Attack of Mustn’t-See-TV: Network executives lose viewers by dumbing-down programming

Dear TV Network Execs,

There are forces lurking. Plans are being made and executed. Soon, you will see advertisement dollars dry up as your ratings plummet.

No, the Apocalypse isn’t imminent-yet.

The fact is, people have plenty of reasons to follow the advice of libraries and cultural elitists everywhere and turn off the boob tube.

No, I’m not talking about the frightening decline of reading in this country. Nor am I upset about the fact that Americans now resemble Jell-O Pudding more than human beings. (Being a fatty myself, I was elated last month when I heard that overweight people are likely to live longer than those infuriatingly “fit” people. Take that, gym rats!)

No, my warning is this: If you keep putting boring, repetitive, unimaginative drivel on TV, we will stop watching. Or worse, we’ll only watch cable.

The lack of quality network television options has been obvious in recent years, but in the new millennium, it has become more glaring than ever.

Glorified karaoke contests. Manipulated backstabbing. People eating things best left in the ground. Reality television is revolting.

Trust me folks, it’s much more entertaining when it’s fictional. It just has to be done right.

If you want to hit the reasonably-smart-people demographic, or the upwardly-mobile-college-student demographic, you’ve got to kick it up a notch.

I shudder to think that you dimwit executives at FOX nearly canceled the funniest show on television-network or elsewhere.

“Arrested Development” is the kind of show that doesn’t come around very often -razor-sharp wit so edgy it makes you blush. It’s a disgrace that it came so close to being canceled.

Do you talking suits even watch the shows you approve? Pamela Anderson as a bookstore clerk? I can just imagine the potential in character development and story arcs with that one.

More cop shows, perhaps? With innovative angels like-a blind detective! And mathematicians solving crimes using … math!

What’s next? A group of Relief Society members solving crimes by using clues they find in the quilts they tie?

All the while, the best television on air resides in the nether regions of cable programming. HBO has become so self-laudatory it makes me sick.

But you know what? HBO is right to gloat. All you network honchos passed on the biggest show of the last decade-a little drama involving overweight mobsters and their big-haired women.

Not to mention that HBO has other great comedies and dramas that can’t be touched by almost anything on standard TV, notably “Deadwood” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” USA Network has “Monk.” F/X has the much-praised “Nip/Tuck.”

Please, I beg you, once-wise network executives-give us a break. Schedule some quality programming. We want characters who are real, drama that hurts, comedy that goes beyond mild lines exclaimed with put-upon zest like, “Don’t go there!”

Give us a break, we’re smart people. If you do, I might just start watching network television again.


A Concerned Television Junkie

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