Friday, June 22, 2007

The business of show

A very rich man and big risk taker once told me his philosophy in business. ''If you owe the bank ten thousand pounds you've got a problem. If you owe them ten million, they've got a problem.''

It was just after hearing that Holby Blue has been commissioned for a second [and bigger] series that this came into my head for some reason.

Because a bank will not hesitate to pull the plug on Joe Schmoe and his small fry, and therefore non career threatning debts, but how do you think Enron and Robert Maxwell got away with it for so long?

Now, maybe Holby Blue is a grower. 8 eps is not a long run to build an audience on what is hoped is a long running show. But given that it seems to be failing to even break into the top thirty ratings wise [as of June 10th, maybe ratings have improved] you've got to be thinking that particular recommission was more to do with personality, reputation, and BBC politics rather than what the audience actually wants to watch, Much like the second series of New Street Law.

HBO are producing some of the best TV around right now. I think that has got to be because the audience vote with their hard earned cash. It concentrates the mind and leaves no room for empire building.

This is a business. Like a clothes shop. We are the customer. We might not like some of the products but if we think we can still find something of good quality and style that we love we'll keep coming back.

I haven't found much to love lately. Apart from the excellent Trawlermen. More addictive and emotional than a bagfull of the latest 'dramas' .

I pitched a drama series about fishermen a while back. Was told it was too expensive and nobody was interested in fishing boats. Hey ho.


Jaded and Cynical said...

Torchwood lost half its audience in a month and they still commissioned another dozen episodes.

If the Titantic had been a BBC series it would still be sailing today.

Phillip Barron said...

I hate to be defending Torchwood, I really didn't like it, but is half its audience still a lot? I don't know.

Good Dog said...

Torchwood got 2.5m on BBC3 when it premiered, 3.03m on BBC2. The final episode got 1.23 of BBC3 and 2.14 on BBC2.

The lowest they went down to, just past the midway mark was 1.03 on BBC3, 1.86 on BBC2.

Anyone remember how FOX gave Millennium a second and third season because they wanted more of The X-Files and didn't want to piss off Chris Carter by binning his new show.

Good job that sort of thing wouldn't happen over here...

freebooter said...

Scripted a pilot for a biggish indie a few years ago, then the BBC decided to comission Harbour lights, how I laughed. To be honest I was too much of a newbie in the business then and my script did suck.

Big chested hairy fishing blokes or Nick Berry in an inflatable, people of Britain you decide, oh you did.

For fucks sake isn't it time to get rid of the fukin licence fee and go HBO... fukin BBC.... grumble... moan... shuffles off... kicks dog...

English Dave said...

You guys kill me. Thanks. Your comments are always appreciated both for sense and humour.

Piers said...

Taking a quick look in today's issue of Broadcast gives the following figures for multichannel:

1. Shrek 1.42m
2. Doctor Who 0.99m
3. Shrek 0.92m

Suggesting that Torchwood, even at its lowest ratings is still absolutely 100% a ratings winner for BBC3.