Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Slow, Painful Decline of Network TV 2 – Must Flee TV

“Originality is the art of concealing your sources” – Benjamin Franklin

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation” – Herman Melville

“We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far
Pictures came and broke your heart” – The Buggles

In my self-appointed, self-anointed, self-aggrandizing and unpaid, therefore, self-sacrificing role of satirical commentator on all things irksome and vexing, the topic at hand is one of particular personal interest and knowledge, as nycityman’s entire adult life (and a lengthy one it is) has been spent in the employ of the television field, and includes many a season toiling shoulder to shoulder, bolder to bolder, cathode ray tube to cathode ray tube with a number of personnel and principals involved in programming and promotion at the National Broadcasting Company -once proud home to Hill Street Blues, Huntley and Brinkley, St. Elsewhere, Seinfeld, Cheers, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Bonanza, L.A. Law and now, in 2013, home of… umm… give me a minute… there must be something, oh yes, the Voice and America’s Got Talent… and now, in 2013 - proud recycler of Major Bowes/Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour and American idol.  To give a succinct, concise, yet powerful perspective, the network that once brought you Johnny Carson now brings you Jimmy Fallon, how far the mighty have fallen.

In part one (link below)  ABC and outlandish reality shows were lampooned, this go-round we visit the programming of the Peacock Network where originality and ingenuity are but polysyllabic words that TV Executives look up in their Funk and Wagnall’s.

Will there ever be a CBS edition with scathing scrutiny of the Cialis Brioschi Senokot Network, average viewer age – deceased? Not very likely, but will this lack of callous but constructive criticism of CBS have any connection to the fact that nycityman’s  401K, pension, health insurance, regular gainful employment and weekly salary is inextricably and inescapably tied into the continuing and long-term success of the Tiffany Network? Please, you insult me. Now, bring on the 54th seasons of Survivor: Staten Island and 3 ½ Men with 1 Man Left, those classics just never get old.

NBC - Proud as a Peanut  (note:  it is well known amongst we experts in the science of pomology that the peanut is, in fact, the least prideful of all legumes, owing to its ubiquitousness and inexpense.)

When examining the new programming model and intent under Robert Greenblatt, Grand Poobah of Coming Up with New Hit Shows (I may be just a tad off from his official corporate title) a singular and clear direction has been established - rip-off, recycle, reboot – and don’t let proven failure veer you from that unoriginal and uninspiring course and focus. Having already sent sponsors scurrying for cover, and NBC itself into a 5th place ratings free-fall directly behind former UHF, Spanish-language channel Univision with failed remakes of Knight Rider, Bionic Woman, The Munsters and just this September,  Ironside, Greenblatt continues riding the carriage to collapse, the DC-10 to disappointment and the limo to lost viewers by continuing this counter fitting concept of re-presenting old chestnuts as fresh fodder by recasting with African-American performers. If you didn’t love the new Ironside (all 3 underwhelming episodes) retooled for Blair Underwood, you’ll feel just as luke warm about the new version of Murder She Wrote, now starring Octavia Spencer– exactly what the kids have been clamoring for.

But, of course, as with most household pests, the ones you  see are usually just a small sample of what’s truly hiding and lurking behind the sheet rock.  So, with no further ado (or really, any ado at all) stolen from the hard drive of a high-ranking NBC executive in Burbank, California, a smattering of synopses of some upcoming new shows that will all seem somewhat vaguely familiar.

The Black Dean Martin Show

The Black Dean Martin Show - We don’t know who he is. We don’t know if he has any particular talents, but he’s an African-American, his name happens to actually be Dean Martin and he owns a tuxedo. And that’s good enough - featuring the Ding-a-Ling Sistahs and the ghost of Nipsey Russell.

You loved Dexter, so we brought you Hannibal. You loved Dexter, so we also brought you The Blacklist. You loved Dexter, so we’re riding this train until every last lump of coal is extinguished and we’ve driven over a hog-tied damsel in distress, as we now bring you TV’s most loveable psychotic  killer - Wayne (Newman) Knight as David Berkowitz in Son of Sam, That Son of a Gun. (We apologize in advance.)

From Nashville, the Country Music Capital of the World, and the Ryman Auditorium, home to the legendary Grand Ole Opry, NBC proudly presents – The Black Country Music Awards, with Hootie, Charlie Pride and….

The Black Country Music Awards
Forget the old-hat-trick, boring days of the traditional NHL and put that yawn on ice.  NBC is bringing new thrills to the hockey rink, with the NHUL, the National Hockey Urban League. Just when you thought sports couldn’t possibly get more exciting than the WNBA!

It’s a Black Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas – This one truly is a Silent Night.

It's a Black Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas
CSI/NCIS M.O.U.S.E. – Our innovative new procedural drama takes place in the dirty, dark, grimy and surprisingly dangerous back alleys, thoroughfares and Main Streets USA of Disney Land, Anaheim, California. It’s a Small, Small World, M*****r F****r!!

Rowland and Martin’s Laugh-In – We’ve taken highlights from reruns of In Living Color and repackaged them with new introductions by Kelly Rowland and Martin Lawrence, and fingers are crossed that America will be fooled. After all, 60 million of you voted for Mitt Romney.

From Robert Greenblatt, award-winning producer of the hit HBO series, Six Feet Under comes Five Feet Under – this time, the hands are sticking out.

What happens when a bunch of backwoods, redneck, tea-partyin’ singers, comics, spoon-playin’, fiddle-playin’ Southerners head up north of 125th Street and team up with talent from Def Comedy Jam, Def Poety Jam and Def Jam Records at the historic Apollo Theatre - it’s Harlem Hee Haw! And it seemed like a good idea at the time.

And finally, as one last shot before being sold off to Bob’s Discount Furniture, the National Broadcasting Company  gifts to you, our loyal viewers, all seven of you, a ground-breaking, all -African-American adaptation of the classic 70’s sitcom, Good Times. (We got confused.)

We close by bookending with the Buggles and Video Killed the Radio Star.

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

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