It seems like only yesterday that we were speaking about the horrific crisis of “Peak TV.” Oh, yeah, wait, it was. Anyway, not ones for letting tempests die before they’ve become magnificently raging storms, here’s another POV about TV’s current bumper crop:
Behold the New Flesh
by Jim Henshaw
It’s been a difficult Summer in Hollywood.
Now, the lead up to any new season is always fraught with uncertainty and concern. But there seems to be far more of it this time around.
For although the traditional Fall launch of programs has been diminished by a now year round debut of new programming, the major networks have still been preparing to drop 20 new series onto the airwaves over the next two months.
Twenty new hours and half hours. Some replacing series that had run their course to be sure, but most taking the slots of other new shows which foundered during what is widely considered a disastrous 2014-2015 season.
During the recent TV Critics preview of the coming attractions, FX network’s CEO John Landgraf expressed concern that there was now “Too much good TV”, which precipitated a lot of the media to suggest we have reached “Peak TV”, meaning that there are simply too many quality shows for anyone to see them all.
And somehow that’s a bad thing?
Let’s be real. This is less about what we’re watching than where we’re watching it –- and who controls what’s being served.
You have always had to be good to get an audience. But now you have to be even better.
In Hollywood this apparently means, the network has to exert even greater corporate control over what is produced.
Therefore, the normal interference in pilots has increased exponentially. So far, four highly anticipated new series have replaced their show runners, with one operating with two separate writing rooms, the original writing team being kept around in case the new one stumbles.
In addition, ten freshman series have replaced members of their casts, sometimes multiple members, and in one case both leads, necessitating either full or partial reshoots of their pilots.
Moreover, not much beyond the first couple of episodes of anything is being shot. I guess the thinking is, there will always be time to scramble if an audience actually shows up.
Now on an economic level, and with the exorbitant cost of tinkering with a series aside, this panic is a result of the changing showbiz reality.
Viewers not only have the option now of getting their series fix from Netflix or Amazon, but they are cutting the cable cord in record numbers and advertisers are going elsewhere.