So networks can’t really compete.
They tried with Friday Night Lights, which was ambitious and smart, and tried to do a lot of the things these cable shows did, but it simply couldn’t work. [They] couldn’t get enough people to watch it. Their imperative to have the largest possible ratings remains. There was a time, in the Second Golden Age, when networks believed it was part of their mission to have a small sliver of the dial set aside for prestige, for Emmy-winning shows, but they’ve ceded that to cable. That said, they’ve been much better at cultivating and sustaining almost revolutionary comedy during that period.
-Hope Reese, “Why Is the Golden Age of TV So… Dark?”, The Atlantic
Emphasis is my own in the second portion of the quote. I wrote up a bit of a diatribe about the current state of network television shows a little while back and I think this was really my point. Good television can be had, especially right now where the viewership is there for these cable shows. However, the moment that an emmy-award winning television show can’t get the numbers a network wants, it is abandoned because the money is more important than the prestige or the customer satisfaction.
Nevertheless, good article from The Atlantic.
Posted: July 11, 2013