PEACOCKED: The differing styles of the big four networks were brought into relief during the recent Hollywood writers’ strike, and it’s remarkable how much they reflected the personalities of the men running them. CBS took a “wait and see” attitude to the strike, which reflected CEO Les Moonves’ cold calculation that, for all the money they might have been losing in advertising thanks to a paucity of new programs, they were still saving money by not paying salaries or production costs. I’d hate to play chicken with Mr. Moonves – that’s one cold-hearted bastard.
NBC, on the other hand, is the plucky fighter, bouncing back from the strike bobbing and weaving, first threatening to forego the upfronts that were endangered by the lack of new shows in the production pipeline, then announcing that they’d be presenting their slate of new shows 6 weeks earlier than the other networks. This would seem to be the work of new entertainment co-chair Ben Silverman, a brazen, gleefully modern Hollywood character whose audacity is said to be bottomless; unkindly, he’s supposed to be sort of guy who puts the putz in chutzpah.
Details of NBC’s new season were revealed this week, and the biggest surprise is that Friday Night Lights, which has had one foot in the grave for months now, has been renewed, albeit thanks to an unprecedented deal that will allow satellite broadcaster DirecTV first shot at the new season, which will begin beaming from their satellites to subscribers on the first of October, according to a Los Angeles Times story. Everyone else will be able to see it sometime in the winter. No one is saying how much DirecTV had to pay for first rights to the show, but David Nevis, president of Imagine Television, the show’s producer said that it’s “a lot of money, significantly more than if we just did second runs on a cable network.”
The Office is returning, no surprise, and the much-rumoured Office spin-off is a go, to be launched off the back of a special post-Super Bowl episode of the mothership show. The new show will shadow its progenitor in the regular schedule, taking over the 9:30pm Thursday slot. Celebrity Apprentice is back, as is a third season of surprise hit strike-filler American Gladiators, though not until next summer. Also returning is Medium and Life, with the addition of Donal Logue, who has a chance to erase the notorious full-on cock-up that was The Knights Of Prosperity (aka Let’s Rob Mick Jagger.)
New to the peacock network is The Chopping Block, a cooking reality show that sounds suspiciously like Hell’s Kitchen, a Christian Slater vehicle called My Own Worst Enemy, and Merlin and Crusoe, which you probably won’t need to pull out your Coles Notes to understand. There’s a drama called The Philanthropist, The Listener, a Canadian co-production, and a reality show with the promising title Shark Taggers. And I promise you, dear readers, that I’ll do my very best to ignore all of these shows until they flame out in the solar wind of the new season. You have my word.
Strike reveals networks
<strong>PEACOCKED:</strong> The differing styles of the big four networks werebrought into relief during the recent Hollywood writers’ strike, andit’s remarkable how much they reflected the personalities of the menrunning them.