TV Writer Warns of ‘Dumbing-Down’ Effect on Television From Growth of Google TV and Similar Services

Jan 7, 2011  •  Post A Comment

With this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas showcasing high-tech tweaks on the TV model such as Google TV, veteran industry reporter Tim Goodman, writing in The Hollywood Reporter, warns that the changes that are on the way for television could have unintended consequences.

Among those consequences, Goodman writes, is the possible “dumbing down” of the medium as television content evolves to match the needs of multitasking users aided by killer apps such as the new “dual-view” feature–the picture-in-picture of the future.

Goodman writes: “The dual-view feature combines what a lot of people are already doing–surfing the Web or texting while watching TV–but makes it a whole lot easier. It might be the tipping point toward the death of subtlety and dense, intelligent television.”

Goodman makes the case that the new technology–and more to the point, the ever-shrinking collective attention span it serves–is the enemy of good television.

“How long before the networks start sending notes to showrunners saying a joke is too complicated or a scene too long?” he writes. “We used to blog. Now we tweet. Only parents text in full sentences. But there was a time when people just sat and watched television. Not all of it required full attention, but a lot of the best shows these days certainly do. So what happens when your script doesn’t get picked up because it’s too smart? Cut the nuance–leave some room for people to check their e-mail.”


  1. No need to worry. There are plenty of Jersey Shores and Hollywood Housewives to allow for doing email.

  2. “Nuance” is a code word used by people who believe they are smarter than everybody else, except maybe their inner circle of effete snobs.

  3. “So what happens when your script doesn’t get picked up because it’s too smart?”
    It gets canceled. Ask the folks at “Medium”.

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