Network TV & Diversity

Now that the TV executives have set their fall schedules, people are talking about the incredible lack of ethnic diversity that will appear on our TV screens again.

Let’s get one thing straight. It’s not just ethnic diversity they should be talking about. It’s diversity in general. I personally find it disturbing that baby-boomer executives only manage to put on shows that feature teenage or 20-something year old cast members. I figure the execs must be trying to recapture their youth by living vicariously through the lives of precocious, one-dimensional TV kids whose biggest dilemma is that they’ll soon be too old to land a part.

I’m not interested in watching those shows with teenagers and their teenage problems. I don’t care about them. They don’t talk to me. I wish they would all go away. And if the show is a sitcom then it should go away faster. They’re just plain lame. There are more older people in the world today and the execs keep catering to the youth market. Not only does TV lack diversity, it lacks reality.

As far as the ethnic factor goes. You can’t possibly expect a television executive, who lacks the imagination to know a good show when he/she sees one, to be able to spot a little problem like everyone’s one race.

The only color they recognize is green. Who’s got the most money. Who will spend the most money and what will the advertisers support.

Every time a good show squeaks by them and gets on schedule (with the exception of a few shows such as ER), they either change its time slot so no one can find it again or they cancel it outright saying no one watches it. To them, even ten million people watching aren’t enough.

Network television has been suffering the effects of lost viewers ever since Cable-TV came on the scene. But the industry still tries to do business the same way: finagling their ad rates by having sweeps weeks and so forth. This is not the 1950’s or ’60’s anymore!

Network TV is a dinosaur. It will never recover that lost viewership because there are just too many other sources of visual stimuli in the world today (diversity?). And that flight to cable by the viewing public ought to have signaled Network’s need to change. It’s a shame that the executives aren’t willing to accept that they’ve lost a segment of the viewing population and just move on.

Everywhere else you read how vibrant middle-agers are. They do more, are healthier, work longer and live longer. But, remarkably, they are dead in the eyes of the television executive. There’s only one type of show that is geared specifically to adults and that’s the news. And the only reason that’s still on the air is that it’s very cheap to produce and it fits the public service requirement.