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WHY MUSIC SUCKS: This Sunday’s Grammys drew among the lowest ratings in the history of the show, according to an Associated Press story – the third lowest, at 17.5 million viewers, lowballed only by 1995 (Best Rock Album: Voodoo Lounge by the Rolling Stones) and 2006 – the worst ever (Kelly Clarkson wins Best Pop Vocal Album.) Amy Winehouse was the big winner this year, obviously, but she appeared via satellite TV, and disappointed viewers by not fixing up, insulting viewers in a slurred voice, or passing out so that only the top of her bouffant hairdo was visible.
With the fortunes of the music industry lately, it’s no surprise that fewer people want to watch the show that crowned Jethro Tull best heavy metal act and awarded best single of the year to Winchester Cathedral by the New Vaudeville Band in a year when it was up against Good Vibrations. Yeah, I know this doesn’t have a whole hell of a lot to do with TV – I just wanted to say that the music industry is a pathetic clown circus. That’s all.
STRUCK DUMB: THE FINAL CURTAIN: I’m off to Disneyland for a couple of days, so by the time I return to this column, the Hollywood writers’ strike will probably be officially over, the writers back at their laptops and the industry cranking itself to get back to work again and provide us with new episodes of Two And A Half Men. Post-mortem accountings of the cost of the strike have already started coming in, and it’s not pretty.
Sixty shows were shut down, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times, and a good chunk of those won’t be coming back. Among the expected casualties are Bionic Woman, Aliens In America, K-Ville, The Unit, Jericho, The New Adventures Of Old Christine, Cavemen, Las Vegas, According To Jim and – get ready – Lost. The Los Angeles area has seen an estimated US$2 billion drained from the local economy, and insiders are suggesting that, while the strike barely lasted over three months, its effects on the way business is done by the TV industry might be drastic, even revolutionary.
We’re going to have to wait until next season for a new Heroes, until next year for a new season of 24, shows that ended abruptly in mid-season won’t be wrapped up, and orders for pilots won’t be renewed, meaning there are going to be some very slim box sets showing up for sale by the summer, and a lot less in the way of scripted drama and comedy hitting the airwaves come the fall. NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker told the New York Times that the strike had the same effect as a forest fire, and that the scorched earth has left behind “fertile soil, clear ground and an opportunity for robust growth.”
“You really won’t know if damage was done until fall,” one unnamed senior network executive of woeful countenance told the Times. “That’s when we’ll see if the audience comes back.”