Mad Men’s fifth season will be delayed because AMC wants too much money from advertisers, but doesn’t want to add two minutes to the show as it has in the past or, depending upon the source, series creator Matthew Weiner doesn’t want to cut two minutes from the show or two members from the cast (though Betty and her new husband have been suggested and I concur, especially since Don’s fiancé demonstrated greater mothering instincts in two episodes than Betty had in four seasons). Mad Men should not go beyond a fifth season anyway because, as its story line has advanced over four seasons from 1960 to 1966, it will soon be encountering the rise of the counterculture, the “don’t trust anyone over 30” ethos of the Boomer generation, and the self-consciousness and overt sexuality that overtook American advertising in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.
|Dexter's late Grandfather appeared in the |
finale of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The team breaks up and the new owners keep the jerk and fire the competent employees. Ironically, in real life, Ted Knight was unable to find a hit show, whereas the rest of the cast went on to great successes (even Georgia Engel went back to the stage to acclaim). St. Elsewhere ended when it should have – it had nowhere else to go plot-wise and it had always combined the realism of a medical show with the surreal self-reflexivity of a TV show that referred to other shows. Friday Night Lights was never properly supported by NBC and ended up with five seasons, many of them shortened, even though it received overwhelmingly positive reviews and an intense cult following. This is known as the thirtysomething syndrome.
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Most shows go on way too long because they’re still winning their time slot or they need to stick around for the magical 100 episodes for eternal syndication repeats on a dozen channels or none of the suits have the guts or the insight to replace a known mediocrity with an unknown entity and thereby lose advertising dollars (the real and maybe only motivation for television). So many networks need so much product that much of it is junk. That was true in the 1950s when TV was declared a “cultural wasteland” and it’s still true today, but everything is about niche audiences today because advertisers are willing to pay. Some of these have to go off soon – please!!!!
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American Idol is the consistently highest rated reality show, but how many idols are there really and will one show up every season? So far, the answers are a limited number in any generation and no. Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and Kellie Pickler (who did not win) have become genuine stars and the country genre, which Simon Cowell disdained mainly because it is endemically American and he couldn’t really get it, is the best suited to the show because the fans have the widest age range, they not only support artists by voting for them endlessly on the show, but they turn that enthusiasm into real sales for them once the show is over. Nashville Star didn’t last long, perhaps because it was too narrowly focused on a single genre, thought it produced a genuine star in Miranda Lambert. Interestingly, she came in third. That ‘interest’ is true for Idol as well. Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert, and Clay Aiken have all had more successful careers than the winners of their seasons. Jennifer Hudson has, so far, had the widest ranging industry respect of any artist, winning both the Oscar and the Grammy. She’s a double threat as an actress and singer and the tragedies in her life are the stuff from which diva legends are made (and she displays her class by never touching upon them).
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and Steven Tyler's comments
purr-fect this season
Project Runway), chefs (Top Chef), interior designers (Top Design), etc. Some of the shows have been cut, due to lack of buzz (Jonathan Adler had minimal camera charisma), but is there an inexhaustible supply of designers, chefs, etc? Top Chef created a Masters’ series and some All-Stars shows and season, thereby extending the shelf life of its ‘stars.’ Project Runway, bought out by Lifetime, may not be able to re-thread its needle after giving the win to Gretchen last season. Crowning the villainess as queen leaves Cinderella at home from the ball and one of the Ugly Sisters with the glass slipper fitting her foot. Take all these shows off life support, but leave us Work of Art, which did more for American art than anything on TV since Robert Hughes’ American Visions.
The active life span of any primetime series is four to seven seasons. TV executives that care about quality should review every show in that range and cut anything that is just repeating the same old formula, even if its ratings haven’t dropped. Creators need to move outside of law and cop shows (even those about scientific and/or medical investigators) because shows about gangsters, funeral home owners, firefighters, advertising, English royalty, teachers with cancer, high school music clubs, unconventional families, and zombies are more compelling narratives and, with the right backing, could entice more lucrative advertising, which is what TV is all about anyway.