Money, the Internet, ideas, pilots and big names are on the menu today with the conclusion of our 2-part article on nine ways to save the Networks and TV from going bankrupt.
5. Cost efficiency
TV episodes cost a whole bunch of money. That’s one of the many reasons reality shows began to be very popular a few years back.
Now, for better or for worse, shows are trying to get made more and more on the cheap.
An episode that is today made for 1 million dollars might be made tomorrow for 700 000.
Less money might mean more shows and ultimately more critically-acclaimed shows. Dialogue is cheap.
Every day brings its new web show it seems. They might not all be Emmy-worthy but they allow people to express themselves in ways that were not even possible a decade ago.
Web series are cheap to produce, a key nurturing element to vector original content.
And let’s not forget that “viral” part where a show generates tremendous buzz, leading them to jump screen.
Sanctuary, a web-based green-screen show, is now on Sci-Fi (starting early October).
Heroes and The Office both made webisodes that were talked about amongst fans, and beyond.
Although it is difficult to say if we will ever have 42 or 23-minute webisodes, the Whedon brothers showed everyone with Dr. Horrible that high-concept ideas could be made cheaply while maintaining that “it” factor.
7. Re-develop ideas and pilots
Not only would it save money in the long run but it would create an immense well of creativity. New perspectives might be endless.
A pilot needs to be tweaked just right to be almost perfect so why not keep it on the page until it is perfect?
HBO does it, so why not the Big Five?
Intervening on a project when there is a problem could be a great idea. The pilot of “Life On Mars” was leaked on the web and suffered harsh criticism, leading to an entire rethinking of its premise. The show may finally be quite different from its UK counterpart, for the better.
Although ideas should not stay in limbo forever, the right amount of “perfectionism” mixed with business could amount to new waves of shows.
8. Big names for big shows
The Big Five might not in a few years have big tent poles shows or even “appointment TV”.
One idea to try to counter that would be to keep banking on big names and linking them to big shows, therefore creating a package that would attract buyers.
Steven Bochco, David E. Kelley, Joss Whedon, J.J. Abrams, ever heard of these guys?
People might just watch the new show made by X instead of switching off the TV to play Second Life.
9. Take chances
No, it doesn’t go against ideas number 7 and 8, on the contrary.
New writers might offer a fresh perspective on a rotten concept.
AMC took a chance on a spec pilot that no one else wanted, and then Emmys were won.
If the Big Five want to get back some of what the cable has taken away from them, they need to take chances.
Chances on stories, chances on writers.
Big risks now means rewards down the road. Originality needs to happen.
Yes, some of the shows might fail, but television is a world of trial and errors. Mistakes are part of life.
If Cavemen hadn’t happened, we would have another horrible show on our hands. Thank God then that… Oh, wait.
Embrace change and get ahead of the competition.