Why Is TV So Redundant?
December 19, 2008 10:26 AM
One of the things I’ve noticed is that despite tons of channels (which should technically mean a lot of programming options) most of what’s on TV is really similar. There are several shows set to the backdrop of hospitals and emergency rooms, dozens about fashion careers (and trying to make it in the business), and of course, the rich and privileged.
Of the said 300 million people in the United States, just 1% of the population are millionaires, yet somehow, if you look at TV programming our country appears to be full of them.
Well, sort of. At least when it comes to women-targeted concepts.
As I researched past programming for today’s article, I found shows like “Dallas” and “Fantasy Island,” which I guess in some way are the same as the modern-day affluence themes in “Gossip Girl,” “90210,” “Real Housewives” and all the other slice-of-wealthy-life shows on television.
Only back then, the upper class apparently rubbed elbows with average Joes by way of shows like “Roseanne,” “Family Ties” and “The Jeffersons.”
Now, even “Jon & Kate Plus 8” seem to be doing pretty well, and they’re feeding the equivalent of the four-on-four volleyball tournament.
I’m glad to see that at least in TV land, nobody’s struggling with 7% unemployment, bailouts and layoffs.
After all, TV wasn’t nicknamed the “boob tube” for nothing. Since the dawn of time, TV programming has aimed to transport us all somewhere. I for one like that there’s a lot of fun and fantasy. Everybody knows that Carrie Bradshaw could have never lived in a nice Manhattan apartment and Manolo Blahniks on a newspaper columnist’s salary (especially today). If only renting a house in the Hollywood Hills could be done working as an intern a la Lauren Conrad!
But seriously, I have been wondering: Why are so many shows the same when we have more TV channels than ever?
Even the most seasoned entertainment veterans I’ve met and know can’t seem to be able to pinpoint the answer. Some say it’s risk aversion, others blame the pitch. Far many more honestly shrug sheepishly and say, “This is just how the business is.”
Is it fragmentation? Something about the process? I’m curious and am going to be exploring more about how the business does its business to see if I can find the answer.