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TelevisionWeek columnist and deputy editor Josef Adalian applies his decades of experience covering the television industry to deliver analysis readers can't find anywhere else.

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Josef Adalian Column



Networks Must Evaluate Shows on Merits as Much as Ratings

July 27, 2008 8:54 PM

Joe Adalian

It was easy to tell the difference between broadcast and cable executives during the recently concluded TV Critics Association press tour.

The cable guys were the ones bouncing around the Beverly Hilton with big ol’ grins on their faces. Critics couldn’t stop kvelling over their shows. Every other day during the tour, there seemed to be another press release about sky-high ratings for the second season of “Army Wives” or the latest episode of “Monk.”

Then there were the folks from the Big Five (talk about a label that seems comically antiquated).

Because of the writers strike, most of the broadcast networks showed up with very little new product to talk up. Hallway conversations focused on declining ratings, the dying sitcom or the latest reality show dud.

No wonder, then, that one prominent cable executive who’s often mentioned as a possible candidate to head a network laughed out loud when I brought up rumors that there might soon be an opening for him.

“Why would I want to run a network?” he said. “Who needs those headaches?”

I thought about that statement last week when CBS announced a time-slot swap for summer dramas “Swingtown” and “Flashpoint.” The latter show is moving behind “CSI” repeats on Thursday, while the former is headed to a likely death on Friday nights.

Swingtown

PUSHING THE ENVELOPE "Swingtown" got pummeled by reviewers who complained CBS had no right to attempt something so risque.

From a short-term perspective, the move makes all the sense in the world. “Flashpoint” fits right in with CBS’ blood-and-bullets formula, and it probably will benefit from a “CSI” lead-in. Plus, because it’s a Canadian import, it costs dramatically less to produce than a typical drama.

By contrast, “Swingtown” offers no cost savings—and in some ways is even more expensive than a regular drama. That’s because advertisers like Procter & Gamble have avoided running ads in the show, as Advertising Age reported a few weeks ago.

“It is a shame,” one media buyer told the magazine. “When the networks try to push the envelope a little and try to be more like HBO, the advertisers run away.”

It’s not just advertisers making it hard for networks to take chances.

Critics regularly—and rightly—bitch about CBS’ overreliance on crime procedurals and middle-of-the-road fare. But when the network stepped outside its safety zone with “Swingtown,” it got pummeled by reviewers who complained it had no right to attempt something so risque.

What’s more, many TV reporters accused CBS of turning “Swingtown” into burnoff theater by airing it in the summer—even though the network launched an extensive promo campaign for the series that included billboards, bus ads and extensive on-air advertising.

But, to paraphrase something ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson said during the press tour, there’s no crying in network TV. Just because it’s harder to stick with quality shows doesn’t mean networks shouldn’t try.

NBC renewed “The Office” and “30 Rock” even though both shows barely had pulses after their first seasons. The network is bringing back “Friday Night Lights” for a third season, and while some critics might not like the fact that it will air on DirecTV first, give credit to NBC for trying everything it can think of to make the show work for its air.

While the overwhelming critical support and upscale demographics for “Office” and “30 Rock” made the Peacock’s mission easier, it still took guts for NBC to stick by two series many network observers once considered hopeless.

CBS, which is home to no small number of very smart executives, has to start showing similar intestinal fortitude if it wants to avoid the fate of so many past winning networks that have hewed too closely to a winning formula. Too many times in recent years—think “Love Monkey,” “Moonlight,” “Cane,” “The Class”—the network has opted for short-term scheduling stability instead of supporting the kinds of shows that could help it evolve its brand and attract new audiences.

“Sooner or later, the networks are going to have to begin making some decisions to keep shows on, even if it doesn’t seem to make any economic sense,” one senior executive told me last week. “We’ve got to break out of this quarter-to-quarter mindset.”

“Swingtown” isn’t a perfect show. Many critics have complained about the uneven quality of its first few episodes, and it’s clear producers have been struggling to figure out some of the characters and plotlines.

But consider this bit of CBS history: Eight years ago, the network launched “Big Brother” in the summer. Despite bad reviews and disappointing ratings, the network decided to give the show another chance—and, in the process, launched an unscripted tentpole that still stands.

With “Swingtown,” CBS has found another possible summer staple—not to mention a golden chance to start evolving beyond its reputation as the crimesolvers channel.

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Comments (74)

Very well written article. I'll be passing it along.

Sadmoonrisin:

Thank you Josef Adalian for your wonderful article.
I found it very interesting; I had to read it twice!
So many great points to ponder.

Mandy:

It's good to read that viewers aren't the only ones to question the quick death of so many good (though not necessarily mainstream) shows when all that is required from the networks is some long term vision and patience rather than the instant gratification of seeing people tune into new shows and pray they stick around.

What they end up with instead of loyal viewers are people who have been burned too many times to care about investing their emotion on a show that won't see out the season.

Kay:

Thank you for saying what is on the minds of so many television viewers.

Suzanne:

Thank you Mr. Adalian for saying what has been on the minds of so many CBS viewers for the past few seasons.
All we are saying is give new shows a chance.

wpgrace:

You have really hit the nail on the head here. The networks want to whine that they are losing audience to the cable stations, but so much of what the nets offer is cookie cutter tv. The prodecurals are easy to turn on and off and you can miss a week without missing a beat, but after a few years, they are also easier to ignore altogether, frankly. We no longer watch L&O or CSI:whatever. Bored to death with them.

And while kudos to NBC for sticking with the Office and 30 Rock, all too often the nets do cancel anything new and different they try, after one season, without letting its audience naturally grow. Some of those you noted were favorites of ours, including The Class and Moonlight, and you didn't mention Joan of Arcadia, another wonderful CBS show that wasn't given an opportunity to find its audience.

NBC is now benefitting from its patience. And ABC has kept Eli Stone, although it didn't do as well as they had hoped. So maybe at least some of the execs are learning a lesson. For now, we are back to watching mostly cable...summer is great on cable and increasingly, so is the fall. Tho where on earth is Dennis Leary...

tagrhm:

Thank you for your article. CBS may have smart execs but they seem to be smart about the wrong things. They keep saying they know what we want to watch but they seem to be missing the target by miles. One of the shows they cancelled last May mentioned on your list was my absolute favorite. I actually felt like I had woken up and network TV had something to offer. It was an intelligent drama with romance, humor, a bit of mystery. Every week the writers took you in slightly different directions and I never guessed the end of the show in the first 10 minutes. I was absolutely enamored with the show. As a result, I tried other CBS fare, wanting to thank them for giving me a must see tv show. They then completely disappointed me by not only cancelling it but by making fun of the viewers (which included me) to the press. They continue to do it from time to time. Its like saying yeah we put out this product but now we don't can you believe those idiots that bought it? How in the world do they expect to continue to flourish treating their viewers in such a manner. First they dont have the fortitude to stand behind shows that had decent ratings w/o the hype and advertising of Swingtown but fight tooth and nail for shows that viewers have said sorry we dont want (aka Swingtown). I am not a Nielsen family, but I would like the industry to realize that I matter just as much, I buy the products of their advertisers, I talk to my friends about my favorite shows and networks, in the end I and the millions of others like me do affect their bottom line. Wake up big 5 talk to your viewers find out what they want, and give them the respect they deserve.

Ed:

Great article.

CBS must stick with The Big Bang Theory no matter what the ratings are. It is the best and funniest new sitcom in years. Let it keep growing. It is is excellent.

Terry:

Great article. I have realized after having my favorite show canceled just how huge a difference there is between a fan and a viewer. As a fan of a show I sit glued to the television including commercials because I don't want to miss a second of dialog. As a viewer I often turn it on and then go in the other room and sort of listen while I do something else. As a fan I certainly notice the embedded advertisers and give them my business. As a viewer I have no interest at all in what brand computers they use on the show or what car they drive. I totally miss all that. The networks might be wise to take note of real fans because fans beget more fans! Word of mouth is an amazing advertising tool.

Sandra :

Wonderful article! It seems the press is beginning to realize what we viewers have known all along. My history with network television has been spotty. I grew up in a home without TV and thus, as a young adult, didn't watch much of it. When I got married and had kids, it became background noise. Now that my kids are grown and I have time and money to watch TV, I find that I no longer 'count' (huh? advertisers don't want my money?) and, not only that, anything worth watching gets canceled almost immediately. Cable, internet, iTunes and Amazon, here I come!

ladyhawke_2006:

Finally, an INSIDER is saying publicly what we viewers have been getting trashed for saying. Thank you so much for being brave enough to speak the truth.
I actually watched two of the shows you mentioned that were cancelled without being given a fighting chance. As a result, I am now a more educated viewer. I am now aware of overnight ratings and where to find them. I now, personally contact advertisers when I like (and DO NOT like) a program they are supporting. I will no longer sit by, complacently, while decisions are are made regarding my viewing options.

Jo1027:

Thank you for the great article. You have stated what I feel to be the truth in regard to network television programming. The networks need to give shows with respectable ratings a chance to thrive. Either move them to another time slot or at the very least give them a second season to see if the ratings improve. Jumping from one show to another just leaves viewers frustrated as their favorite shows are cancelled without being given a chance.
I feel the Nielsen system is outdated and the networks need to look at other options for determining viewership of their shows. And I also take exception to their focus on the 18-49 demographic. As the population ages, that demographic no longer is viable as the people the networks should try to reach. The people who have disposable income are certainly not in that age group.
Again, thank you so much for your article.

Jackie:

Thank you, Mr. Adalian for your thoughtful article. Your observations are spot on. Networks must begin to realize that viewers take their entertainment very seriously. They invest their time and emotions into their favorite shows. The viewing audience deserves and will begin to demand that new shows are given a chance to succeed. If this change in thinking, on the part of networks, does not occur, the viewing audience will take their business elsewhere.

Patty:

I want to thank you for being honest about what is going on with network television. CBS has no regard for the viewer at all, and in doing so has lost a large number of viewers to cable. My family for one. I have heard it said that the amount of people they lose over canceling a show dosn't matter to them either, because they think they can pick up new viewers with a replacment show.
Well guess what, that isn't going to happen. The viewer has a larger variety of channels to watch now, and then there is the internet.
CBS had a show on last fall that drew me back to primetime from cable, and while whatching that show I discovered other shows on there network that I started watching. Well I lost a favorite show of mine resently, and I can tell CBS made a huge mistake with that one, because I went directly back to cable. I am just plain tired of Network TV. I can tell you I for one along with my extended family won't be returning.
CBS better wake up before it's to late!

mel9116:

I just wanted to thank you for your article. Everything you said is true. Fans of network television are starting to avoid watching new shows in fear that they will love the show and then the show will be canceled. I for one don't trust "The Big Five" to know what is good programming anymore.

evah:

"Thanks" for this refreshing article of "hitting the nail on the head"

I quote:“Sooner or later, the networks are going to have to begin making some decisions to keep shows on, even if it doesn’t seem to make any economic sense,” one senior executive told me last week. “We’ve got to break out of this quarter-to-quarter mindset.”


I'm afraid to invest in any new upcoming series on fear of cancellation before given fair chance.
CBS network especially needs to make better decisions.

SHARIEJD:

I LIKE YOUR ARTICLE SINCE IT WAS FAIR. BUT WHEN YOU SAID THAT CBS HAS VERY SMART EXECUTIVES. I GUESS THEY ARE FOR LIVING BRAIN DONERS!!! BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT CLUE OF WHAT FANS REALLY WANT, AND THEY DON'T SEEM TO CARE WHAT US VIEWERS WANT. WHEN THEY DUMP A PEOPLES CHOICE AWARD WINNER, AND MILLIONS OF FANS OF MOONLIGHT.

MOONLIGHT FAN 4 EVER

Ratch65:

A very good article. CBS should be more aware of what their audience wants and listen when they speak. Several shows would still be on if they did. Shows deserve a chance to prove that they can draw the numbers.

Jennifer:

I completely agree. It is very hard for shows to gain an audience with only one season - partially because we don't trust networks to support them enough to guarantee a second season. Why waste time and energy getting involved with a new show when it most likely is going to be canceled? I'm not a huge TV watcher. I can't stand the sitcoms, I detest reality shows and there are very few dramas that I find worth watching because most of them (especially on CBS) don't tell an ongoing story. I might enjoy some episodes but without an overreaching story arc there is nothing to draw me back in week after week.

I miss shows like "The West Wing". It was primarily character driven with intelligent humor and writing. And even that was a show I didn't start watching until the second season when the "Who got shot?" promos drew me in. TV really isn't good anymore because networks want formulaic Jerry Bruckheimer show than something that is new and different and needs some support. And that is probably why CBS has lost nearly 20% of its viewing audience - they refuse to take a risk and support new shows and instead rely on crime scene procedurals which are getting very old. I don't think we need a CSI on every night (Monday - CSI:Miami, Tuesday - NCIS, Wednesay - CSI: NY, Thursday - CSI: LV). Try something new and give me reason to think you won't cancel it and maybe I'll tune it again.

Kaity:

Well said!!! What baffles the mind is why CBS doesn't get it! They had a hit with a brand new Friday night show that was unique in its theme from the rest of the stuff they had on air and a loyal /rapid fan base that was continously growing. My family and I looked forward to Friday nights to come around, but no more. There is nothing on CBS right now or in the new season that will motivate me to tune in. Network Eexecutives need to get a clue. Start listening to the VIEWERS (not only Nielsen members) of what THEY want to watch - not what you THINK we want to watch and give new shows a season or two to gain its momentum!

Bob:

Great article! You hit it on the nail and I hope the TV network executives - CBS in particular, takes note!
I'm tired of all the reality/game shows and same theme dramas currently on air. It's refreshing when they put a new show on air that hooks you in, however gut wrenching when they cancel it after a few episodes like they did with my Friday night vampire. You loose viewers and very hard to get them back!

Network excutives need to put something on air for EVERYONE - not just for teenagers like WB is doing!

Faye:

Thank you for your excellent article. Thanks also to those networks who have given shows a chance to develop their audience. Given the current climate of early cancellation if numbers aren't high enough, I wonder if we would have ever seen a second season of a show like Mash? It is my understanding that Mash just made it into the top 50 the first year. And what about the XFiles? Fox certainly took a chance with that show 15 years ago when the XFiles didn't even make it into the top 100. Some shows that are now viewed as classics would never have had the opportunity to become the classics they are with the Executives currently at some networks. If network TV is to continue, shows must be given a chance.

Kathryn:

I know that the ADD, instant blockbuster or it's gone mentality has made me gunshy of any new Big Five shows. I must not be alone as I read article after article about declining viewership on network TV. It's not as if they have War and Peace waiting in the wings. Why not give shows with decent ratings a chance to grow instead of starting from zero again, expecting better. Especially this year, with the writers' strike, I'm surprised any promising shows were cancelled at all. The new fall lineups mentioned so far leave me---meh or downright turned off. This is the year I've really explored cable in earnest or turned the TV off.

Kathi:

Thank you for a such a pertinent article. It expresses what so many of us feel, too many shows are not given a chance. Anything "different" (not procedural)is looked over.
Look at all the shows canceled after one season in recent years; they are given one chance, hidden away, with no publicity. New Amsterdam, The Dresden Files, Moonlight, all go away with no comments or commitments from the networks; many don't even know they are gone.
In the past, shows were given a chance, time to grow, in particular, MASH comes to mind, but there are so many shows that were given a second season and more, even with lower ratings the first season.
Networks need to wake up and see what people really want, listen to their viewers, or they may not have them anymore.

Margot:

Thanks for the informative article. I've wondered about the merry-go-round of new shows, as well. I keep wondering why they are being sacrificed without being tweaked or moved and given another chance. I don't watch a lot of TV, but I do prefer drama--something with a plot. I did see three of the cancelled shows you mentioned that were on CBS, and the one I'll miss was one that could have helped it "evolve and attract new audiences" as you mentioned. I don't especially care for the vampire genre, but I still liked that show and so did my family. I watched Swingtown, but I wouldn't want my kids watching it. Thanks again for the article. I hope the networks do get some intestinal fortitude and break away from the crime formulas and reality based shows because I'm tired of them! I would like some fresh, quality shows that are then given a chance to acquire an audience.

Christy:

Terrific article.

Those networks need to break out of their bubble and realize that TV is just not the same anymore People are watching cable and shows online, hence the shrinking viewership. Also, TV viewers these days are on average, older. Young people, in that coveted demo, are playing video games and watching shows online. Also, people are busier today and record shows to watch later. They are also fast-forwarding through the commercials that way.

The Nielsen system it outdated and moot in today's society. Advertisers need to wake up as well and demand change to the system. Viewers are getting frustrated because their favorite shows don't get a chance to grow yet reality TV and game shows are taking over. Real life is difficult right now, I want an escape. Give me an amazing storyline with characters I care about and I will love your network FOREVER.

CBS has zero patience and it's turning viewers off in a BIG way. NBC is thinking outside the box with the Friday Night Lights situation. CBS is going to have to bust that bubble and get with the program.

Carol:

Thank you Mr. Adalian for stating the truth! Most of what is on network TV now had gotten old years ago. How many procedurals can a person watch? CBS in particular never seems to "get it". They dump quality shows that people love (Joan of Arcadia, Jerico, Moonlight), but try everything to save shows people don't want (Swingtown). You mentioned how CBS kept Big Brother despite the bad ratings. Could it be that is because the host of the show, Julie Chen, is MARRIED to Les Moonves??? Gee, I wonder. LOL Anyway, I am another viewer who has left network for cable. My time is valuable (a concept that the Big 5, especially CBS, don't get) and I do not wish to waste it on a show that will get pulled. Keep up the good and truthful work Mr. Adalian!!

kcferret:

Very well written article. It definitely speaks the minds of many of the viewers. Too frequently now we see a show come on, have a few episodes and then get canceled. It almost makes me personally not want to watch a show until I know that it is going to make it past the first season! I am sure I am not the only one there as well and what does that do? It kills off shows before they even get started.

moonlfan14:

Great article, Mr. Adalian. Thank you for saying
"out loud" what so many viewers have been saying and thinking for years. The Big Five do not have a clue, although I do praise NBC for doing something different, by saving Friday Night Lights and keeping 30 Rock and the Office on the air. I also have turned to cable, mostly USA and TNT. They actually keep their shows on the air for longer than 16 episodes! Imagine that. Fourteen shows I watched were cancelled this season. 14! I will never again watch a new show on the Big Five. They have already lost me as a viewer but since I don't have a Nielsen box, obviously I don't count.

Vivienne:

Spot on! The networks ask us for our time, which is precious, our money which is hard earned and then dismiss us and our opinions. Everyone has made excellent points. They also have to carefully check their demographics. The 18-49 years olds no longer "the demographic." As a 51 year old woman, I am overlooked and I don't like it! Faithful Moonlight fan and then I'm mocked? The cable networks have every right to be smiling. We are watching much more cable programing. Burn Notice is cool, Monk smart, Psych funny, In Plain Sight hot, and The Closer is engaging, thank you, for real entertainment. Thank you Mr. Adalian for speaking for millions of viewers.

Sam Damon:

"Swingtown" will die, not because it's a risqué show, but because it's a boring show.

Even so, the author is dead on target with the Eye's scheduling issues. Both "Love Monkey" and "Moonlight" could have used some help the Eye failed to provide. "Moonlight" in particular didn't receive a stitch of promotional help until burnoff time, which struck me as stranger than vampires.

Vivienne:

Spot on! The networks ask us for our time, which is precious, our money which is hard earned and then dismiss us and our opinions. Everyone has made excellent points. They also have to carefully check their demographics. The 18-49 years olds no longer "the demographic." As a 51 year old woman, I am overlooked and I don't like it! Faithful Moonlight fan and then I'm mocked? The cable networks have every right to be smiling. We are watching much more cable programing. Burn Notice is cool, Monk smart, Psych funny, In Plain Sight hot, and The Closer is engaging, thank you, for real entertainment. Thank you Mr. Adalian for speaking for millions of viewers.

Amyvil:

As a prime example of a network's insistence of ratings over quality, look no further than "Moonlight." Moonlight has a huge fan following. One which which could have only increased with a second season. It was beautifully written and acted, edgy, and had a very hot romance, but it was cancelled because of its low ratings (even though it had 8 million viewers) and did not adhere to CBS's insistence on strict crime procedurals.

What CBS failed to realize is that it had in its hands a show that was so much fun to watch, viewers watched it in real time. We also recorded it, downloaded it from iTunes and AmazonUnbox and right now we are eagerly anticipating its DVD release by putting it on Netflix queues and requesting that Amazon notify us when it's available so we can purchase it. How many shows you know have that avid a viewership? They had a gem in their hands and blew it.

Cable TV on the other hand recognizes quality shows and keeps them on the air, such as Mad Men, The Closer and Monk, all of which have garnered Emmy nomimations this year. Over the last couple of years, I have found myself watching more and more cable shows and less and less network shows. You have to hand it to Cable TV. They know quality TV when they see it and they keep their shows on the air. A lesson that the big Five have failed to learn.

Amy V.

realtor:

This is a very thought provoking and well written article that tackles what must be a very difficult subject for the networks.While much of their decisions are based on the competition they now have from cable,their choices are mystifying at best.I applaud NBC for standing behind the terrifc Friday Nite Lights, and partnering up with directv.The other networks might do well to consider this type of option short of just giving a show a chance.Several new shows I liked were cancelled this year,one on Friday's that you already mentioned,and I thought Journeyman had great story potential,but perhaps it was too intelligent for what the networks perceive as the average viewer(ex the reality shows for the mindless).This coming year I for one will not watch anything new on the big 5.If they give them a second season I'll tune in.

joan:

Big 5, please no more "reality" shows or prime time game shows! You have driven me to dvds for the summer. I have discovered Veronica Mars, which is great and I'm sorry I missed before. I, too, miss Moonlight and don't understand CBS at all. If you don't give new shows a fighting chance, what are you going to do when your old warhorses (CSI, et al) all die off at once?

Em:

Mr. Adalian you are so right! I am so tired of the boring crime scene procedurals, bad reality shows and nasty female centric dramedies produced by the big 5. Add in this year the insulting comments made by a CBS executive towards fans of Moonlight and cable has found its newest viewer. HBO has been ordered for my TV and I'm looking forward to the fall, network TV free. Please don't ask me to watch, cancel the show before its time, insult me because I listened to you and expect me to remain around so you can do it again. Once, shame on you, twice ... shame on me. This year, with the writers strike in the middle of the season perhaps the networks should have just taken a breath.

Candy:

Indeed, as you say, Moonlight was all wrong for CBS, because it lacked the ability to grow and help the network evolve. That explains its cancellation. Perhaps it should have gone to a niche cable network to begin with. It definitely lacked the quality writing and acting that is Mad Men's strength.
And I agree - Swingtown should have aired during regular TV season with much more aggressive promotion. It's just 10 times more innovative than Moonlight (or The Big Bang Theory for that matter).

Rae:

Thank you for your article. I am one of the millions that wish the executives would reconsider Moonlight. It was a great show that I could watch with my children. Anyone in the real world knows that mistakes are made. We are all human. With so many of CBS's shows falling short right now, I wish they would bring Moonlight back. There are millions of us out here just waiting to come back home to them. Moonlight won its hour and it will again if they bring it back. I for one will be at home in my seat ready for Moonlight no matter what time it comes on!

L:

Most of the shows that I do watch are on cable channels without commercials, like HBO or Showtime. The few network shows that I do watch, tape actually to watch when I can fast forward through the endless commercials, are on FOX or ABC. I have not watched a show on NBC in years. The one show that I did watch on CBS, Moonlight, was unbelievably cancelled. Moonlight was hands down one of the best shows they have ever put on and the one show that I would watch when it aired. Moonlight was the show that brought me back to CBS. So if Moonlight is gone, then I wont be watching CBS for anything else. It is so painfully obvious that the viewers don't matter to the networks. All they offer us to watch are reality shows that are so bad it is laughable and the same old, same old, that is well, BORING! If the networks were truly interesting in what the viewers wanted to watch, they would find a more updated and a more accurate way to really determine what the viewers are watching. If they were really interested in finding this out then the networks would stop relying on the totally ridiculous & antiquated system they now use. I personally don't think it very fair at all that a very small amount of viewers should speak for all of us. When I see the shows that are in this so called fair assessment of what was watched by the majority of households, I have to laugh. Many times, I have not watched one show that is on this list that were supposedly watched by so many. The networks I believe are afraid to find out what the viewers really think because then they would know that so many of us are truly fed up with the same old tired programming they are giving us to watch. I believe many are also very tired of finding a fantastic new show to watch, only to have it taken off and then be given the very lame excuse by TPTB, that it was not really watched by many, or that it did not really have that huge of a following and that the fans abandoned the show. CBS I no longer watch, I don't care what they put on, unless of course if they should realize their mistake and put Moonlight back on. As far as the two other networks, well, that remains to be seen, they are on a very short leash.

flmicklover:

Thank you for publishing this article. This needed to be discussed. I hope the executives of CBS understand they can't develop shows for a few months and then CANCEL it, because it doesn't fit into their personal regiment. Is it because they get more money for starting a show with the advertisers, than maintaining a show? In the case of Moonlight, I really would like the executives to speak to the viewers what factor determined this show HAD to be cancelled. Viewers? Well it had at least 8 million with little promotion and a writers strike. Awards? It won it's first award by being voted as the number one people choice awards for 2008. Advertisement? No problem. Did they get some mail from organizations that this wasn't fitting into their religious beliefs? Well, that probably could be said for more than one of their shows. I personally had family time with my teenage daughters with this show, and loved our hourly discussion. If you get a chance, please ask these executives what would it take to bring Moonlight back. Moonlight has the positive attributes, and the fans just can't understand what variable was the deciding factor. If they want more fans, say 11 million, I am sure Moonlight fans will spread the word, and show them, that yes, we are out there. Thank you once again for this article.

joanne:

thank you for the great article. yes t.v. stations do not give shows a chance to develop.cbs had a great chance with moonlight.it was the winner of the peoples choice awards. cbs hardly promoted it, then canceled it. how can you cancel a show with 8 million or more viewers. it had a little bit of the detective stuff,but had beautiful stories.it had a great noir style,great actors. plus does cbs know vampires are the new hot craze. why waste money on new shows when people enjoy the old stuff.i don't understand this age stuff either if you have 8 million people what difference the age they all have money to spend. thanks again for a really great article.

Lisa Tarvin:

You are so right. I think a lot of our eyes are opened after what happened to Moonlight and Jericho. When a show wins the People's Choice award then maybe execs need to listen to the people. I will not be watching CBS and you know what? I'm not missing anything and my family agrees.

stormey:

Very well written article. It is frustrating when a People's Choice award winning show like Moonlight is cancelled, and not even given a chance to attract even more viewers than it had. I read posts everyday from people all over the world just seeing this new and wonderful show, and just loving it. I'm tired of CBS not listening to it's viewers, and cancelling shows without giving them a chance. I won't watch anything on that network in fear that it will be cancelled. I have better things to do than get hooked again on a new show, and have it cancelled before it even gets out of the gate. One thing I know, is that you don't dish your viewers and make comments about them. That is a sure way to lose them. I hope the other networks don't make the same mistake, because I do enjoy the variety of shows on the networks, but do not appreciate being looked down on because I'm not in that demographic age of 18-49. They are throwing away a large amount of viewers by following the outdated Nielsen method, and their age limit rule of thumb.

chinabug:

I truly enjoyed your article. Sadly, any more the Big Five can best be depicted as sinking ships considering the way their viewers are jumping ship and swimming to Cable TV. I will give credit to two of the Big Five who were willing to give some of their fledgling shows a second season and a chance to grow. One most definitely did not and their fall line up doesn't look at all promising for them either. They are so completely out of touch with what viewers want, I wouldn't be surprised to learn the Big Five became the Big Four sometime in the near future. Thanks again for hitting the nail right on the head.

Stephen:

I want to add my thanks for your article and hope that someone who has authority takes notice of what you point out. I've watched less and less network television in the past few years because of its evident decline in quality. Comedy shows seem to be based on sex, reality shows on back stabbing, and game shows on hype. I've had to endure the grief of several of my favorite shows, i.e., John Doe, E-Ring, Moonlight, Joan of Arcadia, Jericho, being cancelled to make room for one of the inane time-wasters of network broadcasting. These days I simply turn to the internet for whatever quality is out there. After all, I'm the end consumer.

ewt:

Thank you so much for the excellent article. It is time for the Big 5 to come to the realization (something cable has already done) that today's viewer is more sophisticated in their choices. And yes, there are a good majority of us who are deemed too old to be in the only demographic that is supposed to matter. Wake up Big 5 ~~ drama is supposed to inspire our imaginations and feed our emotions - not just bludgeon our psyche with reality trash and blatant sex and violence. How sad it has come to this... I guess my viewing will be on cable (at least they stick with their shows)

sheila:

I agree with all of you. the eye says that they will gain viewers back with new shows, doubtful.
If you think of all the people that watched Shark 10 million,Moonlight 8 million, Jericho 6 million,and millions of other viewers of other shows they have angered from this last season that don't want to watch cbs anymore, you add all of them together and get, what,24 million + disgruntaled viewers that don't want to watch cbs or the other of the big 5(a lot of viewers) anymore and some have even blocked cbs and others of the big 5 out,This shouldn't have to happen to get the big 5 to listen to the viewers.
To add insult to injury nina tassler has been reported to say that the Moonlight fans didn't like Moonlight as a show that it was certain actors that they liked.
Look at Grey's Anatomy,same thing they love certain actors,no sin in that is there.?
Why do you think people tune into any of the shows, it's the actors that bring there characters to life,that we love to watch,these actors aren't like that in real life,so as a whole we loved the show and the characters in the shows,they are who you fall in love with on any show on any network.
WAKE UP BIG 5 YOUR ON THE DOWN HILL SLIDE and the only thing at the bottom is a bunch of hard ground to break your fall,ESPECIALLY cbs.
Thank you for this article,very well written.

xerxes:

Is it possible that CBS is trying to position itself as the Cop Show Network for business reasons? Is it possible the advertisers are encouraging that strategic direction, given P & G's decision? I disagree entirely with all comments made previously deeming the quality of Swingtown as mediocre. It has hit a cord and brought back a lot of viewers to CBS and hit a whole new demographic than those same people attracted to cop shows and reality shows. I'm entirely perplexed that the 'so called' pundits have missed this point entirely, and have not raised alarms about companies like P & G openly attempting to influence programming. Since when does the ad department run programming, or is this the NEW America since the arrival of the PTC? If the programming department isn't independent, then how can we trust the pundits, hm?

jand:

Thoughtful interesting article. The main networks seem to miss the point - give viewers time to grow into a show. Viewers start to see little point in following a series only to find it cancelled. Moonlight is such a example. It should have been given more time to develop and grow and surely 8 million viwers plus many many international fans was a amazing start.Seems the networks have their own agendas and this does not include giving their viewers what they want.

Becky:

Great article! Thanks for the interesting point of view.

I am a fan of Moonlight and was very disappointed in CBS' decision to cancel the show. Moonlight faced many challenges of which included the writers strike, showrunner changes and other changes on the set but consistently won the Friday 9pm time slot. The show also won the Peoples Choice Award and has garnered an extremely growing, loyal fan base. All indications were CBS was poised to pick up the show for a 2nd season but did a complete 360 when they canceled the show. This left the cast and fans in complete shock. Bottom line is they had a winner with this show but it was different than their typical procedural shows and CBS wasn't comfortable with this. They wanted more than just winning the Friday 9pm death slot. They did not listen to their customers (the audience) when we were overjoyed to have something fresh and different.

Swingtown doesn't interest me because it has a soap style of drama feel to me and it is promoting a lifestyle that I do not agree with. However, I do think networks need to give shows a chance to succeed. Sometimes it takes shows several weeks to find their niche audience and hit their stride. I also think the current ratings system is way out of date and definitely due for a revamping. The Nielsen rating system in no way accurately reflects how well a show is performing.

Thank you again for this terrific article! I only hope the Big Five (especially CBS) are listening.

LadyKitty:

This was a wonderful article Mr. Adalian, thank you so much for it. CBS screwed up when they cancelled "Moonlight"...that's why viewers are heading to cable channels. They didn't give the series a chance, which is why lots of fans are hoping that Joel Silver will be able to find another network (preferably cable, where there won't be any restrictions) to pick the series up. BUT with a pending actors strike on the horizon, there's no tellin WHAT will happen in the future. Moonlight isn't dead, it's too good a product. I know we'll see it again!

Sue:

Thank you, Mr. Adalian, for your intelligent article. The "Big Five" will not be very big if they don't start listening to their viewers and giving them what they want. Too many times I have grown fond of a show, only to have it disappear before it had a chance to prove what it could do. You think networks are afraid to come forth with truly original programming, as perhaps "Swingtown" may be, and certainly "Moonlight" was. Networks who continue to put out programs which lack originality will founder. Unless they muster the courage to not only put out new and excellent programming, but to stand behind it for more than half a season, viewers will keep going the way they are going--over to the the cable and premium channels. We fans/viewers are tired of the same old same old served up with a new host or a different name. A bunch of people locked in a house for several weeks just cannot ever be "fresh" again! Neither can people stranded on islands or people answering trivia questions. We need GREAT shows, as "Moonlight" was, with its "noir" style of filming, cutting edge storylines and vampires and forbidden romance to boot! Now THAT was truly something different--a People's Choice winner! We viewers want new and edgy, not re-worked! As for now--I'm pretty much done with "network tv." It has nothing fresh to offer, and with the "Big Five," FRESH IS NEVER KEPT LONG ENOUGH TO REACH THE EXPIRATION DATE!

Angie:

I love the "Big Bang Theory" and Im so glad they kept it on. Its different and very funny.

I miss my other fav. show Moonlight and don't watch TV on Friday nights as Swingtown is just lame to anyone who's been through the 70's.

I think your so right about networks biting the bullet and at least saying with one show even if its not making money. They need to commit to a course and say "we are CBS and we do something else other than have re-runs of CSI on" (do they have much else?).

I have now signed up for Showtime/HBO and the like. The buzz around their shows like "Tudors, Dexter, Secret Diary of a call girl and HBO's Generation Kill, True Blood, In Treatment, make me think that these this will make TV enjoyable again.

I think the TV network execs. have picked a poor schedule for CBS in the fall in places. There is one show Im interested in and thats the Mentalist.

Marie:

Thank you! Well and intelligently written!

Canceling loved series after only one season is just a downward-spiraling, self-fulfilling prophecy - fewer viewers will risk getting involved in the next season's new series for fear their next favorite enjoyable series will be canceled as well. End result: new series' receive less and less support and are snatched off the air, resulting in less support for the next season's new series, and on, and on...

If the entertainment industry - Network & non-Network - want us, they need to:
1) Air things we'll actually enjoy watching - quality entertainment that's worth us using our limited time to watch, and

2) LISTEN to the viewers when they find what they like, whether the 'ratings' reflect that or not. Websites get feedback. Listen to it. You think viewers LIKE campaigning for a lost series? Some might; most are just trying to stand up for what they like and be heard.

Viewers now have choices and don't have to sit and be force-fed substandard entertainment nor do we have to continue supporting a Network or Channel - or their sponsors - that ignore their viewers.

Margaret Ladolcetta:

You are so right about the some of the networks not giving quality shows a chance to grow and have their audience increase. I am so happy that NBC is trying to keep "Friday Night Lights" which I started watching the very first season and thought was wonderful. I got quite a few people interested and watching it. Now I can't believe CBS cancelled "Moonlight" which I think is the best thing to have happened on TV in years. This show is totally amazing and has a large devoted audience who came back even after months of waiting after the writers' strike. It was not heavily promoted considering it was a new show yet after the first 12 episodes before the strike made such an impact. CBS totally missed it on this show. It was only getting better and bigger. My daughter discovered it on the internet when she was spending a semester in Ireland and loved it also. So many have just found it on the internet and don't even realize it was cancelled. I still hope CBS or some network will realize what a treasure this show is. I know JAG was picked up after 1 year on NBC and ran for so many on CBS. There have been so many shows I loved which were not given a chance such as Joan of Arcadia, Amercican Dream and quite some time ago Homefront. All great shows that should have continued for many years. It has gotten to the point I don't want to invest my time and interest and then be so disappointed to have a show cancelled without giving it a chance which is what happened to "Moonlight". It is just too good to lose.

Pat:

Thank you for a great article that points out the hazards of getting mired in formulaic programming and not giving promising shows a chance to build audience.

Like so many others who've posted responses here, I was a big fan of the CBS series "Moonlight." I still can't understand why on earth a network would cancel a series that was consistently winning its time slot. Then there's the fact that "Moonlight" won the People's Choice Award for Best New Drama--something that SHOULD have given CBS some idea of the series' popularity.

CBS' swift cancellation of "Moonlight" has soured me on getting involved with any new network series in the future. Why waste all that time and emotional energy on a promising new show only to end up disappointed when it's dropped after a handful of episodes? I've given up on watching CBS, not only because it canceled "Moonlight" but because the head of its entertainment division has made public comments that reflect a lack of respect for the show's viewers (apparently, said exec isn't aware that viewers are the networks' raison d'etre) and that demonstrate a real lack of understanding of the considerable fan momentum behind the series. I'm not interested in supporting any company that has so little regard for its customers.

The broadcast networks need to stop relying so heavily on the Nielsen ratings system; clearly, the Nielsens aren't an accurate reflection of audience size. Programming execs need to start giving more weight to the feedback they receive directly from viewers via e-mail, letters and phone calls--and they need to develop some patience and give shows with potential a chance to grow. Last but not least, they need to get out of their rut and give us poor, beleaguered viewers something better than trite sitcoms, look-alike police procedurals and reality shows that scrape the bottom of the barrel for content. If these networks don't wake up and make some changes soon, they'll wind up becoming the dinosaurs of the television industry.

I'm very glad that I have cable these days!

Donna:

The men in suits need to back shows with potential even if the numbers arn't all they should be after one season.

It takes time to build up a following and for people to appreciate a show. I also have issue with always going for the big numbers. I think there is a place on mainstream TV for "niche" shows. Quirky offerings that are sold into non primetime slots. Shows which the network can develop and build unique material.

Always going for the BIGGEST is a losing formula as it leaves in the dust great "little blue engine" shows that will a little bit of belief and a whole lot of commitment could become the next big thing.

LW:

Great article, finally a voice of intelligence about the state of network TV.
ABC and NBC are more willing to give shows a decent chance of building an audience. But I've noticed, as merely a viewer, that CBS the past few years is the one who backs a show for maybe one season then cancels it outright then throws something else on for a few weeks. Makes one head spin!
Examples that I watched and wished were given a decent chance was Shark, Moonlight and Jericho. Especially Shark, it was so clever and fast paced. Too fast for CBS I guess, next thing I knew it was gone!
The Nielsen thing is so out-dated for today's high tech world, even grannies watch shows online now.
The Nielsen numbers only scratch the surface.
Sponsors need to take heed.

OlWolf:

I loved your article, and hope the Big 5 read it and take it to heart! They've made me so cynical with their behavior, that I truly believe they don't care what the viewer wants and see us as Cattle - just toss any old thing in our feed-bunker and we'll eat it! I'm insulted by the recent remarks of one TV executive, and I don't usually get offended easily. Since her viewers have migrated elsewhere since her decision to cancel certain shows that viewers loved - I wondered why she thought offending them would draw them back? I know if I said things like that about my customers, I wouldn't have a job!

But I'll tell you that I'm one who has to read a book from the beginning, or catch a movie from the start - or I don't catch what's going on in the Story. This poses a problem with new series on network TV, because if I catch a series from the first episode and love it enough to stay for every one - every time... then there's a good chance that it'll be cancelled in a few months! If I wait for the second season - like some here have suggested - I can't figure what's going on in the story with episode 2.01 and don't have any interest in it. I think with the writers' strike making an unaturally short season - they should have left new series alone and let them make up the time in a second season.

I've twice before, gotten so disgusted with modern programming trends, that I'd shut of my TV for five-year stretches. I'm looking at doing that again, seeing as the show I loved above all of 'em was cancelled by CBS, and the stuff they have scheduled this summer and for fall - well I think the stuff stinks! My TV's been OFF since mid-May, so I can guess how much commercial-time I'll view in this manner. That has to cut into the network's wallet.

This network that's been missing that large number of viewers this summer... I wonder if that problem they're having would be fixed by reinstating the sure Winner they had last season - the one they dropped that caused all those viewers to leave? Maybe that would draw them back. And wouldn't it be cheaper to keep something that's good and growing for two years, rather than tossing shows out and starting new stuff every 4 months? I just wish I understood how this stuff works! It just seems to me that if you want to keep people around - you should give them stuff they want! I don't know why that's hard for Big-5 executives to figure out!

Dorothy:

Thank you so much for pointing out what's wrong with network televison these days. Yes, I'm one of those grannies that watch shows on the internet but you won't find me on any of the demographics. At 81,I fell off years ago.I come from a generation where families gathered around the radio to listen to "I Love a Mystery", raised a generation that watched television sit-coms together like "All in the Family"and now I sadly watch this younger generation go out the door to find better things to do while their parents turn to cable or tune out altogether.Then last season I found my family had come home again for one hour at least on Friday night. They even came to Grandma's house because they knew her television sets (all 3) could be tuned to their favorite show, there was room for everyone (I have a very big family) and they could find their favorite snacks while everyone sat around and talked about the show.But all too soon it is back to cable, video games and pub dates on Friday because the lights went out on Moonlight. Reality shows, procedurals and sex-driven dramas won't accomplish what just one good fantasy romance did and that is sad.Wake up, CBS.

Karen:

I couldn't agree more with your analysis of network TV. I grew up watching and loving TV and that habit stayed with me as an adult. But since I'm tired of the same old clones of clones and I DETEST reality TV I find most of my time in front of the TV spent with the remote in hand mindlessly switching channels. Last season, while channel surfing, I found a show that was different then anything I'd seen before and I really enjoyed it and looked forward to watching it every week. Unfortunately, it was on CBS, and though it had a devoted fan base it only had OK ratings and it was canceled.

I've learned many things from this experience. None of them bode well for network TV. I've realized that I like drama and romance and character driven plots, which are not on the networks but appear to be on cable, so I'm seriously considering becoming a subscriber. I've learned that for me turning on the TV was just habit, and habits, even ingrained ones, can be broken. (I've not watched TV since June.) I've learned that the networks may be willing to try new things but if they aren't immediate hits they dump them quickly. I've learned that I'm a nontraditional viewer, in that I like the different stuff, so my favorites keep getting dumped. Now I've decided not to look at any of the new shows this fall. If they survive the first year, I can always check out the first season on DVD and then start watching the second season. And lastly I've learned that CBS especially doesn't value me as a viewer, and for the foreseeable future CBS will not be turned on in my house.

Becky2:

I love "The Office", "30-Rock", and therefore appreciate NBC for having the foresight to keep such excellent but relatively low-rated shows going. Bravo NBC. Not interested in ABC for some reason.
I no longer watch CBS because they cancelled "Moonlight". That show single handedly brought my viewing interest back to checking out network tv - until CBS inexplicably tossed it.
Otherwise, we are faithful cables viewers in my household. Network TV is simply too corporate and bland (except for the NBC shows noted above).
Being "edgy" doesn't necessary mean adding more sex or explicit language (think "Swingtown") but it does imply having the courage to try out and support quirky, genre type series (Moonlight, New Amsterdam, Jericho)

Reen:

Thanks for the interesting article. As a fan of a few recently cancelled shows, Moonlight in particular, I share the sentiments of many posters. CBS really needs to start thinking outside of the box - that imaginary Nielsen box. There are very few shows airing in fall 2008 that I will be watching, and most of those are the shows I have followed religiously for years. None of which will be on CBS. The thing that some of these network honchos don't get is that a "fan" of a show will follow that show whenever or where ever it is aired. That includes standard schedule TV, cable, satellite, ipod, internet, DVD, etc. This strike-addled season should have shown them that the viewers aren't happy with the games being played and we will seek our entertainment wherever we deem it to be. Being told WHAT we will watch and when is unacceptable. One network executive has even explained to the press WHY we watch a certain show, in the last of many attempts to justify her cancelling said show. (Yes, Nina Tassler, I'm talking about you.)

I think it would be great if the networks would follow the cable model. There is something to be said for showing all of a show's episodes back to back (with re-airings at a later time), rather than dragging out a season from September to May. And from what I have read and heard about this year's upfronts, the advertisers seem to be responding favorably to cable TV. HBO, Showtime, FX, TNT, USA, SciFI, and now A&E all have the right idea. By offering MORE shows and keeping them on the same or similar schedule, the viewer would know when that show was coming on. Rescue Me in the summer. Nip/Tuck in the fall. The Shield in late winter. Etc. Granted, the writer's strike has messed this all up for 2008, but, the idea is a good one. This way, there is room for networks to try these shows out, give them a couple of shortened seasons (say 2 13 episode seasons), and get new viewers. And there would be MORE choices for the viewer, who after all is the end customer. To outright cancel a show with a sizable following or move it to an undesirable timeslot to kill it, just seems counterproductive. Especially if these shows have a vocal and supportive fanbase like Moonlight, Jericho, and Friday Night Lights. These are all shows with quality and imagination, yet, FNL is the only one coming back next season. Is it coincidence that it is on NBC? Not likely. CBS has gotten so much bad press lately for programming decisions, it almost seems karmic. But I won't be around to see what happens with their new shows in the fall, I'll be watching cable.

Pam:

The current system for evaluating quality programming is so outdated it's pathetic. I'm a viable consumer, with disposable income. I don't watch CBS anymore since everytime I get interested in one of their shows, they remove it before it has a chance to blossom. I'll stick with the networks that gives shows I like a chance. "NBC renewed 'The Office' and '30 Rock' even though both shows barely had pulses after their first seasons." Moonlight, for example, not only had a pulse, it had a strong fan base, but CBS decided a show about 70s swingers that sleep around, smoke grass and do drugs was a much more profitable show. That's frightening to me. And very sad.

Tawny:

Thank you for the info. I don't understand TPTB @ CBS for canceling what IMHO was the best show on TV. That being Moonlight ofcourse! Myself and millions of fans could not wait for Fridays to get here so that we could see Mick and the gang. I was and still am so disappointed the it has been canceled. I have not watched CBS since June. I was never a huge fan of GW but started watching as a lead into Moonlight. I will no longer watch GW or support any other show on CBS. Back to TLC's Not What to Wear with Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. Bring back Moonlight. Any network - any time!!

Sharon:

I totally agree with your article and yes, CBS does have smart executive but they make dumb decisions especially thinking only about the 18-49 year olds. I am 60 and my family and I loved
"moonlight". It had 8 million viewers usually of all ages and a Peoples Choice Award Winner after only a few ep. "Moonlight" had such great actors who really got into their charactres and the writers had great storylines which left us barely
able to wait until the next Friday night. There were so many areas the writers could have written about such as: the past of each character, Mick's ring and necklace, etc. They didn't give it a chance or run reruns during the writer's strike to gain new viewers. Now there seems to be several new shows and books coming ooming out about vampires. I don't watch the regular networks much anymore because I am tired of reality shows and if you get crazy over a show, the network cancels it. Thanks!

Flora:

Thank you Mr.Adalian fo such an accurate review of what is going on people's minds about TV, these days.
I live in Portugal, a very small european country, and our TV tradition is changing each day!!!
What's in this for me, you may ask, but let me tell you that although we don't have the same policy as you have, on listening the viewers by creating message boards for people's favourite shows, as well as polls to vot and fairly confront other fans, we became awre long time ago that the future belongs to cable TV.
Networks can't deal anymore with viewers likes and dislikes! We are used (swamped is the real term) to watch a lot of shows from english/american origin and, with only 3 networks, about 85% of portuguese viewers are turning into cable, being Portugal already a study case in Europe. People in charge at the networks are noticing that we no longer scream about advertisment being too much or about how bad some shows are (mainly reality shows), they know that we prefer to pay to have the possibility to choose want we want. We definetely know how to switch the TV button and look for cable networks that give us what we want, without asking why! Viewers have a choice!! Why should we be confronted with their lobbys and commitments towards their comercial interests? I became awere of this article since I love Moonlight, one of the shows that are being mentioned in your article, this show is one of my favourite shows in many years and because of how much I liked it I commited myself to look forward about new episodes, news about the cast, crew and producers. I became more aware of what TV is. Suddendly the show is cancelled.!!!!!! We've been fighting hard for our show but I have realized in the last few months that we no longuer are in this battle to get a 2nd season, we are here to win the chance of having QUALITY TV in our homes, for us but also for our children!!! Thank you, once again, for allowing me, and everyone else, to share our opinions but above all you have given us an unique moment to meditate and stand for what we believe.
Obrigada,
Flora

Noreen Marshall:

Moonlight was the very best TV show that has aired in a long time. Moonlight was full of romance, adventure & thrills - everything a person would want in a weekly TV show. I was very disappointed when I found out CBS was going to cancel Moonlight - I felt than & still feel CBS made a bad decision in the cancellation of Moonlight. As for Nina Tassler & her recent comments about no one really liking the show, just the actors I have to say "GET REAL NINA" - Moonlight was a show that was coming on strong & was drawing in more viewers each week but CBS never gave Moonlight the chance it deserved. I have since stopped watching CBS all most all together because the shows they are airing or plan to air are not worth my time to watch. When CBS had a good show like Moonlight with a great story line not to mention a great cast of actors they didn't have enough brains to realize it & give Moonlight the chance it deserved. But now with Nina Tassler saying what she is saying about Moonlight, CBS will more than likely lost more viewers. It is clear to me as I am sure it is clear to others too CBS doesn't care what the viewers want!!!! And for those of you people who did not like Moonlight I have a super suggestion - turn the station - don't watch the show & keep your comments to yourself!!!! Not everyone is going to like every show that is on TV but if you don't like a show than simply don't watch it. But do keep the negative comments to yourselves. I AM A FAN OF MOONLIGHT & I WILL ALWAYS BE - Moonlight should be given the second season it deserves!!!! MOONLIGHT WAS THE BEST SHOW CBS EVER AIRED - I cannot wait to buy that first season on DVD as soon as it comes out.

Mary:

I am so angry about the crap Nina Tassler is saying about the fans of Moonlight that I could scream!! If Nina Tassler actually grew a brain she might realize the fans loved Moonlight for so many reasons, the romance, the story line, the adventure - everything about the show, NOT JUST THE ACTORS!! Of course no one is saying the actors (all of which were so gorgeous) weren't part of the reason so many watched Moonlight but the show itself was worth watching. I have not been watching much on CBS since they decided to cancel Moonlight but after reading the crap Nina Tassler is saying I am for sure never watching CBS again - I don't need to watch a station that loves to insult me. AND BY THE WAY I AM 56 YEARS OLD & LOVED MOONLIGHT - so I guess the Nielsen ratings suck!! And not only does Nina Tassler need to grow a brain so does the Executives of CBS - Moonlight won the People Choice Award or did you miss that fact!!

Ellen:

AMAZING is all I can say - I cannot believe Nina Tassler thinks insulting the fans will bring them back to CBS! I hate to bust your bubble Nina Tassler but you have more than likely lost even more viewers for CBS with your comments about the fans of Moonlight. I have never been so angry with any station as I am with CBS & with you! How dare you Nina Tassler treat 8 million loyal fans of Moonlight so rudely. I want you to know I will boycott CBS for now on - so are all of my friends (who by the way were all hugh fans of Moonlight). You Nina Tassler need to be fired, maybe with you gone along with a few mindless executives that haven't got enough sense to make good decisions CBS might be able to recover & get the viewers back. But the first thing CBS needs to do to restore the viewers opinion of them is TO BRING MOONLIGHT BACK & GIVE IT THE SECOND SEASON IT DESERVES! As for you Nina Tassler I advise you to keep your mouth shut & your negative comments about the fans to yourself - your foot cannot get down your throat any further before you choke!

JanetH:

A very interesting article but if I may comment,I have a hard time associating “Swingtown” with the phrase “. . . quality shows.”
You mention that CBS should be “supporting the kinds of shows that could help it evolve its brand and attract new audiences.” I agree, they have been complacent in keeping to the path of least resistance - the easy way - and they do sacrifice opportunity for growth in doing so. Not to mention the reputation they have earned for being unsupportive, and quick on the draw for cancelations (unless, of course, we are talking about a spin off from one of their plethora of CSI clones.)
But I disagree with your statement, “With “Swingtown,” CBS has found another possible summer staple—not to mention a golden chance to start evolving beyond its reputation as the crimesolvers channel.” I believe they HAD excellent choices for summertime shows in their existing line up, but for whatever reason they chose to dump those programs and plug in this new grab-their-attention program. The logic of the placement within their current schedule is baffling to me. It makes me wonder of they have perhaps lost touch with their viewers. As you point out, there are lots of other channels to choose from, with new and intelligent programing choices.
[Finger on the pulse of your customers, CBS. Come down to the ground floor sometime to see what everybody is watching BEFORE you pull the plug!]

vanessa:

I think you hit the nail on the head. While networks such as CBS continue to chase short-term ratings at the expense of viewer loyalty they will keep losing viewers to cable. I know they have lost me and I am in the key demographic they supposedly want - affluent 25-40 demo with dual disposable income. I am tired of becoming invested in shows which are pushed and advertised, only to have them yanked without so much as a 'sorry about that'. Why watch anything new? Why involve yourself in characters which you may not see again next week because some 'exec' has decided they are not 'performing' to the standard of some ridiculous mandate in the shortest timeframe possible? It's time to nurture chosen shows, let them find an audience and watch viewer loyalty grow. As for the CSI formulas, reality TV etc? Bored to death of all of it.

bgcf:

Thank you. Finally someone in the industry giving voice to what the public has known all along....We live in an "instant gratification" world, so I suppose it is no surprise CBS's management believes in "instant hit". However, just as we must percevere in life to achieve greatness, so the CBS must allow worthwhile shows to find their place and viewership. I also believe they have a habit of beating an idea to death- 3 CSI's? and the story lines are getting pretty desperate. Try something fresh, different, and give it a chance! I am so tired of the same old offerings, I have stopped watching network TV, and only watch about 1 hour of non-news cable per week! Advertisers would be well advised to support new promising shows if they want anyone to see their product.

Charlotte:

I have found this article a little late, but I totally agree with it. I am really enjoying Swingtown and completely disagree with people commenting that it is boring or too risque. If you took the time to watch the show you would see that it is about more than swinging. It is character driven and addresses sexism, socio-economic issues and the sexual revolution of women. It also happens to be about family. Despite saying otherwise, some of these comments illustrate the very reason these shows fail. People don't seem to have the attention span to watch, or the desire to analyze, a character driven show. Something like Moonlight is, frankly, the same old, same old; nothing new about a vampire show.

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