again. This could have a great venture into a new genre for television. A platform that could continually morph, free to go where ever a new set of writers wanted to go. I always had the sense that the real drama was going on behind the scenes, between the writers and the execs. This came through in numerous ways, such as the never seen monster that snatched people. Poof! Just like that. Double entendre intended.

Beyond two-three seasons and all shows are reruns of past episodes. The writing familiar, predictable. The characters are fully fleshed out; nothing new to learn. How in the heck an executive team can't appreciate what makes Seinfeld the icon it is escapes me. For me, this would be true even for shows that would appeal to the male demographic; the Westerns, gum-shoes, etc.

Personal observation. The more cleavage on a prime-time television show, the more likely that its ratings have taken a nose-dive/never got off the ground. Ridiculously obvious in those 2-3 episode trials of "new" fare. And sweet satire in and of itself, when you consider the PC-motivated demographic that has to give it the nod/promote it in the first place.

eli

person said...

On the bright side, Burn Notice will resume this month.

Anonymous said...

@ John Smith: Its funny that you mention comic book adaptions. It always seems that the first is great because it stays pretty close to the source material and then the sequels (which have a bigger budget) deviate from the source material due either to arrogant writers or exec orders and end up sucking.

- Breeze

Anonymous said...

Case in point - "Home Improvement" Supposedly a show about a manly man doing manly things.

But every episode was an emasculation of the main character to some extent. There are a bunch of ball-cutters in the business, and they hate men. Especially manly ones.

josh said...

My (female) friend loves Greys Anatomy. I find it sickening and unbearable. It is a horible show,badly written and worsely(?) acted. My question is why do you think a show like this features to such a high degree,black doctors? And these are not "young" black doctors,trying to learn the ropes,and showing their weaknessess and vulnerabilities,etc;(and God forbid ANY reference to AA and the abysmal scores blacks get on the MCAT!)these are all super-competent in charge black doctors. The black male head of the hospital,a world class surgeon(of course); the #1 teacher,a world class surgeon,too,is a black woman.Another black world class doc was dropped after the actor who played him made"anti-gay" comments. This show was created by--a black woman,btw! Its a truly vile soap opera. My friend loves the show but a little bitterly notes the lack of clearly ID'd Jew characters. BTW her uncle WAS a real life "world class doctor" and he was a nasty SOB. he cheated on his (jewish)wife constantly with the goyim nurses. Obv there was some racial animosity playing out:The alpha Jew ravashing the Christians lovely women. He was,as I understand,a rotten prick who made a lot of misery,but also a hero in the OR. It IS interesting why theres a dearth of jews as doctors on TV. But why are blacks so celebrated?

somaie said...

Affiliate Marketing On The Internet
Affiliate Marketing is a performance based sales technique used by companies to expand their reach into the internet at low costs. This commission based program allows affiliate marketers to place ads on their websites or other advertising efforts such as email distribution in exchange for payment of a small commission when a sale results.

www.onlineuniversalwork.com

abass said...

Affiliate Marketing is a performance based sales technique used by companies to expand their reach into the internet at low costs. This commission based program allows affiliate marketers to place ads on their websites or other advertising efforts such as email distribution in exchange for payment of a small commission when a sale results.
www.onlineuniversalwork.com

Anonymous said...

I watched an episode of Greys Anatomy last night. The whole thing was a complete emotional orgy. Every character felt the need to deliver inspiring, highly emotionally charged speeches every ten seconds.
Complete female orientated bullshit.

-Breeze

curiepoint said...

TV has always been a vast cultural wasteland. It had the power to inform and enlighten and entertain. It started out that way, but then the fascists took control, and as with everything good, it was corrupted and ruined beyond all redemption.

Let then have their ghetto, their shit programming, and brainwashing. We don't need it. I doubt that we would be missed anyway, so wy fret over not belonging to a club of ass-hats and zombies?

Anonymous said...

The Rockford Files remake will not happen after all.

Sean Grey Hanson said...

I'm having a great time watching Grey Anatomy yesterday through online. That was really a complete emotional orgy.

Nate Winchester said...

See my blog - realize just how much I like Supernatural.

Though I think another point for you would be SPN seasons 1-5 when Eric Kripke was show runner vs seasons 6-7 where Sarah Gamble is show runner.

Also, Burn Notice is all kinds of awesome. Ever watched the brief run of The Good Guys? It's streaming on netflix, I highly recommend it.

Winnifred said...

This cannot have effect in actual fact, that is what I think.