The upfront season brings the usual excitement and disappointment when it comes to new programming -- as well as new business opportunities.
But TV -- in reality the most popular consumer sport -- should now consider one big improvement, an idea that TV Watch has floated in previous seasons: TV needs a commissioner.
Like other major entertainment options, TV is a game unto itself -- where viewers root for their favorite shows, and jeer long-hated enemies. This week, networks will unveil some outrageous programming ideas -- a few of which should never see the light of day, others that are obviously on the wrong network.
A good TV commissioner would stop these moves dead in their tracks, all for the sake of us struggling TV fans. Don't agree that Fox's "House" should do another run on the top-rated network? A commissioner might say -- for the good of the game - that the acerbic and funny NBC Universal production should stay at home.
C'mon, tell me the smaller universe of NBC fans wouldn't like to see "House" on the NBC network. It's smart, witty -- just the stuff NBC has been touting to advertisers for years. Sure, NBC Universal probably gets a nice license fee from Fox, but we are thinking about the fourth-rated network here, after all.
All of which could bring up another idea: a TV draft. Just like in TV sports, the bottom-rated network should have the ability to pick from the best ideas and best producers.
Think the new "Charlie's Angels" is a catch? Hey, what better network for it than The CW, which could benefit from a drama starring three young women targeted to CW's audience of young women. Sorry, ABC. Even though it's your franchise, you should be thinking of others less fortunate -- for the good of the game, after all. One could even do a PSA touting one's beneficence.
Free agency? Sure, as long as a series puts in its time. (Another reason the soon-to-be-seven-year-old "House" could move to NBC). Trading should be promoted. Think of the headlines: "ABC trades 'Extreme Makeover' and 'Private Practice' to CBS for 'NCIS: Los Angeles'... and a TV show to be named later."
Who would be commissioner? A while back TV Watch nominated Garth Ancier, the long-time veteran network programmer, who has seen it all. He is someone who is enthusiastic about all things TV, someone who would be fair. Other programmers/executives could fill the bill as well.
C'mon TV industry, own up to your business-as-athletics contest. The NFL is already one of your highest-rated programs, so let's make it official. And let's be frank: TV is a contact sport.
Take a clue from Charlie Sheen, the current seer of all things entertainment: It's all about the winning.