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Memo to Programming: Herc’s Top Ten Ways To Improve Our Lives

The fall season officially launched on Monday with the season premieres of UPN’s “Moesha” and “The Parkers.” Now is the time on Strong Box when we offer the networks our top ten ways to improve the lives of television viewers everywhere.


“Well, duh,” mutters every programming exec from Century City to Burbank. And yet CBS yanked its best hourlong, “Now & Again,” NBC axed its best new comedy, “Freaks and Geeks,” ABC jettisoned its best half-hour, “Sports Night,” UPN axed its funniest show, “Dilbert,” and Fox quickly bailed on its funniest and most promising non-animated half-hour, “Action.” Praise only the WB, which has doggedly stuck with every show of even marginal value. Hey now: nobody watched “60 Minutes,” “All in the Family,” “M*A*S*H” “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” “Drew Carey” and a lot of other eventual ratings bonanzas during their first seasons. If it’s good, leave it on long enough for the average human being to find it. Leave it on five years if you have to. It’s not like there’s an endless supply of other good shows waiting in the wings to replace it.


If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a decent show, leave it where someone can find it! I don’t care if your show is routinely clobbered by “Two Guys and a Girl.” Think about this: “Two Guys and a Girl” will be in RERUNS 30 weeks a year. People will seek out alternatives to repeats of “Two Guys and a Girl.” The average viewer shouldn’t have to consult a search engine to figure out where NBC schedules a perfectly entertaining enterprise like “Freaks and Geeks” from week to week.


And don’t be bringing back that laugh-track either (hear me, Titus?). We as a culture have evolved beyond the need to have others tell us when to laugh. “The Larry Sanders Show,” “The Simpsons,” “Futurama,” “The West Wing,” “Ally McBeal,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “Now & Again,” “Twin Peaks,” “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law,” “Moonlighting,” “Northern Exposure” and every decent movie comedy ever made have long proven that we can find the jokes on our own. “The Parkers” will be just as funny without yahoos howling at every entendre. (And the tourists will be just as star-struck when they run into Happy at Disneyland.)


Yes, we’re all very excited about how “cost effective” these magazine shows are. But, seriously, if we stuck Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer and Stone Phillips into a big burlap bag and tossed it into the East River, would the nation’s viewers be poorer for it? I’ve seen enough editions of “20/20” and “Dateline” and “Primetime” and “48 Hours” to feel my heart sink at every televised utterance of the adjective “undercover.” There are only enough interesting stories for one weekly newsmagazine, and “60 Minutes” seems to find them all.


Some of the very best shows on the tube come from writers who have already proven themselves in the arena of motion pictures: witness the success of Joss Whedon (who went from “Toy Story” to “Buffy” and “Angel”), Aaron Sorkin (who went from “A Few Good Men” and “An American President” to “Sports Night” and “The West Wing”), and even Michael Crichton (who went from teaming with Steven Spielberg on “Jurassic Park” and “Twister” to teaming with Steven Spielberg on “ER”). If someone of James Cameron’s stature can write for the small screen (he co-created Fox’s first-rate new “Dark Angel”), why not air some pilots scripted by smart, original voices like Chris McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects,” “The Way of the Gun”), Scott Rosenberg (“Con Air,” “High Fidelity”), Scott Frank (“Get Shorty,” “Out of Sight”), Steven Soderbergh (“sex, lies, and videotape”), Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction,” “From Dusk Till Dawn”), P.T. Anderson (“Hard 8,” “Magnolia”) Andrew Niccol (“Gattaca,” “The Truman Show”) and Frank Darabont (“The Green Mile,” “The Shawshank Redemption”)?


The tribe has spoken! Forgive the repetition, but the reason we love shows like “Survivor,” “The Real World,” “Blind Date” and, yes, even “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” is we have NO IDEA from moment to moment what’s going to happen. While it’s disheartening to see that evil triumphs as least as often as good, these shows make for useful life lessons. The networks shouldn’t give up on trying to duplicate “Survivor’s” success as quickly as the networks gave up on trying to ape “Millionaire.” Keep in mind that even “Big Brother” is a huge demographic success (and would be far more widely recognized as such had it not debuted the same summer as the more popular “Survivor”). Keep making reality shows with game elements, but also give decent shows like “American High” and “Johns Hopkins 24/7” a fighting chance.


One of the finest new programming trends to emerge last year was to have two shows share one timeslot. This happened by accident last year when “Once and Again” did so well in the “NYPD Blue” timeslot that ABC wound up delaying the premiere of “NYPD” until midseason. It worked so well, in fact, that ABC is letting “Once” and “NYPD” share again, and the WB has adopted the strategy by letting “Felicity” and “Jack & Jill” take turns occupying Wednesdays at 9. Anything to cut down on those reruns, baby.


Would it kill Fox to NOT schedule its best new show (“Dark Angel”) against a show as good (and as similarly titled) as the WB’s “Angel?” Why not stick “Dark Angel” on Wednesdays at 8, where it could give us an alternative to “Bette,” “Titans” “7 Days” and “Millionaire,” and give discriminating young adults something to watch before “The West Wing?” Also, why is NBC’s best new comedy, “Ed,” stuck against “The Simpsons” on Sunday? And did the WB really have to sacrifice “Gilmore Girls” against “Friends” on Thursday?


It occurs to me that what we REALLY need is for one (or two) of the three weblets (Fox, UPN and the WB) to start programming prime time’s 10 p.m. desert (even if it means bailing out of 8 p.m.). Wouldn’t “Dark Angel” do much better Tuesdays at 10 opposite “Once and Again,” “Judging Amy” and “Dateline?” And don’t say 10 p.m. is a loser daypart. “ER” and “The Practice” continue to prove that monster hits can inhabit 10 p.m.


I am -- Hercules.

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 5, 2000, 5:10 a.m. CST

    Great Stuff

    by DocStrangelove

    Awww crap, I think I'm first. I'd better take a long time, so someone else will look like an idiot. Anyhow, 1)was Freaks and Geeks on in Canada? I don't think I ever saw it. Pity. Good thing they canceled Dilbert, though, cos it just wasn't funny 2) This would be a good thing, if you didn't mention number 8. 3) Hey, I'm an idiot, I'm not always sure when to laugh. 4) Idiots like me don't like news, so good point. 5) Speilburg made ER? 6) American High looks like great stuff. They aired it on the same channel as Survivor in Canada, and on the same network too. Bonus. 7) Good point, I suppose. 8) The X-Files is getting clobbered by Reege. This might be a good thing. 9) We have a good 10 pm on the east coast. Fini. Someone had better of posted 'first' before me... I don't want to look like an idiot...

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 5:11 a.m. CST

    Aww Crap

    by DocStrangelove


  • Sept. 5, 2000, 5:12 a.m. CST

    re Dark Angels hot new star

    by Harycaul

    I dunno if anyone has seen the ad for Dark Angel, but that girl in the lead role is so delightfully and naughtily and poutily hot that i can barely contain myself....god bless jimmy cameron and his wanderin eyes...that ugly bitch he left Linda Hamilton for better get a heads up...she is next on the Terminatin list...

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 7:28 a.m. CST


    by bukuda

    You don't know what you're saying! Over here in the UK we have nothing but 'reality' shows. They are cheap to make and appeal to the lowest common denominator in society - the voyeur. Not that this sounds bad in principle, but when you have shows that deal with the real-life goings-on in a hairdressers, driving school, bedsit, public toilets, London cul-de-sac, hickbilly village, (etc ad nauseum), they starve the brain, imagination and any sense of adventure the viewers may still retain. Besides that, the BBC and ITV are scrapping plans to invest in good, pre-scripted dramas for all genres in favour if what amounts to shit-in-motion, which sells adverts and rots the brain. But ... isn't that what TV has always been about?

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Is this guy actually knocking Moonlighting...

    by Hero For Hire

    ...You're post wasn't precisely clear, Gorgar. Do you actually have the audacity to imply that you need a lobotomy to watch Moonlighting? Let me clue you in: I STILL HAVEN'T FOUND a show with funnier, better written dialogue than that from the first three seasons of that show. It was like the world's greatest vaudeville comedy team was on television every week. Those writers were goddamn geniuses.

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Fair warning, Hercules... I intend to forward this list to my f

    by Herbert Kornfeld

    And hopefully they'll forward it to their friends, and around and around the wrorld until maybe, SOMEONE at big TV will notice. I'll give you and the site credit, too.

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Herc, I have to defy you

    by All Thumbs

    Be careful what you wish for, Herc, you just might get it. Please don't ask for more reality shows. 1. You don't need to; they're lining up clones as we type. 2. These clones are going to be major crap that make "Blind Date" look like genius. I, too, got drawn into the "Survivor" frenzy against my better judgement and I even admit loving to laugh at many of the idiots and jerks who go on "Blind Date," but you have to admit that what we DON'T need are more millionaire-type game shows and boring reality shows like "Big Brother" (though I know Herc likes it, it's a show I just didn't get into because it's boring and has succeeded in collecting the most annoying people on earth in one building...and that includes the hosts). A few good ones. Sure. But more will clog the timeslots. Also, I don't really enjoy the whole sharing a time slot thing myself, unless it's done during rerun time when I don't care anyways. You can't ask for networks not to switch the shows around and then ask them to keep using shared slots. It just ain't possible for them to comprehend it and you'll only confuse them more. If you hurt their little brains, we might just end up with the ladies from "The View" starring in their own hour-long dramedy.

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Weblet 10p programming

    by Deno

    Weblets programming at 10pm? Ain't gonna happen Herc Baby. Most of their major affiliates run local news at 10pm which hauls in major ad $$$s.

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Comedy Central Put The Best Shows on at 10

    by Flaparoo

    South Park, The Man Show, every new show they have on at 10, they are some smart cookies.

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Let big brother lead us into the future

    by Eyegore

    All those shows Her mentioned that got canceled deserved to be canceled because they sucked, especially `Now and Again' which was really good for the first five minutes then commenced sucking for the rest of it's airtime. Big Brother has six new episodes a week with no reruns while most other series can barely manage to crank out 20 in a year. It's pathetic. Big Brother's production crew takes teams behind Friends, ER, Voyager, South Park, OZ, etc, grabs them by the back of the neck and slams thier faces into a pile of steaming elephant dung. It makes them their bitch and shows them how it's done. How the soaps have been doing it all these years. Why do we have to have reruns 75% of the time? It's just laziness and complacency. I think it's going to change soon though...this whole season of re-runs people were watching Survivor and other new shows instead of sitting through reruns so if the reruns continue to be ignored, eventually they'll go away.

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 12:26 p.m. CST

    God, Fox is just loving to annoy me this season

    by XTheCrovvX

    Ok, let me get ths straight...first, pit my two favorite shows on that network(That 70's Show and Titus) against Buffy, then put the yet to impress me but im curious anyway show, Dark Angel, against the fact that in the steady flow of shitty reality shows(yeah, you heard me Big Brother fans...i wear my Survivor shirt with pride!), the one that mattered the most, American High, gets canceled after the third episode...nice going, fuckers...anyways, besides, with the exceptions of Dark Angel, (which like i said, im curious, but not psyched about) and The Tick(which I've been waiting for years to see...Fox should've never axed the cartoon in the first place), theres nothing new to keep me coming back this season...i wonder when TV execs wil wake up and realize that not everyone is single, over 30, female, worried about biological clocks, and horribly averted to any mentions of blood or sex...thank the gods shows like Buffy, Angel, 70's Show, and Family Guy still exist....i wouldve gone nuts otherwise...Revolution is my name...

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 12:30 p.m. CST

    P.S.-About the new Harry animation

    by XTheCrovvX

    About time someone saw the similarities between that fanboy dude on the Simpsons and our friendly neighborhood webmaster..."!" hehe

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Production crews

    by Darla

    Just to quibble with Eyegore (great name, BTW): the reason soap crews can churn out so much programming is that the lighting is much the same day to day and shot to shot, and the camera work and actor blocking are practically ritualized. They call it "the dance of the cameras." It's the same movements of actor and camera, and sequence of shots, in nearly every scene. Actors and crew get a single take (sometimes, actually very rarely, two) to nail a scene. Sure it's quick, but it doesn't hold a candle to the production values of, say, Oz or X-Files, etc. IMHO, a short season can work quite well for a program, particularly if one person is writing most or all of the episodes: Absolutely Fabulous (Jennifer Saunders), The Sopranos (David Chase), and Oz (Tom Fontana) spring to mind. The creator doesn't lose focus or foist crappy product on the audience because they need to fulfill a contractual obligation for 20-26 episodes of a program, or scripts for more than one program (I'm lookin' at you, David E. Kelley). Sure, I'm frustrated that I have to wait until January for new Oz episodes, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait. Since virtually every program has eight outstanding episodes, nine pretty-great-but-with-slow-spots episodes, six OK episodes, and at least three or four totally-crappy episodes per season, why not just do the eight outstanding ones and call it a season?

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 1:22 p.m. CST

    What's up with..

    by Lizzybeth

    .. the fall season starting later and later each year? Is it just me? I know this year it's partly due to the Olympics, but it's been a steady trend.. Remember when shows used to debut in SEPTEMBER? Now it's October, November, even midway through the year! And yet, the season seems to be ending at the same time for all the shows. Does this mean fewer reruns in the middle of the year, or fewer new eps altogether? Does anyone know? Anyway. Here's a suggestion for Hercules' list, I don't know how feasible it is.. WB- damn the man, ditch the schedule, and run a fall/winter spring/summer schedule.. About 15 episodes straight, no reruns, season finale.. start the next batch of shows. Have Saturday/Sunday be the days to rerun the episodes like with those 7th Heaven "Beginnings" (why can't they do that with Buffy? Can you believe 7th Heaven is their highest-rated show?). Buffy can run half the year, Angel the second half.. Joss can do both shows without dividing his attention (which seemed to be a problem last year). Constantly have new programming, but in a longer trial period than a summer debut. Well, that seems ideal to me, anyway. The person above is right, btw: the WB/Fox stations have a major ratings kick for their news programs by running them at 9/10, getting the jump on the other stations news by an hour.. no way do they want to bump their news. We're not going to see that happen until MAJOR ratings pickup is seen for both stations. If they don't have a quality lead-in to their news, they're not going to want to move it to a more competitive time slot.

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Number of Episodes

    by Enphilistor

    LizzyBeth: Regarding the number of episodes being broadcast, I recently caught part of a bio on Tim Conway where he casually mentioned something about filming 33 episodes of "McHales Navy" every year . . . I believe 33 eps used to be the standard. That was why they called them "summer" reruns, because two-thirds of the year was original programming. I believe the standard now is 22 eps? We've come a long way, baby . . . and we ain't hit bottom yet.

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Bring Back "Small Wonder!"

    by NambyPamby

    Only the mighty robot V.I.C.I. can save the desolate planet that television has become.

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Freaks & Geeks STILL ON/Moonlighting

    by Lazarus Long

    The Family Channel, believe it or not, is showing Freaks & Geeks every Tuesday night (I think that's the correct day); last week they even did a two-fer. So you people who missed out can catch up. They're still on the first few episodes. Don't miss the season finale, which was AMAZING. *** Also, I cannot believe someone had the audacity to rip on Moonlighting. Maybe you didn't understand it when you were 10 years old, but I agree with the previous poster who said it's probably the best written show EVER on television. The asides breaking the fourth wall, the experimental episodes like the Shakespeare Taming of the Shrew update, the Orson Welles introduced Black & White episode, the Whoopi Goldberg season finale when the set & props are taken away before the end of the show...amazing, and with multiple emmys to show for it. Cybill Shepherd's best work, and probably Willis' as well. And it's still on Bravo for your viewing and taping pleasure...

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 8:04 p.m. CST

    The Networks Never Learn

    by VidMan

    Oh Herc...haven't you noticed that the networks never learn from previous mistakes? How often has someone quoted the networks as being the ones who said "STAR TREK? Nope, not enough viewer interest, take it off!". Networks have even proven that they are unsure of how to schedule programs in the past. I seem to recall them placing a comedy that was hilarious on one night for two weeks, moved it to another night the next, a third night the third week and then to a different fourth night! They then pulled this show stating that no one was watching it. NO ONE COULD FIND THE DAMN THING! The show? POLICE SQUAD, which spawned three hilarious movies that racked up box office business. Once again proving that the heads of the networks have no clue. As for the news programs, I remember reading a few years ago that the news departments had discovered that more and more people wanted to see more news programs. In talking with people I knew, none of them thought this. None of my relatives thought or said this. Who was it they were talking to? My guess would be other news people. The tactics used have become such that no one wants to talk to them anymore, and those that do are searching for their 15 minutes of fame only. Not to mention the fact that "objective" news no longer exists. Gone are the days when a newsperson reported the news instead of presenting it with their own twist on it. News as opinion instead of reporting. So the networks will trod out there new shows, TV GUIDE will send out it's fall preview issue and people will thumb through it trying to decide if there is anything worth watching. And when they settle for what little there is, they will watch the shows worth watching. Which will in turn not be watched by enough people. Which will lead to these same shows being canceled. Which will lead to everyone at the networks trying to find excuses as to why television viewership is down for another year. And the excuses will always be something other than the fact that they do not know how to keep us entertained of happy. It will always be the other guys fault. By the way, an aside. Isn't it interesting that these shows we don't seem to see, or enjoy, are filled now with more advertising than ever before. Did I hear correctly that they are now past the 10 minute mark for commercials in a half hour episode? More food for thought as to why we are not watching as much TV. Time to pass the soapbox along to someone else. *S*

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 9:35 p.m. CST

    No more reality!

    by 2GOLD

    If I see another show about people doing something I can do, I'm going to vomit. No more Survivor or Big Brother or Millionaire or Real World! This has to stop NOW! It's shows like this that drive people to drugs and watching Honeymooners reruns. No more reality crap, give me a Taurantino show about down on there luck hitmen for HBO and I'll be happy. Bring on the new season of Sopranos

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 9:53 p.m. CST

    by SnidelyWhiplash

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 10:05 p.m. CST

    simpsons vs. futurama


    While futurama isn't as clever right now as simpsons was in it's first couple of seasons, it is FAR superior than the Simpsons is now. Anyone who still adamently stands by the simpsons as being one of the funniest shows on T.V. at the moment needs to really give their head a shake. What were some of the hilarious ideas that came from the writers recently? Flanders wife Maude is killed (HA HA HA) Bart becomes a healer (snicker) and uhhhhh....fuck, theye're all so stupid you can name any episode from this season (or of the last couple-Marge becomes a cop???...whatthefuck?!?!) and find some of the most feeble minded, shit-laced episodes ever to be produced. Retire the simpsons...give the slot to Futurama.

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 10:43 p.m. CST

    Survivor is sick reality

    by SnidelyWhiplash

    After watching all 13 episodes of Survivor, I can't agree with you Herc. The last thing television and society in general need are shows like this. People are working together to eat, have shelter and stay healthy and then they have to turn around and vote one of these same people off of the island? The money is more important? I say to hell with the money. What if someone decides to go postal because they were contributing, helping to keep their "tribe" going and then they get voted off the island or Australia or wherever, because they aren't part of an "alliance". I don't care if the producers do background checks. There's NO possible way anybody can ever know what's in another person's mind. And they can't interperet how someone will handle rejection. I thought Susan's speech was one of the most pathetic displays ever seen on national television. She deliberately tried to humiliate another person who she say's lied to her.I saw the whole thing, that woman made a career out of lying. I've got an idea for a reality show. Why doesn't somebody pick 16 problems in our society wether it be poverty,the environment, government spending, whatever. And whoever comes up with the most ingenuous, effective plan gets a million dollars but only to implement their plan. I wonder how many people would volunteer for a game like that. I don't mean to sound holier than anybody. But it just seems like our society keeps moving away from what's really important and then we tell ourselves that behavior like we saw on Survivor is OK. Except it's not.

  • Sept. 5, 2000, 11:59 p.m. CST

    Who's gonna win the British "Big Brother" ? (and why is the amer

    by Monty Python

    Scally Craig is always getting nominated and never getting thrown out. He did aquit himself very well during the whole "Nick" affair, But I think He'll definitely come out much better than Darren cuz he's got a much stronger personality and he's got the audience on his side after that Darren-vote-changing affair. Darren is a nice guy but but that whole thing made him seem shallow where-as Craig at least is consistent. The audience Vote-off will come down to Daren & the lovely Anna I think, Craig is obviously popular at this point, but Mel will be the winner if she manages to put a smile on her face. The final will only really be between Mel & Craig I think, Cuz they're popular. Personally, I'm voting for Gay Anna Cuz She's the wisest, least vindictive, and most well adjusted of the lot. Now let's laugh at The americans for not allowing Nudity on their version of "Big Brother" and, LOL, having to provide their overtly innoffensive finalists with a shrink for one-on-one counselling in the diary room. Dearie Me, when will The US Networks rethink their laughably contradictory stance on sex&nudity Vs Absurd levels of violence. We actually get Beefier episodes of american shows over here than they do in the US. Go-Figure...

  • Sept. 6, 2000, 12:24 a.m. CST

    11. Stop puting Tony Danza in new shows!

    by Bono

    'Nuff said.

  • Sept. 6, 2000, 12:34 a.m. CST

    How I learned to stop worrying and love TV

    by Cereal Killer

    I agree with some of your top ten and disagree with others. First, more reality shows is not the answer. The networks are already trying to saturate the airways with Survivor-wannabes and most of them will fail. Survivor was fantastic and I can't wait for the next one but Big Brother is a bore. We don't need more reality shows, we just need really good ones; Survivor, Real World, Road Rules, The 1900 House. I can support those but some of the ones they're proposing sound silly and will effectively kill the market for reality TV.*** As for news magazines, we don't need less of them either. They're cheap to produce and do well in the ratings. The problem isn't the number of newsmagazines, it's the quality of the ones we have. They need to dig deeper and do a better job. There are millions of great stories to be told but we just see blanket coverage of the same ones on every show. Instead of 20 shows covering the same 5 stories the producers need to kick these "newspeople" in the ass and make them find better stories.*** I disagree with you about networks scheduling great shows opposite each other. I don't know what else you expect them to do. Is NBC just supposed to roll over and give up a time slot to ABC just because they don't want to compete against some powerhouse show? I expect a competitive network to use its strongest shows to try and kill their competitors. Just suck it up and use the VCR when two shows are on at the same time.*** Couldn't agree more that the networks abandon good shows too early. Since they usually get replaced by something crappy anyway it would be in their best interest in the long run to nurture a good show for as long as it takes. Eventually it will find its audience. The networks run the risk of losing imaginative producers to cable if they keep up the habit of ditching shows that are slow to build momentum.*** As for live audiences I think it's subjective as to whether or not they help. Think back to "All in the Family." Part of the reason it did so well was the live audience. The Sammy Davis episode had the longest sustained laughter of any show ever and was much funnier because of the audience reaction. Same with Taxi. Remember the episode where Rev. Jim gets takes the driving test? The director told the cast to milk the joke "What does a yellow light stand for? Slow down." for as long as the audience found it funny. A studio audience can make a funny show ten times funnier.

  • Sept. 6, 2000, 2:17 a.m. CST

    Actuallly, I've gone orf and had a think about this and...

    by Monty Python

    ...The British "Big Brother" Will be won by The Irish, lesbian ex-nun Anna, Why? Cuz she is the the most sane, least coniving, and generally most decent out of the lot of them, Mel is turning it up a bit too much now that the pay-off is approaching, she's like "Oppurtunist Spice" or something. It'll come down to Craig & Anna, and Anna is the nicest human being out've the lot.

  • Sept. 6, 2000, 5:16 a.m. CST

    10pm and ratings

    by MGTHEDJ

    hi gang. here's my 2 cents. herc your right, the WB (since UPN is possibly being folded into CBS and MTV, and FOX has contractually obligated it's affiliats into newscasts at 10) SHOULD go after this timeslot. as of now the big 3 each get at least one night to themselves---ABC:sundays the practice,mondays football and tuesdays NYPD Blue; NBC: wednesdays law and order and thursdays ER; CBS: fridays saturdays with the over 55 demographic. the WB could see a large profit with shows aimed at adults just out of college. SIDEBAR: in ratings college kids DO NOT COUNT since nielsen and arbitron exclude college campuses in their surveys. This also contributes to the general suckiness of primetime TV since advertisers want the ex- soroity girl who has only been married for 3 years (if that) and already has one kid and a husband with a 6 figure income. you know, the girls who have NO TASTE AND NO CLUE!! THE ONES WHO MAKE FRIENDS A HIT!!{end rant} so WB take the advice of the above post: showcase back eps. in this time period, why let VIACOM and FOX and UNIVERSAL hog the slot with syndicated shows ON YOUR STAIONS!!! later.........m

  • Sept. 6, 2000, 12:04 p.m. CST

    New blood at 10 PM? Maybe WB...

    by Baggins

    ...not FOX or UPN. FOX's affiliates (at least, the O&O's) run their local news at 10:00 PM (ET). UPN is about to become toast because of the CBS-Viacom deal. That leaves WB.

  • New TV shows have a lot in common with internet start ups (or vice-versa); everyone is painfully aware that the odds are greatly against success, so everyone jumps in for the quick buck and then expects to move on. A viable tv show/company is almost a random side-effect. Desperate execs (studio or otherwise), fending off the other shark-like execs with one hand while groping for cash with the other, try to get as many hits as possible as quickly as possible without waiting for word to get around. Thus if something doesn't pull enormous numbers on its first few viewings, it is going to die. They're not committed to the show itself, merely to the idea of having a hit show. How do you get a hit show? Well, apparently they feel you _replace_ and/or defeat a currently successful show, which is why you get all those bizarre pair-ups, with tons and tons of pretty entertaining shows scuffling in like 3 time slots, and then an eternity of 'Moesha' and 'Full House' re-runs. With the advent of VCRs, if you care enough you can just tape some of the overlapping shows and watch the others. Nielsen ratings don't compute that, however...

  • Sept. 6, 2000, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Cheap TV

    by darkmane

    I would like to address the point of the reality shows and why they are so popular with the networks. They are cheap TV. The cost is soo much lower than an hour long drama, I fear a race to the bottom. WHere Survivior: Blair Witch, Survivor: Jungle, Survival: The Moon fill up the schedule and the good dramas disappear. Look what happened with the millionaire shows.

  • Sept. 6, 2000, 5:56 p.m. CST

    Reality shows?

    by Eyegore

    ^Crock hunter gets bit all the time, and I think what he meant was he'd beat your pansy ass into the ground. Bitch. As for the rest of you bitching about reality TV, I see a lot of really screwy reasons you hate it. You don't want to see people doing things you can do yourself? That's retarded, that rules out 98% of all TV right off. Also, not many of us find ourselves marooned on an island in the south china sea. Ever. You don't think that kind of behavior is appropriate for people emulate in their own lives? It's a game doofus. Are you going to judge the state of society by what happens in a game of monopoly? Or you're proud to have never watched a single episode of Survivor? Keep bragging. The rest of us normal people see you as a self important snob grasping for ways to claim superiority over us. It's pathetic, and it's your loss. Survivor was QUALITY entertainment. It kept you guessing to the very end, and every episode had a suprise ending...not what you'd expect. Week after week right up the very last vote when the least likely person to win, won. Most of us get this, and the rest of you pathetic losers can brag about being above it all all you want, it's your loss and you're not changing anyone's mind.

  • Sept. 6, 2000, 8:24 p.m. CST

    Preach on, Eyegore

    by Cereal Killer

    Survivor was the best thing on TV in years. It had all the elements of great drama; good guys vs. villains, greed, lust, nudity. There was a surprise ending for each show and then the biggest surprise of all at the very end when Rich won. I'd take Survivor over any scripted drama currently on the air including Buffy. Any of these idiots who avoided Survivor because they are "above" watching reality TV can call their summer a waste of time.

  • Sept. 6, 2000, 10:55 p.m. CST

    reality revisted

    by SnidelyWhiplash

    I've met a lot of conniving assholes. But I've met more decent hardworking people who actually give a shit about somebody besides themselves. Yes really. Unfortunately that doesn't sell but voting people off an island does. Then again, it's only TV. With real people. Only I hope they aren't "real people". I hope they just play them on TV.

  • Sept. 7, 2000, 7:39 a.m. CST


    by Eyegore

    Hey Whiplash, did you read two messages up? Those people were playing on a game show for a million dollars. I guess in your world people in a monopoly game should give away money and properties to the nicer players, or in a game of poker put all the cards on the table. Football players shouldn't hit each other either I guess. Ditto boxers because hitting isn't nice. Time for a reality check. It was a game, not real life. Games are different.

  • Sept. 7, 2000, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Does TV NEED saving?

    by spider15

    1) Hurc says that to make TV bettter, they have to stop canelling good shows. Boy, what a revelation! We NEVER would've figured out THAT one on our own. Ironically, that assessment is still accurate. The cancellation of a show as brilliant as "Action" for me frankly put TV as a whole into question. 2) While they'll probably maintain some presence, shows like "Survivor" and "Big Brother" are NOT the wave of the future. They're just a fad, the way shows like "Real People" and "That's Incredible!" were twenty years ago. But while I enjoy "Big Brother," I am the only one who sees something inherently negative in the whole twist of people being "voted out" one at a time? I mean, on "Survivor," at least you actually had to DO something to earn the prize. On "Brother," all you have to do is be less disliked then the other people? Does this send the best message, really? But since we're stuck with it for the time being, let's support Jamie (YOW). 3) Since the discussion has been opened, in my opinion the best TV show of all time is "The Odd Couple." It was hysterical, and the sense of comic timing and rhythm between its two stars was nothing short of breathtaking (so how come we can't find the show anywhere on cable now, or even locally in NYC? Shame) 4) Another contender for the best TV show of all time is of course "The Simpsons." And to the poster (and anyone who might agree with him) I maintain it's still good. However, I already said everything I had to say on an earliest posting, which first appeared on May 21, 2000 under the headline "Hercules Spoils the Season Finales of the Simpsons, Futurama, The Practice and Titus." Go there if you want to read more.

  • Sept. 7, 2000, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Not just a game, a tv show, the worst kind, designed to generate

    by SnidelyWhiplash

    There's nothing wrong with competition or games. But games are also suppossed to be fun and not a popularity contest.Jeapordy and Wheel of fortune are games. Who want's to be a Millionaire is a game.Survivor was designed to ignite sparks and conflict between people for America's viewing pleasure.It's Being a game is how Richard justified his actions in front of the judges for the final decision. I loved how Colleen struggled to keep from laughing when Richard said he was a keen observer of people. Since he answered about two questions right when they were asked about their fellow castaway's for immunity. So much for his keen powers of observation. If Survivor was a game then the winner was CBS. They have made so much money from that show that they should give everyone,all 16 plus crew, a million dollars. Yes I watched survivor, I'm not espescially proud to say. The premise was interesting and different but when I saw how it was playing out and the reasons why, I wasn't what you would call an avid fan. My previous response was directed mostly at Jesus H. Christ in defense of the general public. There are some great generous things that people do or could do.And I wish television would find a way to devise a few "games" about them.And I'm getting off my soap box now.

  • Sept. 7, 2000, 11:52 p.m. CST


    by Eyegore

    You missed the point. Monopoly is a fun family game, and it's as morally bankrupt as survivor might be. Winner takes all, no mercy. That's monopoly. As for game shows that show the good side of humanity, it's been done. Many many times. Off the top of my head I'd say jeapardy or millionaire show how educated people can be. Celebrity jeopardy gives all the winnings to charity. See, there now you can feel good about humanity again. And not every show needs to follow that formula. Enter Survivor, one of the best, most entertaining game shows ever devised. Certainly the most dramatic game show I've ever seen. Don't be ashamed you watched it because people were mean to each other. It's like being ashamed of watching pulp fiction because it wasn't more like sesame street or barney. There's room enough in the world for all of that. Duh.

  • Sept. 13, 2000, 11:15 p.m. CST

    Eyegore, your point was crystal clear, 2 posts ago..

    by SnidelyWhiplash

    I just don't agree with you.You say not liking Survivor because people are mean to each is the equivalent of not liking pulp fiction because it's not like Seasame Street and Barney. Give me a break! I think you missed my point. In fact, I don't think you were even close. We have a difference of opinion and a different way of thinking. Remember on the last show, Kelly walking on the beach, in the narrative she asked how you can play this, OK, game and still keep your moral principles? Then She answered her own question, You can't. That's why I dislike Survivor, Big Brother and all of the many rip offs sure to come our way. All of these people worked together (except Germaine), slept together, they even ate rats together. But every week they were forced to get together and vote another person out.I think it's a lousy premise. But the ratings showed that's what us millions of people were tuning in to see. Who would get voted off. Maybe it's just human nature, but for me, I feel more human by not watching it. That's my take on Survivor. It's not right and it's not wrong but I can tell you one thing. I won't be watching Survivor in January.

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