Commentary

A Tax For Bad TV? If It Works For Sugar...

Things that are bad for us compel others to consider a tax to curb those activities. Too much smoking? Tax it. Too much alcohol? Tax it.

Now, according to a recent report, people are throwing around the concept of taxing stuff that contains too much -- or any -- sugar.

 What about bad TV shows? Programming that is too sweet, trite, hackneyed, not funny, not well cast; shows with bad direction, poor lighting, not believable sound effects.  I figure all those should be taxable.

 In this economy, everyone and everything needs to be accountable. Talk to your media buying and planning professional about efficiency and eliminating waste. One can get fired for much less.

Bad critical reviews could be one level of tax. Poor viewership could be another.  What to do with those tax dollars? Pay back viewers for their wasted time.

Our new economy is being built for 50- or 100-mile-per-gallon cars. Why not demand more from TV?  Dramas should move you to tears -- or whatever -- 75% of the time. Comedies should make you laugh -- or smile -- at least 65% of the time. (Give comedy writers a break here, considering the recent poor history of launching new sitcoms).

 Reality television should do it part as well. Producers need to find more real-life, voyeuristic moments to satisfy our empty voyeuristic lives. If producers can't find angry, back-biting wannabe business people, hairstylists, chefs, fashion designers, singers, dancers, car drivers, models, bull riders, athletes, poker players, or actors -- they are not doing their jobs.

 A New York Times story says research suggests a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would have strong positive effects on reducing consumption.

 Ah hah! Rid yourselves of that bad-tasting entertainment. Most TV advertisers have long yearned for more engaged -- less sweet -- TV viewers, anyway.

Tax program license fees, the cost of TV commercials that support those shows, or any forthcoming digital TV subscription fees.  I don't care.

 If cash can't be returned to the viewer, then that tax money should be used to make better shows.

In TV advertising-speak, that's my version of a viewer make-good.

5 comments about "A Tax For Bad TV? If It Works For Sugar... ".
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  1. Barton C. Brassil from Mediaocean LLC, September 23, 2009 at 10:06 a.m.

    "One man's sunset is another man's dawn." - Jimmy Stewart [not John ; ) ]

    I can sit through and thoroughly enjoy Mythbusters and The Deadliest Catch but not my wife. This is bedside the fact that I sit and watch the Housewives of NY or NJ with her and Keeping up with the Kardassians. I will admit to enjoying the Playmates Next Door but I digress.

    Keep up the fun blog articles. They are enjoyable to read!

  2. Stanford Crane from NewGuard Entertainment Corp, September 23, 2009 at 10:12 a.m.

    Their lack of imagination is staggering. I think we know who they are.

  3. Frank Cole from Scripps Networks Interactive, September 23, 2009 at 10:15 a.m.

    Slap a hefty tax on all reality shows. The tax should be tripled for any show involving Paris Hilton or anyone named Hogan or Kardashian.

  4. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, September 23, 2009 at 11:02 a.m.

    A tax on the NYT would reduce the consumption of trees, too.

  5. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 23, 2009 at 5:32 p.m.

    As told many times as you have to tell to children, "Go read a book if you're bored."

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