Idol Chatter

With March Madness behind us and the May “upfronts”–where television executives announce the shows they are scheduling for fall–only weeks away, it is that time of year when existing shows receive the unwelcome news that they are getting the pink slip. NBC’s The Black Donnellys” was cancelled so they could air the Ashton Kutcher-produced series “The Real Wedding Crashers.”

Now, it’s not that I am a big fan of “The Black Donnellys.” I did give it a shot for awhile but eventually found the “Sopranos” rip-off to be disappointing. But I am frustrated that a network that has stuck with–so far, anyway–an amazing show like the critically-acclaimed “Friday Night Lights” gave up on an intelligent show like “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” to replace it with a mediocre show like “Donnellys”–only to cancel that show for a new reality series based on pranks and humiliation.

Is NBC giving up on quality for cheaper–in every definition of the word–entertainment like “Crashers”? More importantly, some TV critics are asking the obvious question, “Do we get what we deserve?” when it comes to what shows are offered on television. If D-list actors in sequins are what we want to watch, then why should a network spend millions on a new hour-long drama?

Or is it just that there is no way a network can make money off of a quality and expensive-to produce-show like “Studio 60,” when there are numerous cable channels and internet options competing for viewers? And when will television ever do away with its dependence on the outdated Nielsen ratings system as its programming guide?

While I don’t have the answers to all of those questions, as the TV landscape changes one thing seems clear: If we want the networks to resist creating the next “Super Bachelor Nanny Swap Gets an Extreme Makeover,” we have to resist the urge to watch these kinds of shows first.

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