Free ContentFor Members Only
Home > MyersBizNet Media Business Report > Television Viewers Won't Feel Impact from WGA Strike

Television Viewers Won't Feel Impact from WGA Strike

November 29, 2007

Published: November 29, 2007 at 12:42 PM GMT
Last Updated: November 30, 2007 at 12:42 PM GMT

Any day now we are going to begin reading stories about how the public is finally going to feel the impact of the WGA strike. The general consensus has been that those ruinous reruns would start appearing immediately following the November sweeps (which ended yesterday), signaling to one and all that the networks were out of fresh product and ushering in a prolonged period of lean television choices.

But this is only partly true. The broadcasters next week will still be on a roll with dynamic original offerings, including the breathlessly anticipated destruction of Wisteria Lane by a tornado on Desperate Housewives and the long-awaited nuptials of Kitty Walker and Sen. Robert McCallister on Brothers & Sisters, both Sunday night on ABC; a climactic confrontation between Hiro and Peter and the threat of world annihilation Monday night on NBC's Heroes, and the conclusion to the traumatic two-part tale of the ambulance crash that began two weeks ago on ABC's Grey's Anatomy. The big-ticket broadcast excitement doesn't end there: In addition to Grey's, the networks next Thursday are offering a cornucopia of sweeps-worthy series episodes. William Friedkin (the man who made The Exorcist) is the director of that night's CSI on CBS. Television legend Betty White will appear as herself on ABC's Ugly Betty. Henry Thomas (Elliot from ET!) will show up on CBS' Without a Trace. Meanwhile, Friday will bring with it a fresh episode of the best drama on television, NBC's Friday Night Lights, and a special episode of ABC's Women's Murder Club, one of the best-received new series of the fall.

Reach senior ad execs. Advertise on JackMyers.com

Basic cable is also primed for a strong December, with special Christmas-themed episodes of The Closer on TNT, House of Payne on TBS and Monk and Psych on USA Network; the ambitious three-part miniseries Tin Man on Sci Fi Channel; an episode of Hannah Montana featuring Dolly Parton on The Disney Channel, and four new episodes of summer sensation Saving Grace on TNT. Over on pay cable we'll see the season finales of Dexter and Brotherhood on Showtime and Extras on HBO.

So we're all good for another week or so. After that, the networks will begin to go into heavy repeat mode, and that's when the "sky is falling" stories should kick in, but they will be a collective and premature false alarm. Remember, the networks always go into heavy rerun mode in mid-December and they don't get back to business as usual until the first two weeks of January.

With no end to the strike in sight, it is difficult to predict how television will fare in the early weeks (or months) of 2008 and how people will respond. So far, the viewing public seems to care little about the strike's impending impact on their favorite shows. I haven't heard one moan or groan about all of the late-night comedy talk shows being in rerun mode these last few weeks, have you?

JackMyers.com: media Leadership Opinion Vision Evolution

And yet, there is certain to be sweeping disappointment among television viewers in the New Year, because while the early weeks of the 2007-08 season proved to be weak, with most of the networks' new shows failing to catch on and many of their returning favorites failing to recapture their previous glory, there have been spectacular bright spots. Desperate Housewives is having its best season since year one. (It's as if seasons two and three never happened.) After two months of lame storytelling, Heroes during the last two weeks has roared excitingly back to life, with thrilling cliffhangers at the end of each episode. Interesting things have been happening on Fox's House and CBS' CSI, Criminal Minds, NCIS and The Unit. ABC freshmen Pushing Daisies and Samantha Who?, both early favorites of critics across the land, have been getting better every week.

Losing these shows so early in the season while they are each building so much momentum is going to be problematic. But I'm interested to see how the networks respond to the overall problems at hand, and I'm not going to pass judgment on them at least until mid-January or later, because until then nothing will really have changed. By that time the broadcast networks' strike strategies and the public's response to them will have begun to take shape.

Tellingly, the broadcasters already have much exciting programming on tap for the top of the New Year. After this week's triumphant season finale of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, anticipation is building for its spin-off, Dance War, featuring charismatic Dancing judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli (competing to develop the most talented amateur dancers) and season two mirror-ball winner Drew Lachey as host. (It's due January 7th.) The first season of Dance War will be followed by the sixth season of Dancing, which ABC can expand to three nights if it must. ABC also has at least eight episodes of Lost in the can with which to light up the dark nights of winter.

Fox, of course, is in the best position of all the broadcasters, with perennial powerhouse American Idol set to begin its seventh season January 15th and plenty of fresh episodes of its popular animated series to spread around. It also has the reliable Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, many finished episodes of several scripted series that have yet to debut (including Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Canterbury's Law) and a host of funky reality shows in development that are in keeping with the network's history of unscripted midseason oddities. Bones and House will slide into premature rerun mode, and 24 will be absent, but other than that Fox should be in fine shape. (As an aside, it is worth remembering that 24 became almost impossible to sit through during its sixth season, sending fans away in droves, so there may not be quite so dramatic a hole in Fox' mighty midseason schedule as there would have been if 24 had remained in top form.)

List Your Job Openings at Jobs at JackMyers.com, emPowered by mediabistro.com

CBS is pulling together a special winter edition of its summer staple Big Brother to fill time periods come February. It also has new seasons of Survivor and The Amazing Race to rely on, not to mention its burgeoning arsenal of procedural crime dramas, most of which repeat rather well. And it has a seven-episode run of last season's quasi-success Jericho ready to go.

The CW has a batch of unproven reality shows, including the totally tacky Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants (set to premiere December 12th), a mother and daughter competition show that had advertisers howling at the network's upfront presentation last May. It also has new runs of America's Next Top Model and Beauty and the Geek, plus its successful (and strike-proof) Friday night franchise, WWE Smackdown!

NBC looks like it will be flapping in the breeze, with only a handful of original episodes from a few of its scripted series (including Law & Order) to rely on, as well as fresh editions of the aging Deal or No Deal and The Biggest Loser. There has been much talk about the celebrity version of Donald Trump's The Apprentice (coming January 3rd), but this franchise was already past its prime one season ago. Maybe the network should bring back Fear Factor (how difficult could that be?), or try to grab the hit music competition show Nashville Star from corporate sibling USA Network, or rush its summer hit America's Got Talent back into production.

add this social bookmark link

Post a Comment

Commentary Archives

September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014

See all Archived Material


"Netflix and Chill": Binge-Watching Reaches a Whole New Level
This week, on Mindshare’s Culture Vulture Live, Aimee Goldfarb talks about the evolution of Netflix in culture. TV addicts, this news is for you: Netflix is playing to the makers movement with the announcement of a connected button called “Netflix and Chill." While you can’t actually purchase the button, Netflix has published instructions for how to create this homegrown device.

Executive Perspectives: Jack Myers
Jack Myers is a Media Ecologist, and as such, he studies media agencies and how these agencies are choosing to spend their media money and on whom they are choosing to spend their money on. The emergence of digital video and the Internet of things (IoT) are massive industry game-changers, as marketing data can come from a multitude of sources. The data is all about the usage, the interpretation and the application of data and this is how media agencies need to position themselves in order to evolve within the industry. Myers has noticed the changes in the bigger media landscape as well. Many networks have moved from a more traditional, impression-based model to a performance-based model, therefore continuing to capitalize on all the emerging trends.

Screenvision Names John Partilla as Chief Executive Officer - Press Release of the Week
Media and Marketing Veteran's Proven Track Record of Innovation Well-Suited to Lead Screenvision into New Era of Growth

Industry Leaders React to comScore’s Acquisition of Rentrak
I have to admit that I was surprised by the news that comScore was acquiring Rentrak. While I expected more consolidation in the media measurement space, I didn't envision that it would be two big players joining forces but rather the continued ingestion of smaller companies by larger companies. This acquisition is not only a brilliant tactical move, it is also strategic: It might finally move analytics and insights in such a way that the industry shifts from the proxy metric of age and gender and into a more standardize-able cross platform measurement.

Newspaper Media Influences Key Constituents
As candidates for the 2016 presidential election declare their candidacy they are also honing in on target constituents, platforms, messaging and media choices. Even at this early stage, targeted reach and differentiation are paramount. What we can all agree on thus far is that the key voters who will “swing the election” are Millennials, Women, Independents, African Americans, Hispanics and Seniors – and, local newspaper media reaches them all in a trustworthy environment.

Give Peace a Chance
In case you missed it, Burger King placed an open letter in today’s New York Times and Chicago Tribune asking McDonald’s to come together on September 21 “Peace One Day” — cast their differences aside with an unprecedented proposition. They are asking to share resources – crew and ingredients in one single pop-up location (based in Atlanta which is neutral ground) to create, serve and sell the McWhopper with all proceeds benefiting Peace One Day” (a not-for-profit).

U.S. Media Planner Survey Takeaway: Disruption Reigns!
Every year our organization, the Digital Place Based Advertising Association, conducts a survey of media planners to take their pulse on the subject of video media and advertising. The 2015 results reinforce what we all sense, i.e., the ground is moving beneath our feet. Disruption reigns.

Not Your Father’s Tune-In -- Part 3
This continues our series probing into best practices in tune-in advertising, practices that have arisen rapidly since analysts began to study set-top box data to know what really works and what doesn’t.

How Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier and Satellites Changed TV History
The year 1975 is notable for many reasons: The Vietnam War ended with the fall of Saigon; John Mitchell, the Attorney General of the United States, was found guilty of the Watergate cover-up; fugitive Patty Hearst was captured in San Francisco, and NBC aired the first episode of "Saturday Night Live." To many of us laboring in the shallow trenches of cable television, September 30th, 1975 was the night that changed the course of television history.

Exclusive! Meredith to Publish New Lifestyle Title, Beekman 1802 Almanac
Sometimes change happens fast. Sometimes it happens not at all. And sometimes change happens in stages, so that only when you look back do you notice how much ground has been covered. Madison Avenue -- and all of us -- will be reminded of that Oct. 6 when the media giant Meredith is to bring out a new publication, the Beekman 1802 Almanac. It's intended as a premium product, more akin to a book than a magazine, and as a contemporary version of those almanacs once relied upon by farmers. To underscore how contemporary the Beekman 1802 Almanac is meant to be, it's a partnership between Meredith and a same-sex married couple, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge (pictured above).

Q&A: Hakuhodo’s D.A.Consortium on Automation, Programmatic and TV
Second of a two-part series! Jay Sears, Senior Vice President Marketplace Development of Rubicon Project discusses “Automation, Programmatic and TV” with Kent Isshiki of Hakuhodo’s D.A.Consortium. The two executives appeared at Rubicon Project’s The 2nd Annual Real Time Trading Update from Japan's Buy Side in July 2015.

Can Anything Stop the Rise of the Adblockers?
There’s a very old joke about the adman who when interviewed said, “Don’t tell my mother I work in advertising, she thinks I am a piano player in a brothel.” Indeed, the legendary French adman, Jacques Seguela (the “S” in RSCG, now part of Havas) used the joke as a title for his 1979 book.

Off the Grid a Couple Weeks and the Media/Digital Worlds Go Wild!
So I got back to the connected world and caught up on the news on the flights toward America from Lisbon … business culture shock. The media and digital worlds shifted into overdrive while I was off the grid in a kayak mostly atop the Duoro River in Northern Portugal. Here are just a few of the harbingers and changers:

Is Online Media “A Market for Lemons”?
“[In a ‘market for lemons’] there is an incentive for sellers to market poor quality merchandise, since the returns for good quality accrue mainly to the entire group whose statistic is affected rather than to the individual seller. As a result there tends to be a reduction in the average quality of goods” -- George Akerlof, from “The Market for ‘Lemons’: Quality, Uncertainty and The Market Mechanism”

A Sudden Surge in Smart TV-Making Devices
Random notes from this busy fall season: With Apple TV 2.0's availability just a few weeks away, the rest of the smart TV-making device field appears not to be standing still, whether or not there's fear of losing market share. Google's Chromecast 2.0 gets unveiled this week, while the second edition of Amazon Fire TV comes out within two weeks and Nvidia's Shield displays for the first time since its May rollout at Pepcom's Digital Experience showcase here in New York Wednesday night. There is a sense that everyone wants to be ready if Apple CEO Tim Cook's declaration that "the future of TV is apps" – as in informational, transactional or interactive services -- pans out. Travel site Orbitz is now an Amazon Fire attraction, and similar apps for TV are reportedly on the fast track at Chromecast, Roku, Shield and Intel's Compute Stick.

Click Here for Membership Information