(This is the fourth in a series of four articles responding to Stephen King’s EW piece)
Finally, King bemoans TV – the great bastion of high quality entertainment. To question the quality of TV is a fool’s errand. There has always been crap on TV.
As King points out, great shows are coming out of the cable networks. This tells me that the ad rates for cable channels are now significant enough to fund high quality entertainment. The major broadcast networks have costs that are so high that they must reach the broadest possible audience. When you do this, you are not going to get the same level of quality as when you serve a niche audience.
This brings us to Jay Leno’s new show. I think it is a great idea. It’s an inexpensive show and eats up about a fifth of NBC’s weekly schedule. This frees up budget for larger, high-concept shows. Rather than spreading limited budget to all shows, it’s wise to let Jay do his thing on the cheap and fund big ideas on the rest of the schedule.
TV will continue as it always has – with a mix of high and low quality programming. This is compounded by the addition of hundreds of cable channels and internet offerings. The media landscape has become fragmented and will only become more so. With smaller audiences come smaller budgets. That is going to affect the larger networks more than the smaller cable outlets. It is a more level playing field where the strengths of yesterday or no longer strengths today.