Could It Be?

[This item was originally posted to The Media Drop]

The New York Times’ Bruce Weber writes about a makeshift panel discussion in Aspen, Colorado, where some broadcasting folks got together to discuss the the state of the sitcom. For those of us curious to why things have changed on the landscape of television in the last 10 years, take Weber’s writing to heed. “If the panel offered any theme, it is that there is no pattern for success in television comedy, or to put it more bluntly, nobody really knows exactly how to do it.”

Wondering where your “Cheers” and “Friends” of the future are? Well, perhaps they’re on the shelves of the networks and studios. Perhaps they’ll never see the light of day – who can tell.

Lauren Corrao, SVP of original programming at Comedy Central talks about financial constraints, “When `The Real World’ was being developed, I was at MTV, and we wanted to do a soap opera for young people, and we couldn’t afford the Writers Guild. So what the real world became was a soap opera with no actors and no writers. And 12 years later it’s still on the air.” – while NBC’s Mark Hirschfeld, executive vice president of casting points out that “…you can have the A-list writer, a script that everyone loves, put together the best cast, and if the lightning in a bottle doesn’t happen, it stinks.” It might seem easy to the rest of us on this side of the tube, but it’s apparently a lot more involved than it seems.

Will reality television stay around and become the mainstay of our programming? Will game shows make their way back into the nightly grind? Or will the cable/satellite venues slowly and surely even the score as people get overly focused and watch only show tailored towards their hobbies, likes, and needs?

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