Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is There a Such Thing as Underachievers Among The Ranks of Television Programmers?


I certainly think so, and I also think that the SyFy Channel would be designated as being a member of the "Remedial Academics Program" among the ranks of all cable networks if such a beast exists. Take an episode of "Welcome Back, Kotter"....replace Rosalie Totsie, Juan Epstein, and Arnold Horshack with Bonnie Hammer, David Howe, and Mark Stern....and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Is it so hard to put good, decent television programming on the air? For the SyFy Channel it is. This categorizes Bonnie Hammer, David Howe, and Mark Stern as "Underachievers." Intellectually, they're incapable of executing simple tasks...simply. What is so hard about calling reputable and respected television producers into your office (Kenneth Johnson, J. Michael Straczynski, Joss Whedon) and having them pitch ideas to you for all sorts of potential television series? To Bonnie Hammer, David Howe, and Mark Stern....this is the hardest thing in the world to them. It's a simple method of doing business that intellectually....they just can't get a handle on.

Intellectually....Bonnie Hammer, David Howe, and Mark Stern are the Sweathogs in the "Remedial Academics Program" at Buchanan High School unwilling to go to a tutor after class in order to brush up on how simple it really is to be a television programmer. Adhering to such nonsense as "Psychograms" and endless ratings data in television programming isn't a mark of intelligence...it's a mark of confusion and chaos for them. Hammer, Howe, and Stern need a "tutor" to break them of the habit.

The way you program for a television network whether it be commercial or cable....or in the SyFy Channel's case....a commercial / cable network....is you have an open door policy to all of the name producers in the industry...allow them to come in and pitch ideas to you....and refrain from any interference in the creative process. A female programming executive working for CBS-TV in 1965 had no clue what the hell the "Wild, Wild, West" was ultimately going to turn out to be before it was shot. But she and her colleagues at CBS-TV allowed Michael Garrison the freedom to do his damn job, and the rest is history. "Wild, Wild West" is unanimously regarded as one of the most respected and imaginative television series of its era and all of television history.

Yes, it can be a pain in the ass for television executives (in the millions of dollars) to not know how and where the chips are going to fall when they have bought a television series pitched to them the likes of which are completely foreign to them. But it's the only appropriate way to conceive a television series, and get the damn thing on the air.

This nonsense of putting a television series together brick by brick based solely upon the outcome of Psychogram studies and marketing clap-trap as the SyFy Channel is so fond of doing has not yielded one hit for them yet.

Maybe it's time for the SyFy Channel to get a clue....

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