Friday, July 06, 2007

SitcomsOnline.com Special: Networks Selling Out?

SitcomsOnline.com Special
Networks Selling Out?
By: Seth Thrasher

For some time now, there has been a lot of talk regarding networks, such as TV Land, GSN, USA Network, etc. "selling out" – that is to say that the network shifts its programming practices from its original or most popular style to a different one, replacing fan favorite programs with others, etc. A lot is made of this as we, as fans of the television genre, want to continue to enjoy our favorite programs indefinitely.

Something that gets lost in this emotional attachment, though, is that at the end of the day these networks are businesses. And businesses in the television industry, for better or worse, have a responsibility to its advertisers, and to its owners and shareholders, to deliver the largest viewership possible, the largest viewership among the advertisers desired target group possible, and to operate in a manner that makes the company the most money.

One example is Nick at Nite. Every other night is a marathon of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air or Roseanne. Many fans aren't happy with this in the least bit – they long for the days of when the channel ran shows like I Love Lucy, Taxi, I Dream of Jeannie, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Happy Days, etc. That's a nice sentiment to have, but ultimately, Nick at Nite does wonderful ratings airing shows like Fresh Prince and Roseanne, particularly among the groups their advertisers want to target. I guarantee you if they could get the same ratings airing The Odd Couple as they could Fresh Prince, you'd get to see Felix and Oscar just as much as you see Dan and Roseanne.

People complain as though networks owe them to run these shows – unfortunately, one small reality of the television industry negates this; unless you're part of a household that reports viewing data to Nielsen, what you’re watching – and what you want to watch...really doesn’t matter as much as it possibly should. It's a flaw in the Nielsen system – if 10 Nielsen viewers are watching Fresh Prince, and 1000 non-Nielsen viewers are watching Murphy Brown, the data reported to networks – and advertisers – indicates all of those 1000 people are in fact watching...Fresh Prince. Is it right? Not necessarily. But it's the best measurement system the industry has at the moment.

This system, and the data it produces, is why networks ultimately have to "betray their vision." For better or worse their loyalties lie with the bottom line. If the ratings data says that airing nothing but Fresh Prince, Roseanne, and The Cosby Show will put more viewers – and more young viewers – in front of the TV than WKRP in Cincinnati, Bob Newhart, and Laverne & Shirley then that's what they'll run.

They're not selling out, or whatever you want to call it. A lot of the people in this business really DO care about television. In order to remain a viable network, they have to make money. In order to make money, they have to make advertisers happy. In order to make advertisers happy, they have to deliver the most viewers possible per timeslot, and with any luck, the most of the specific group the advertiser is trying to target. And in order to attract the most viewers, sometimes a channel will have to run its most popular programs often, in order to maximize these things. It is a sad reality of this industry, and for better or worse it is not likely to change any time soon.

Agree or disagree with Seth? Discuss it here.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Saturday, July 20

Mind Your Business - "Choices" (Bounce TV, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Alfonso must make a major career decision while Lucielle's son comes home with a big confession.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 15)

Friday, July 19

  • Kumail Nanjiani (Only Murders in the Building/Bless the Harts/Silicon Valley) - Kumail guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Scheer (Black Monday/Fresh Off the Boat/The League) - Watch Paul on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Joey King (Bent) - Joey appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Chris Redd (Kenan/Disjointed) - Chris is a guest on a repeat of After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) and Rachael Harris (Surviving Jack/In the Motherhood/Notes from the Underbelly) - Brooke and Rachael are guests on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Kerry Washington (UnPrisoned) and Delroy Lindo (UnPrisoned) - Kerry and Delroy talk about UnPrisoned on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release) Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)

02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One
03/12 - Ghosts (UK) - The Complete Series
03/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 3 (Blu-ray)
03/12 - Rick and Morty - Season 7 (Blu-ray Steelbook) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
04/03 - Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series (VEI)
04/08 - Check It Out! - The Complete Series (VEI)
05/21 - Frasier (2023) - Season One
06/11 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release)
06/11 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)
07/05 - Letterkenny - Season 12 (Final Season)
07/30 - Ted Lasso - The Richmond Way (The Complete Series) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/17 - Bewitched - The Complete Series - 60th Anniversary Special Edition (Blu-ray)
09/24 - Friends - The Complete Series (4K Ultra HD)
09/24 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Series
10/08 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Twelfth Season / The Complete Series

More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

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07/18 - 76th Primetime Emmy Nominations; Frasier Returns September 19
07/17 - Fox Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; Apple TV+ Renews Loot for Season 3
07/16 - Survival of the Thickest Season 2 Adds to Cast; Phil Rosenthal Series Renewed by Netflix
07/15 - CBS Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; Disney Entertainment Television at San Diego Comic-Con 2024
07/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 15, 2024)
07/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Martin Prequel in the Works; Wendie Malick to Star in Season 3 of Night Court
07/12 - FX Premiere Dates; CBS Studios San Diego Comic-Con Plans
07/11 - ABC Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; Remembering Doug Sheehan of Day by Day and Clueless and Benji Gregory of ALF
07/10 - NBC Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; New Paramount+ Series with Billy Bob Thornton
07/09 - Futurama Trailer Released for Season 12; Will You Help Solve a Mystery? Unsolved Mysteries Volume 4 Drops July 31
07/08 - Hulu's How to Die Alone Premieres This September; Prime Video's Cross Launches This Fall
07/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 8, 2024)
07/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Skydance Media Reportedly Taking Over Paramount; Internet Archive Restores MTV News Archives
07/05 - Sitcom Stars Pair Up on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire; TV One Premieres Raising Fame
07/04 - Happy 4th of July; Antenna TV's McHale's Navy Red, White and Navy Independence Day Marathon
07/03 - Netflix Has Baby Fever Again; More Stars Join Sirens
07/02 - Cobra Kai's Final Season Begins July 18; Hell Yeah! Kite Man: Hell Yeah! Premieres July 18 on Max
07/01 - Remembering Martin Mull of Roseanne, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and More; Will Forte Joins Netflix's Upcoming Comedy The Four Seasons
06/30 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 1, 2024)
06/29 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Nancy O'Dell to Host New Daytime True Crime Series; NBC to Use AI Clips of Al Michaels' Voice for Olympics
06/28 - Hulu's Hit-Monkey Trailer Drops; Remembering Character Actor Bill Cobbs
06/27 - New Jersey's North to Shore Festival Brings Out the Stars; ABC's GMA Summer Concert Series 2024
06/26 - Fox Nation Taps Kelsey Grammer for Docudrama; Hallmark Channel's Kansas City Chiefs Christmas Movie
06/25 - Watch New Season of The Bear Earlier; NBC's 4th of July Fireworks Special Details
06/24 - Prime Video Orders Riz Ahmed Comedy; New Trio Join Only Murders for Season 4
06/23 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 24, 2024)
06/22 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Casting for Everybody Still Hates Chris; Homicide: Life on the Street Headed to Streaming
06/21 - The CW Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; Jimmy Kimmel Live! Guest Hosts for Summer
06/20 - Hallmark's Christmas in July Stunt; Starz's Power Book II: Ghost Final Season Premieres Strong
06/19 - Dark Side of the 90s Returns in July; Resident Alien Moving to USA Network