Nov 24, 2005

Call Me Crazy . . .

, , , but if a show's the most watched show on a network, winning in nearly every timeslot it's in, and one of the most popular shows on cable television, you wouldn't cancel it, would you?

You don't know Cartoon Network very well, do you? Obviously neither you nor I don't, and I don't really understand why they cancelled Teen Titans. Seriously, why in the HELL did Cartoon Network cancel their highest-rated, most commercial-ready, all-ages-reaching series. Oh . . . right, the whole all-ages reaching thing. I forget that if you have breasts or a dropped testicle or two, Cartoon Network doesn't want you watching them.


Nov 15, 2005

You Can Be A Network Executive!

You know how you always say you can make a better network? Well, if you have the right tools, maybe you can thanks to Broadband.

After yesterday's announcement that Time Warner is planning a free Broadband-exclusive network In2TV next year in addition to the Adult Swim block introduced a little over a month ago as well as Viacom's recent forays into Broadband entertainment courtesy of Comedy Central and MTV, it's not a question of how can one create their own network, it's a question of when.

I believe that the current broadcast television model is outmoded and ineffectual. There are only five major conglomerates with their hands in the cookie jar of entertainment in the US (Time Warner owns The WB, HBO, and the Turner networks, Disney owns ABC, ESPN, and ABC Cable, Viacom owns MTV Networks while their CBS Entertainment owns Showtime, CBS, and UPN, News Corp owns Fox, Fox Cable Networks, and a bulk of the UPN affiliates, and NBC Universal owns USA Networks, Bravo, Telemundo, a majority share in i, and a network who name escapes me). There's no competition, no variety, no choice. And what's worse, they're even syphoning off shows from the cable outlets they own, and vice-versa. True independent voices are being quieted before they can even speak. Quality shows produced by others are being cancelled in favor of cheaply-made knockoffs of knockoffs. In fact, broadcast television could be a thing of the past two decades from now in the age of HDTV.

We have (or will have) the power to create our own networks via the Internet. Believe it or not, the Internet is taking the same path that was taken when radio migrated to television. We've gone from streaming internet radio to podcasts to bit torrent to broadband cable in a little under a decade. More original, creator-owned programming is becoming available to the masses. And believe it or not, some of it is actually good. It wouldn't be out of the question if there are more original programming made exclusively for Broadband within a decade. Studios are already attempting to make Broadband networks (Viacom has three, while Sony and Time Warner are launching their own next year), so there's no excuse not to make one of your own if you have the right skills and tools.

The power to make our own network is in our hands. Now, who would be brave enough to try?

Nov 14, 2005

And Another One Bites The Dust

Science fiction programming doesn't last on the traditional networks and rarely stays on the non-traditional broadcast outlets. So, when I heard about the resurrection of Kolchak: The Night Stalker airing on Thursday nights on ABC for the 2005-06 season, the following thought entered my brain:

"This show won't see 2006."

Not that it wasn't good but because in this day and age where scripted programming is being shown the door in favor of "reality" shows, competition shows that aren't game shows, and makeover shows, shows like Night Stalker really won't last. And I have history to prove it.


John Doe.

Dark Angel.

The Watcher.

Twilight Zone (the recent version).


Space: Above and Beyond.

Any time there's a hint of science-fiction element on a series (including horror, superheroics, paranoia, and supernaturalism), there's already an imprinted code to cancel the series, and Night Stalker had all these elements. Carl Kolchak, a crime reporter, is reluctantly joined by a pair of crime reporters and investigates strange crimes often involving paranormal, supernatural, and horror-filled scenarios. It's like All The President's Men meets The X Files (a series many of the creators behind the revamp worked on). It's a shame ABC cancelled it, and they'll probably replace the show with either a "news" program or a "reality" show. And, in tandem with Smallville, Thursday nights were worth watching again.

Farewell Night Stalker. Hope you get a new home soon.

Nov 2, 2005

Where The Hell Is the Outrage?

Cartoon Network is planning an MTV-level disaster at their network starting a week from Sunday by airing a series of live-action films, including Small Soldiers, The Goonies, and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and a bigtime movie coming to Toonami very soon.

But wait, there's more.

Cartoon Network, in a move that should surprise everyone, is planning on creating new live-action series plots like sitcoms and action projects networkwide, not just the Krofft Brothers homage being worked on at Adult Swim. They're doing this because they claim that kids aren't interested in cartoons anymore and drawn towards Disney Channel and Nickelodeon live-action fare.

According to some higher ups at the network, the word "cartoon" is not limited to cel, stop-motion, or computer-animated productions, but is rather a state of mind.

Now, my question is not aimed towards the executive minds of Cartoon Network but rather the animation media writers who cover the industry from all angles and animation historians who watch the network.


Seriously, I'm pissed that Cartoon Network has basically given up their original mission so easily. The powers that be that wanted to make Cartoon Network to be more like Nickelodeon and less like Cartoon Network has won. Mission A-fricking-ccomplished. Great job. They destroyed and killed in four years what it took Ted, Betty, Linda, Dea, Fred, Genndy, and Craig nine years to build.

And for what? Because you're upset that Nickelodeon's live-action programs are doing better than Cartoon Network? Well, technically, that's not true. The live-action programming is doing alright, but Cartoon Network cartoons are getting their asses kicked by . . .

Nickelodeon's popular Nicktoons. Particularly Nicktoons reruns. Seriously, after Monday Night Raw and NFL Sunday Night, the bulk of the highest-rated shows on cable are reruns of Spongebob Squarepants and The Fairly Oddparents. And Nickelodeon, who are obviously laughing at this submission by Cartoon Network, are proud that their Nicktoons Network digital channel is on four times as many homes as Boomerang (Nicktoons has 32 million subscribers while Boomerang is in only eight million homes). And they're actually growing in popularity while Cartoon Network still has no frelling idea what to do with Boomerang (My suggestion? Give total control of Boomerang to Turner Classic Movies since they actually know how to treat classic entertainment).

Seriously, where's the outrage on all of this?