Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mergers Aplenty

So what happened with the WB and UPN was not TECHNICALLY a merger. And I guess the Disney/Pixar thing wasn't either. But I liked the title. So. . .yeah!

Honestly, I can't possibly see how I could be affected by the Disney purchase of Pixar, aside from the fact that I might get to finally see Toy Story 3, so I'll just leave that alone (honestly, putting John Lasseter in charge of Disney animation as a whole is a smart move, even if Disney paid WAY TOO MUCH).

But for anyone hoping to break into the TV writing business such as myself, the process by which two giant conglomerates smashed together two creative, scrappy netlets and (like so much Play-Doh) forced them to mold together into the CW is frightening.

As a TV viewer -- heck, as a casual observer of the TV business -- this is an exciting time. The CW promises to take the two networks' strengths (the proposed Tuesday lineup of Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars is the best lineup in the history of history) and create a network that is solid all around. Neither has been able to break out like it had hoped it would, and now they can take chances they just couldn't before.

In addition, people like my mom can finally watch Everybody Hates Chris or Veronica Mars and see what the fuss is about. Even though the CW is only in 48% of the country right now, that will change and fast.

If I were NBC, I would start getting nervous about my fourth place position. Even though I have the Olympics.

But look how many more writing, acting and directing jobs were eliminated by this. A TERRIBLE show like One Tree Hill still employs a lot of creative and talented people. And when that show goes away, they all flood out into the marketplace, looking for new jobs. So it gets more intimidating for a wee spec monkey such as myself.

But, if you don't got the cojones, you don't got what it takes.

So I've been told.

This is not to speak of the many, many, many people who had hoped to get new shows on UPN or the WB and will find themselves with AT MOST four open slots to look at (that's assuming that the only truly "on the bubble" shows like Everwood all get canceled). So you're going to see fewer new programs, especially with the new show promised to the Gilmore Girls' creators (which I would bank on seeing at midseason now) and the Aquaman pilot that everyone's been so excited about.

But there are still more questions. Will either network try to get its canceled shows on cable networks owned by its conglomerate? Will this hasten the rush to get shows up and running on iTunes? Is this just the herald of more mergers to come in the future? FoxBS? ANBC?

And would CBS REALLY pick up Everybody Hates Chris?


While we're on the subject, if you're interested in how the business of TV works, The Futon Critic is maybe the best site out there for keeping track of those sorts of things. It's a titch hard to navigate if you don't know what you're looking for, but that's part of its charm.

Zap2It has an excellent proposed schedule for the CW that would satisfy most of my desires.

And you can download Miss America, courtesy of Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else.

And some crazy kids really, really, really want a second season of the short-lived show (that turned into a movie) Firefly.

So who's going to be the first company to produce a show EXCLUSIVELY for DVD or iTunes? Fox, in particular, has a bunch of interesting stuff in its vaults.

Tomorrow: I'll jump on the bandwagon and give you reasons you should be watching Battlestar Galactica. Or do the cable list.


Jeremy said...

Todd - with all the creativity available in this "merger" why couldn't they have come up with a better name? The CW? Come on... I know what it technically stands for, but why not The WC? At least I'd have a reaction to it.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

In the press conference, Les Moonves said they rejected the CW "right away," though it was in a joking tone, so who knows?

At any rate, the CW IS a terrible, terrible name.