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?

Learning to Capitalize

[This item was originally posted to The Media Drop]

For those of you who notice these things, it seems that depending on whom you ask or read, capitalization of song titles varies dramatically. Thankfully, Frank Boosman writes an entry about it, and leads us to the “Capitalization Rules for Song Titles” page.

Make sure and note the so-called “phrasal verbs”, which are by far my favorite part of the rule.

When in doubt, check this out.

[via Blogrunner]

You Can’t Do It But We Can. Sort Of.

[This item was originally posted to The Media Drop]

Apparently, the Republican National Committee doesn’t want the television networks to play the latest MoveOn.org ads because the $10 million MoveOn has raised could be bypassing the campaign finance reforms that have come about in recent years.

Interestingly enough, Dan Gillmor reports that two committees belonging to AG John Ashcroft raised funds in order to pay for the lawyers defending the groups and the fine that they were hit with when breaking some campaign finance reform laws back in 2000.

It’s fascinating that you can fundraise to cover fines. Man – and we complain when people pursue cyberbegging.

[CNN link via Drudge Report]

“GTA: San Andreas” Due This Fall

[This item was originally posted to The Media Drop]

Hollywoodreporter.com is reporting (that’s what they do!) that Rockstar Games is all set to release the next exciting game in the Grand Theft Auto series. No details on the site about “San Andreas”, but you can bet it’ll sell like hotcakes.

While it’s definitely “controversial”, I have yet to go out and carjack anyone or drive a motorcycle off of a roof in order to get bonus points for anything. Perhaps I have self control, which counteracts those ill effects some people are so worried about, or perhaps some people are overreacting. I’m guessing that due to the “changes” we’re all experiencing at the moment with decency, that the secret codes to get various levels of indecency will be back for the next installment.

Knight Ridder to Charge For Online Content?

[This item was originally posted to The Media Drop]

According to Vin Crosbie at Digital Deliverance, Knight Ridder is planning to start charging for their online content at their newspaper sites. According to Knight Ridder’s site, they have 31 newspapers / content sites, including the Detroit Free Press, the Kansas City Star, the Miami Herald and the Philadephia Daily News and Inquirer in Philadelphia.

I’m not really surprised if this is true – a lot of people have wondered about the longevity of surviving for “free” online, and with some of the statistics talked about yesterday, I could see why this would happen.

[via PaidContent]

More Clear Channel

[This item was originally posted to The Media Drop]

The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel makes great strides for us all in her points about how Clear Channel’s recent “firing” of Howard Stern from their stations could be just as important as we’ve been talking about in recent days and weeks.

vanden Heuvel also leads us to the website of Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, who has a very strong stance on the topic of Radio Consolidation. Definitely check this out if you value your rights as per the First Amendment. Feingold’s site has a place where you can share your thoughts and opinions on the current state of affairs in the radio industry.

Thanks to Joe Jennett for the link.

Younger Readers & The Internet

[This item was originally posted to The Media Drop]

Wondering what newspaper sites are doing with all that nifty information they ask for when you “register”? Susan Mernit has a post about statistics garnered from the “Power Users 2004” study.

In a related story, OnlineJournalism.com has an abstract up that talks about print being on the “path to extinction and taking the online media with it.” The reason? Young people no longer reading the newspaper and the fact that that the online iterations of these newspapers aren’t adapted enough “to the individual interests and tastes of every reader.” Bummer. I think we’ll see what happens with things like Philips’ version of digital paper [via Rewrite!] become a little more feasible. It’s not inconceivable that this revolutionary product could end up being some sort of savior to the newspaper industry, right?

And finally, Online Journalism Review’s Vin Crosbie writes a piece entitled “What Newspapers and Their Web Sites Must Do to Survive”. Thanks to Hypergene MediaBlog for pointing it out.

[update] Okay, I was wrong. Editorsweblog.org tells us that more people are reading newspapers these days, but reading them for less time. Again, age is a factor.

Did You Hear The One About the Makeover?

[This item was originally posted to The Media Drop]

Felix Salmon at MemeFirst posted yesterday about the recent incident in which a New York Times culture reporter (or actually, his apartment), was subject to a makeover done as a part of Oprah Winfrey’s television show.

According to The New York Post, Jesse McKinley’s apartment was redone by “Queer Eye” design maven Thom Filicia to a tune of about $50,000. When the Times found out about the re-do and the cost, they reportedly “freaked out,” according to the Post article, and informed McKinley he’d have to pay back the amount. After some discussions on the subject, now it seems that Mr. McKinley and his wife will have to pay some amount less than the $50,000, which hasn’t been made public at this time.

I could comment, but why ruin all the fun?