Letters of Mass Construction

Network TV Hates Us – I’m Looking At You AMC

Every year I read about TV networks whining about losing viewers. Losing revenue. Trying to find new methods to capitalize on new media and social media. Some networks whine more than others. I understand the problems and their fears. There is a lot of money involved in making a show. I have a really simple solution. Stop sucking and treat your viewers with respect.

Most of them won’t because they are run by giant know-it-all egotists. You don’t have to look any farther than the carnage at NBC. I mean seriously, they thought putting Leno on at 10 was a good idea. They matched this brilliant idea by firing Conan and sticking Leno back on the Tonight Show. Even when they accidentally stumbled onto some interesting TV programming, like Heroes, they managed to suck the life out of it faster than the Reverse Flash apparently can blow up the DC Universe.

I am starting to believe networks hate their viewers. When I say networks I mean all networks. Not just the big 4 (okay, I admit that is pushing it. Maybe the big 3 because who the hell knows what NBC is anymore. They couldn’t even find a way to make Wonder Woman work). Everyone of them makes a screwy decision that makes absolutely  no sense. Even HBO who generally stands above the fray once canceled Deadwood and replaced it with John From Cincinnati. What the fuck was that all about?

Networks no longer nurture shows. Instant gratification tends to be the name of the game. It doesn’t matter how good your show is most of the time. No ratings means you are gone. I think Fox canceled The Family Guy like a million times. Showtime once had an incredible little program called Dead Like Me that they canned way before it’s expiration date (in defense of Showtime they have gotten much better). For the most part the networks just keep trotting out the same formula. Every so often one of them hits and then everyone rushes to copy it.

Then there is the bizarre situations at what used to be two of my favorite TV channels. Can anyone tell me why they are even called the SyFy network (which by the way is a stupid name and I believe signaled the beginning of the end for this once good network). The recent cancellation of Eureka was pretty much the end for me. That network is as ridiculous as one of the C movies they play. There was a time you could count on quality but now I wonder how long it will be until they are dead in the water as a destination for science fiction fans.

It could be weirder. SyFy network could be AMC who I believe is now currently attempting to fall on their sword. I think their head of programming is on crack. I don’t know what his name is. I read it once but he is unimportant to me. On the other hand I could name all of their show runners. This network has turned itself into the little engine that could.

This has not stopped them from meddling in everything. Matthew Weiner, of Mad Men, won’t even speak to the head of programming anymore. Breaking Bad threatened to jump ship and then there is The Walking Dead. AMC’s biggest hit. What did they do with their biggest hit? They fired their show runner (Frank Darabont). Reduced the per episode budget and told them that maybe they shouldn’t have so many zombies. Someone needs to be punched in the skull. Less zombies! Hello, it is a fucking show about a zombie apocalypse. It needing a certain amount of zombies should not be a surprise.

HBO left the Wire on for five years because it was quality. It never drew the numbers The Walking Dead is drawing. They left it the hell alone. Even with Deadwood they didn’t interfere, they just made the mistake of canceling it. AMC is doomed. They can’t get out of their own way. This means three more shows I like are probably screwed in the long run. They hate us I tell you. There is a bright side. When they piss me off so bad I think my head might explode I head over to my computer and watch the web series Awkward Embraces. More entertainment in 6 minutes than almost any sitcom currently on TV.

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