A Programming Strategy That's 'Nothing' to Sneeze At

"Seinfeld" may have been a half-hour show about nothing -- but now one cable network goes it one better. Or, should I say, one less.

On Labor Day, the Fine Living Network, the small 23 million-subscriber cable network, will air an eight-hour show called "Day of Nothing." Well, it's not exactly nothing. It's actually a series of beautiful nature scenes. Chuckle if you will. "Nothing" is actually so popular that this is the third year the show has aired on the summer-ending holiday.

No actors, writing, commercials, music - or even Jerry Springer. The show starts at 9 a.m. and no doubt comes to a predictable and dramatic natural conclusion at 5 p.m.

It is Fine Living Network's ultimate ongoing tribute to family-friendly programming. No advertiser could object to the controversy of, well, nothing. What better way of launching the new fall season than actually showing the fall season. Who knew its development slate was that strong? One can understand why the network passed on "Trading Spouses."



So powerful is "Nothing," in fact, that Entertainment Weekly this week put "Day of Nothing" on its notable programs to watch list, "presumably because TV is better once you get rid of writers and actors."

In conjunction with the show, Fine Living also offers on its Web site, "140 Great Ways to Do Nothing." That's good for me. I'm getting bored with my standby, just gazing into space.

Fine Living's "Day of Nothing" offers up scenes of "crystal-blue water, white sand and palm trees swaying in the breeze" and "a tropical beach and the pink glow of a Costa Rican sunset, an Australian coastline with a fabulous view, and a quaint Alaskan stream where the fish go to be alone."

Fine Living saves big here. Unfortunately, it does nothing for CAA. The big Hollywood talent agency doesn't offer representation to shrubs - though I'm sure they've represented some wallflowers, from time to time.

Perhaps Fine Living is really taking on the entertainment press' constant criticism that there is hardly anything new to watch - that when it comes to programming, business decisions are all about copying the next guy.

Every network has a reality show, a makeover show, a home makeover show, a car makeover show, or even, in rare instances, a scripted drama.

Who ever thought of a leave-it-alone show?

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