• ABC's "Welcome to the Neighborhood" Is Shown the Door
    If it's nasty TV characters you crave, you'll find none better than on a reality show. Backbiting, sniping, and outright hatred seem to rule the day. But now one network says it has miscalculated -- that a program's redeeming show-ending message is not enough to sell the rougher, nastier path to that end.
  • Upfront Brings High Drama
    Caught up in the drama of the upfront advertising market some years ago, networks began issuing press releases or holding briefings with journalists to explain their billions of dollars in supposed sales. This probably wasn't in their best interest. CBS was the first to issue a press release; ABC did it this year. Others have had on- or off-the-record conversations to get their points across. Upfront revenue accounting in May should be taken with a grain of salt - or more like a shaker full. Upfront advertising deals in May aren't even orders - just commitments for advertisers to …
  • TV Movies Ripped From Headlines Are on the Outs
    In a New York Times article yesterday, the paper questioned whether or not headlines make good TV. Programs based on real events, like CBS' evening movie about the Scott Peterson trial, are increasingly losing viewers. Some would argue that not only is viewership poor for these special shows, but the content usually is lacking because of their quick turnaround. NBC executives may have been reading this story - or the writing on the wall at least. Yesterday, it decided to abandon its long-planned, eight-hour miniseries, "9/11." That story suggested the expensive project was being abandoned, in …
  • Retailers Take Licensed Deals Off the Rack
    TV shows may not be the master mover in selling t-shirts, action toys, books, and video games, but it can pitch a lot of apathy. Recent stories from last week's Licensing Show in New York City suggest TV shows this year may not be big promoters of spinning licenses for retail sales. Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants" was a big hit three years ago, as was Komani's "Yu-Gi-Oh." But now, TV can't seem to find a way to develop the next big hit.
  • DVR Usage - Not What You Think
    For TV advertisers concerning digital video recorder (DVR) usage, first it was bad news. Then good news. Then bad news. Now good news. A study by Frank N. Magid Associates released yesterday now says 55 percent of digital video recorder users stop on occasion while fast forwarding to watch a commercial that catches their attention. All this means TV commercials are effective, entertaining, informative, or have a dominatrix-clad Paris Hilton slithering around on a wet black car.
  • Everyone Needs a Tag Line
    The problem with TV is ultimately the lack of marketing tag lines. Failing sitcoms and dramas have nothing to do with bad writing, the unappealing stars, the boring sets, weak story arcs, or bad program lead ins. Missing advertising lines are the reason. No doubt NBC shows such as "Coupling" could have used "Yes! Sex on broadcast TV." Another NBC flop "Emeril" should have used a bit more 'Bam!," from his Food Network show still on the air.
  • Video on Demand Is More Like Video on Delay
    Video on demand (VOD) hasn't lived up to its big potential as of yet - especially with big hit broadcast TV shows. A recent NBC/TNT deal for "Las Vegas" has moved the business closer to its ideal - by just over a week.
  • Not So Real
    The jig is up; there are writers on reality TV shows. Not only that, but according to the union, the Writers Guild of America (WGA), reality TV show workers are working in the equivalent of a "21st-century telecommunications sweatshop."
  • ESPN Looks to Grow Past Sports Games and Highlights
    It's a major problem of every successful niche cable network: Where do you grow from niche? MTV had that problem, and succeeded in broadening its programming beyond music videos into series programming. Now ESPN is going through a similar transformation. ESPN's solid stable of male viewers - both young and old - have made it perhaps the most successful cable network, with everything from the X Games to NFL to the NBA to, of course, it mothership of shows, "SportsCenter." Success comes with big advertising money and ESPN has more than any other cable network - almost $900 …
  • What You Don't Notice, Can't Hurt You
    In Germany, you would never see plastic Coca-Cola cups on a desk sitting in front of "American Idol" judges Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell, and Paula Abdul. That's because product placement, paid or free of charge, is illegal - for all broadcasters - commercial, public, or otherwise. You can't even talk about real brands on the air.
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