As said by the head of CBS
“What we've come to learn is, it is all about the writer,” says Nina Tassler, President, CBS Entertainment. “We're aggressively developing projects year round. We tell writers, 'Bring us your passion projects; bring us the project that excites you.' So, if they bring us something that's serialized, if they bring something that is closed-ended, if they bring something that is unorthodox and unusual, it doesn't matter. If we at the network respond to the quality of the storytelling, and it's a great opportunity for us, we're going to move forward on it. We don't preclude development of any one form over another. The point is: it's about the writer's vision. How does he or she best feel the story is serviced.”
And now the reality as far as the UK is concerned.
There are around 7 people who control everything you see on your TV screens. They also have a massive influence on what is even being developed, never mind made.
And that is the problem. In the US they develop like crazy. The networks maybe make thirty or forty pilots a year, to see what sticks. Because sometimes you just don't know what you really have until cast and crew and director get something on film and you can see the chemistry and potential.
Here, yeah, a bit of development, but very little makes it past script stage. As a rule 'if it's made it's shown' If it sucks, man are we in shit because we have nothing but repeats to replace it and if we stick on a repeat in primetime against the other networks we're going to get creamed'
So the gang of seven give the nod to job keeping projects . The ones that'll get a pretty respectable audience. Not great but not job losing.
Who can blame them really. No one wants to be known as The Guy Who Sank ITV, for example. Though I think the former head of Network Centre definitely launched a few torpedoes.
But the result is bland insipid programming. Yes there are exceptions and yes I've often heard it said that there is plenty of crap on US TV.
BUT NOT IN PRIMETIME.
At least not after the ratings come through.
Okay, I know the reality is that there simply isn't enough money here to throw stuff at the wall and keep what sticks. So what's the answer? Apart from sack the lot and get people in there who understand the audience they so hope to attract. The ABC1's rather than your Granny and Grandad.
I don't mean bring in the sandal tapping Guardian reader or the Hot Shot Ad man. But something in between. Someone who understands that entertaining drama consists of good stories well told.
That schedules shouldn't be swamped by 'issue' based drama.
That Sarah Lancashire and Caroline Quentin don't have to be in everything.
That putting 'Heart' in the title doesn't necessarily give it any.
That if you want to attract a big audience you have to take a risk.
That having your head up your arse and calling 5 million viewers a success simply isn't good enough.
That making someone who can actually write an arbitter of what might be considered a good story well told?
Yeah fat chance!
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5 years ago