Are you a TV executive having a bad day or year? How about a 14,000-night losing streak spanning more than 40 years?
The Washington Generals -- those hapless basketball players who play the Harlem Globetrotters in mostly entertainment-oriented games -- have that kind of sad record, losing more than 14,000 times to the Globetrotters since 1971.
That’s when the Generals actually won a game -- 100-99 against the Globetrotters on January 5, 1971, when player/owner Red Klotz hit a game-winning shot.
Brand-wise, NBC’s nearly decade-long last place position isn't as bad. It seems that streak should break this year. NBC won a lot in the 1990s and was arguably the dominant broadcast network overall -- leading primetime, late night, early evening news, and early morning.
No matter where you are in the entertainment/sports spectrum, everyone wants to up their game -- including the Generals. Some NBA talent figure the Generals might be an easier foe -- even if, as entertainment, they are kind of arranged to lose more than win.
Struggling Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant said Thursday night, after another in a string of losses, "At this point, I wish we had the Washington Generals on our schedule.”
While Globetrotter wins over the Generals mean a lot of pure entertainment and comedy for fans, NBC’s losing streak was no laughing matter. Other struggling networks, broadcast and cable, are kind of in the same boat.
Mind you, it isn't a laughing matter when TV networks or sports teams have long-time losing streaks. But TV is more than apt to find entertainment value in much of this.
To me, all this says a reality TV series -- maybe after the season. Even Klotz seems up to the challenge. In a press release he said, “We are preparing for our North American tour with the Globetrotters starting the day after Christmas, but I’m sure we could squeeze a game in with the Lakers before that, if they are up to the challenge.”
Even the Globetrotters chimed in that they could arrange such a contest. As I said, I'm smelling unscripted TV content -- maybe with WWE war-paint.
Hey, this is the kind of mindset TV networks should have. Like some college football teams, maybe networks need to have an "easier schedule." Aren't there some struggling networks one can "beat" when trying to revive one's big brand name?