What is a lame drama? Almost anything airing at 10 p.m. or beyond that does weak ratings. Short of ABC’s “Scandal” (a recent Nielsen 2.8 18-49 rating) and NBC’s “The Blacklist” (2.7), few if any 10 p.m. shows are doing a consistent 2 rating or more among the 18-49 crowd. And that’s lame.
Record those shows for future viewing -- and then forget about them because of a glut of other mediocre stuff? That doesn’t help. Want to watch them on Netflix, Hulu, or a linear video-on-demand service? Go right ahead.
Existing shows are taking up valuable space -- mostly marketing space used to tease viewers about expensive, dramatic shows they might want to watch in the future. The hope is to get enough episodes -- usually four seasons worth -- so they can be packaged for U.S. syndication and international TV aftermarkets.
TV is now a business like Starbucks; It’s about volume. Crank out as much as you can, throw it on the air (or on the coffee bar) and hope viewers get caffeinated -- and hooked.
What about recent shows doing well, like ABC’s “Resurrection”? Sure, but consider other dramas -- like sophomore shows NBC’s “Revolution” and Fox’s “The Following -- that had somewhat quick rises followed by steady decline
Perhaps the fall of these dramas has to do with their tone. Analysts talk about how we live in a period of great-quality TV shows, yet -- in echoing the sentiment of The Atlantic last year -- if we are in the golden age of TV drama, why is everything so dark? (“The Walking Dead”, anyone?)
No matter, there will be more spillage.
Maybe NBC had it right after all a few years back, just a little ahead of its time. Perhaps an entertainment talk show (not necessarily hosted by Jay Leno) will bring viewers back at 10 p.m. They could watch most of it live or slightly time-shifted.
In the meantime, think about TV efficiency -- my efficiency. Gotta go. It’s 10 o’clock. I have the male-viewer-heavy “SportsCenter” to watch, complete with even more testosterone-supplement-warning commercials. Nothing’s perfect.