Friday, June 17, 2011

Law & Order: L.A.

Law & Order Los Angeles. What a great idea! A perfect continuation of a winning franchise guaranteed to win viewers.

Except now, NBC has announced that after only one season, it's cancelling the show. The reason? Poor ratings.

Only a board of network executives could be that stupid.

Nielsen ratings, the real governing body of all things viewed on television, is conducted by installing ratings boxes in various homes around the country, and monitoring what it hopes is a representative sampling of television viewers throughout the nation.

It isn't, of course.

You see, Nielsen ratings are a dinosaur -- a sad, holdover remnant of a bygone entertainment era, every bit as irrelevant today as radio dramas were yesterday. How outdated are they? Put it this way: They didn't begin incorporating numbers including new video technology such as TiVo until 2005, five years after it became widely used. And these new figures aren't even used in the ratings system. Why? Because advertising firms have pressured Nielsen into not using them! They know that if corporations see just how much people are dodging their commercials, they'll insist on paying a lot less, television stations profits will drop through the floor, and every ad agency will get dropped like a hot coal.

But what about even newer technology? What about Hulu? Or Netflix? The Free TV Project? Program streaming on every other network website? More people watch television this way inside coffee houses on their I-Pads than ever before, and these are the ones with the kind of free time to be able to watch television. But Nielsen doesn't include these figures either. If they did, they'd see that networks could charge way more for internet ads, and make up the potential difference in lost revenue. But, no, Nielsen insists on only monitoring people who sit in front of their living room big-box, and for this reason, Jerry Springer will always have artificially higher numbers than Law & Order: L.A.!

Meanwhile, a bunch of grey-haired executives in NBC, who probably grew up watching Happy Days and I Love Lucy, are making the mistake of presuming that their biggest television hit is actually a loss -- because the old, outdated system of tracking is saying that the numbers are low.

Meanwhile, an entire segment of internet-streaming viewers are screaming "What the fuck?!" over the news that their favorite show is getting cancelled. What a travesty!

This is dumber than Dr. House driving a car through his girlfriend's bay window!

Now, there's an even bigger point to be made here. These are the kinds of corporate execs who, thanks to the Citizens' United ruling, can donate massive amounts of funds to whatever political campaign they want. Yet they make billions screwing up so badly, they can't even keep Law & Order L.A. on the air! I guess it's true what they say: In the entertainment industry, one fails upward.

Are these the kind of people you want to see having the biggest say-so in our political process?

I say, rip that power away from those fuckheads and give it back to the people where it belongs!

(They'll just have more money to spend on luxury yachts, that's all.)

Eric

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