Seth Shapiro\'s Business Innovation Blog

The season premieres on the traditionally leading Thursday prime-time lineup were down across the board. ABC still led (with CBS #2 and NBC third) with Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty – but with numbers down 17% and 15% from last year, respectively.

Reminds me what we wrote in out DVR/VOD overview in 2006: “What’s on Thursday at 9?  Soon no one may care any more.” That seemed like a strong statement to some then. Now it’s clearly the shape of things to come.

There was something to like and a lot to dislike about this year’s 60th Emmy Awards, broadcast this past Sunday.
The good: the best thing that can be hoped of an award, generally, is the recognition of work which is not the market leader, but which is good work. Both Mad Men and 30 Rock are great shows with mediocre numbers. Hopefully the multi-award wins of each will turn on more viewers to these shows. This is a good and heartening thing from the voting members of ATAS.

That said: how many minutes of boring and barely relevant can you pack in 3 hours? Enough to produce the worst ratings in People Meter history, with fumbling execution by a group of reality leads sharing the hosting duties, in a game they couldn’t win. Also, tributes to 40 year old shows like Laugh In and The Smothers Brothers work when they show what was great about the shows in their times – which definitely didn’t happen in the the just rotten staging of Ruth Buzzie and company, nor unfortunately in Steve Martin’s heartfelt tribute to the show that started his career.

Beyond that, the show’s running attempt to define the TV business as challenged but indomitable is just stupid. For thing, the proliferation of internet video has, more than anything, underlined the economic and creative value of professionally-produced content – which is still coming almost exclusively from the TV business.

Second, no industry is indomitable. The Academy should (and hopefullly will) roll with the new, cut the idiotic teleprompter banter, and rededicate itself to championing high-quality video, regardless of distribution channel. In a way, it started to this year.