I’ve mentioned in the past about the means by which a television network generates its income – makes its money – discussing factors such as the importance of advertising dollars, the way in which viewers consuming advertising and buying pitched products keeps that cash coming, and even how this producing this income itself stimulates local economies and becomes important to politicians wishing to benefit their city or state. But no discussion of this sort is complete without understanding and acknowledging the very fulcrum of the entertainment industry, without which there is no show, no viewers, and therefore, no money. So, let’s talk about the men and women who really make this all possible. Let’s talk about the actors.
You’d think it would be obvious, but networks tend to forget (or worse yet, actually manage to otherwise believe) that beloved actors and the characters they portray are the lifeblood of their programs. These are no easily replaced common laborers. They are talented individuals with the drive and dedication to spend years studying and refining their art, before fearlessly entering an industry infamously hostile to newcomers and carrying forward despite the difficulties. In so doing, they make television shows what they are, and what they are is what the viewing audience wants to watch.
Bryan Frons, ex President of ABC Daytime, in a veritable cataclysm of egregious disrespect for both his own actors and those who watch his networks’ programs, once stated that he could train his viewers just as he trains his dogs. Shortly after this, he canceled seven primetimes and 2 soap operas (AMC and OLTL )shows that were beloved by the fans, believing he could relieve himself of the wearying burden of paying the veteran actors sustaining them (who had most certainly earned their keep, considering the shows’ success) and replacing them with new talent for new programs. Not surprisingly, this was a disaster. As fallout of his outrageous comments and actions, a boycott of ABC/Disney Daytime erupted, and Mr Frons was fired a few months later.
And let’s be clear: Even when networks do cancel and replace shows with less dramatic turbulence, as happens far more often, the programs brought in to replace them (headed by new actors which the audience does not yet know) as usually failures. The Desperate House Wife and Brother and Sister were both canceled after ten years as leading primetime shows, only to be replaced (by a network that didn’t want to pay proven, veteran actors) by new tries that flopped in short order.
So, sorry, network guys. These dogs aren’t quite so easily trained. We like what we like – and whom we like – and if you don’t treat them with the respect they deserve, we just might have to bite.
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