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What The Walking Dead Can Teach Broadcast TV


I came across this interesting article bu James Hibberd... I just hope networks are reading and paying attention....

To read the details of Mr. Hibberd's points please go to InsideTV.

If you work at one of the major broadcast networks, last week’s news that a cable network’s zombie show delivered the biggest TV rating of the fall must have given you pause — if not kept you up at night. Was The Walking Dead’s crazy huge performance (a 5.8 in the valuable adult demo) some nutty outlier? Not entirely, because FX’s Sons of Anarchy recent topped broadcast shows in its time period. And last week, FX’s American Horror Story debuted high enough to rank #2 in its slot.

This is part of a long-term trend. Lower-rated cable dramas have been on the rise, while higher-rated broadcast dramas have been eroding. Now we’re seeing a few of those cable hits outright win their slots.

So: Is there something the Big Four networks can learn from shows like The Walking Dead?

Yes. Six things.

Shorter:

Serialized:

Patience:

Braver:

Geekier:

Realer:

Broadcast clings to the idea that shows must feel all-inclusive, even if it means being rather superficial (which is how you end up with Fox’s Terra Nova, a show about surviving in a hostile prehistoric world with characters that can’t kill dinosaurs). While cable has doubled down on making dramas as intensely realistic as possible. As a result, cable dramas not only undermine broadcast ratings by directly siphoning off viewers, they also undermine similar broadcast shows indirectly by making some of them look silly and unrealistic by comparison (if you were a fan of The Shield, it’s awfully hard to watch a broadcast cop show). And guess what? We have cable networks exclusively creating family programming too, so there’s competition for that audience as well. Broadcasters should relieve themselves of the burden of trying to entertain ages 8 to 80. There are 311,591,917 people in the U.S., give or take, and you only need 10 million for a hit. Don’t try to be as broad as possible. Just tell the best story you can.
Source: InsideTV/ EW

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