May 18, 2005

TRY PITCHING TO THE 60%:

I Want My God-TV (LA Times, May 18, 2005)

It's a story as old as St. Augustine: You revel in sexual depravity and wine, finding pleasure and profit in all kinds of heresies frowned on by the Parents Television Council, until one day you discover everything has spiraled out of control and your ratings among the 18-to-49 demographic have plummeted. So you get religion.

If it worked for Saul of Tarsus, Augustine of Hippo and George W. of Texas, then NBC must figure it'll work for a struggling TV network. Hence "Revelations," a biblically themed drama the network began airing in April. On Monday, when NBC previewed its fall slate for advertisers, it announced a new reality show called "Three Wishes," an inspirational hour to be hosted by Christian music superstar Amy Grant. Also coming this fall is a sitcom called "My Name Is Earl," which isn't overtly religious (its main character sees the light after winning the lottery, not finding Jesus) but has a theme any born-again Christian could embrace: An ex-con is determined to turn his life around and make amends to all the people he has wronged.

It's a bit of a switch for a network that soared to the top of the ratings with such racy fare as "Friends" and "Will & Grace." But NBC, like all the other broadcast networks, is struggling to find its way in an era of fierce competition from cable and the Internet, not to mention regulatory pressure from a Congress and Federal Communications Commission that seem to be taking their orders directly from Jerry Falwell. After years of dominance, NBC finds itself in fourth place in a four-way race for young adult viewers. As lost souls often do, it's putting its trust in God.


As part of developing a new identity why not hire Brit Hume as the evening news anchor and going the Fox News route?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 18, 2005 8:44 AM
Comments

If the shows that NBC is going to put on were the type that drew huge audiences, wouldn't PAX already be competing with NBC for fourth place ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at May 18, 2005 9:05 AM

There's adaptation, and then there's compromise. Brit Hume is not going to move to one of the three networks (he is too identified with the FOX brand by now). Brokaw, Jennings, and Rather would be quite public in their complaints, you can be sure.

Of course, the networks should just surrender their (failed) ideology, but they won't do it.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 18, 2005 10:11 AM

The audience for prime-time TV is so divided today, if NBC could get a show on that draws just mediocre ratings it might be happy to keep it on, especially if they can work out a deal involving their partnership with PAX to rebroadcast it after the initial first showing.

As for their news department, NBC could have had Fox's cable news operation a decade ago, but they forced out Roger Ailes from their CNBC operation in the dispute over their America's Talking channel, which later morphed into MSNBC. The news division's corporate types would fight anything more than a nominal shift to the right tooth and nail (Hume's tone of voice and story selection in The Political Grapevine segment of his show drives the left nuts, but whatever bias Brit has pales compared to what MSNBC allows on its prime-time news show in the other direction.

Posted by: John at May 18, 2005 10:22 AM

Something I'm sure of enormous importance to both people who view MSNBC once Imus's show is over.

Posted by: bart at May 18, 2005 11:27 AM

I like the company W. is moving in these days.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 18, 2005 11:39 AM

My blogpartner at DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS wrote a review of this wretched series. It is about as far from Christian orthodoxy as anything could get. According to the series, Jesus is a blue-eyed, blond-haired infant in present-day Greece. This is not the Jesus in whom I trust for my salvation.

Check out the review, if you're interested.

Posted by: Steve Bragg at May 18, 2005 12:35 PM

My blogpartner at DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS wrote a review of this wretched series. The series is about as far from Christian orthodoxy as anything could get. According to the series, Jesus is a blue-eyed, blond-haired infant in present-day Greece. This is not the Jesus in whom I trust for my salvation.

Check out the review, if you're interested.

Posted by: Steve Bragg at May 18, 2005 12:36 PM

It doesn't bother me, because I'm not in the religion biz, but I've seen an episode of 'Touched by an Angel,' and if I were in the religion biz, I'd have been miffed.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 18, 2005 2:24 PM
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