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December 11, 2007


Networks are screwed

30 Rock Judah Friedlander

The WGA strike has been going on for over a month now, and nothing's going on with negotiations to suggest we'll get our TV back any time soon. The Daily News gave a rundown today of how many episodes are left for a bunch of shows.

It's mostly looking pretty bad. For shows that you might actually watch, we've got "30 Rock" with 2 remaining shows, ""Ugly Betty" has 3, "My Name Is Earl" has 1, and "The Office" and "Heroes" are already out. "Scrubs" has 5. Shows that I can hardly believe are still on the air, like "Smallville" (7 episodes) and "Las Vegas" (8!) seem to be doing OK. And two new shows that I don't believe anybody in America has ever watched, "Cavemen" and "Carpoolers", are both good through February with 8 episodes left each, but I think we can assume that once those run out they'll be gone forever.

"Lost" has 8 episodes done, so when the next season finally starts we'll all have plenty of time to start watching, get into it for a week or two, become disillusioned when it inevitably starts sucking again, vow to stop watching, and then maybe grudgingly catch the last episode before it goes off the air again. Just like last year. The website doesn't list a season premiere date, but suggests it might be sometime in February.

Meanwhile, advertising is tanking. Maybe the viewing public has already given up on the networks and is devoting all its time to watching the Superbad DVD and trying to sit through that terrible "Tin Man" miniseries on SciFi. Poor beleaguered NBC has had to pay its advertisers back $500,000 for each show that failed to make ratings, which I think is pretty much all the shows it has. The only show they have that makes the Top 20 is "Law & Order: SVU", and they only have 4 episodes left of that one.

Reality shows are still going full speed ahead, since those writers aren't in the union. But surprisingly enough, a TV marketing exec tells Reuters "too much reality just doesn't play well with advertisers," so NBC can make all the "Celebrity Apprentice" episodes it wants and still not bring in much money.

Some good TV news: "The Wire" will be back on HBO in January, and CBS is going to air a new miniseries in January called "Comanche Moon". It's based on a Larry McMurtry novel, the prequel to "Lonesome Dove", and stars Steve Zahn and Karl Urban as the two rapscallion Texas Rangers Gus and Woodrow. It's by the same director as the "Lonesome Dove" miniseries from 1989, and should be pretty great.

categories: Business, TV
posted by amy at 1:46 PM | #

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I think Netflix is the big winner from all this.

Posted by: cushie at December 11, 2007 2:46 PM

How come there are so many episodes of Men in Trees left? Also, I wonder if the strike has had any impact at all on book sales?

Posted by: msosostris at December 11, 2007 4:03 PM

I didn't even really know there was a show called "Men In Trees" until reading this article. This reminded me of a few years ago when I found out one of the more popular shows on TV was ending, something called "Becker" that I had never heard of that starred Ted Danson. And that it had been on for 6 seasons.

Posted by: amy at December 12, 2007 10:00 AM

FWIW, Comanche Moon was my name when I was a stripper in Minneapolis.

Posted by: T-Rock at December 12, 2007 2:48 PM

Comanche Moon? There were a whole lot of people getting skinned alive in that book. Actually, trying hard to not get skinned alive could be considered the plot.

I love the Captain Scull character who figures as a sort of insane Briscoe County Jr. You can tell that McMurty drifts off from the other stories because he's having so much fun making the guy.

Posted by: Carson at December 18, 2007 2:26 AM

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