13 January 2010 2 Comments

A Love Letter to NBC.

Dear NBC Execs:

I hope you don’t mind if I call you “Execs.” I thought you’d appreciate it if we were on a nickname basis; make everything a little less awkward, right? Right.

So I’m just trying to figure some stuff out, Execs. What’s up? What’s the deal? Are you smoking something? Must be good stuff, seeing as you’re making crazy choices. Can I have some?

Your programming choices astound me. Seriously. 5 nights of primetime comedy/talk/variety with Jay Leno? Are you kidding me? You canceled 5 nights of primetime drama to give Mr. Leno a more visible stage, yes? A more visible stage than The Tonight Show? Fascinating. I don’t completely understand the reasoning, but I do know this: there is too much talk on TV. Too much reality. I want drama, I want stories. Tell me a story! I spend all day dealing with real people and problems and politics. I want to spend my evenings unwinding. So tell me a story, please.

Why do we need a primetime show wherein a comedian interviews celebrities when we have those shows going on in the afternoon and late at night? Don’t you realize that what’s killing you is the fact that your competitors are all airing dramas in primetime and you’ve got none?

Maybe I’m just one person, but I do have control over my TV, my laptop, my DVR. And I like to be entertained — well entertained. NBC, you are no longer entertaining.

Way back when, you stole The West Wing from Aaron Sorkin. You let it win Emmys for you — Emmys and Golden Globes and who knows what else — and then you stole it. You stole it from its creator, and you changed it, and then you shelved it.

A couple of years later, you proceeded to tease me with launching another Sorkin drama: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Fantastic dialogue, fantastic acting, and an incredible blend of drama and comedy. And, before it has a chance to deepen and mature, you pull the plug after “massaging” and rushing the story line. Just one season, friends. I only got to have one season; not to mention the fact that the season didn’t play out as initially planned by its creators.

More recently you canceled Kings! You didn’t really give it a chance, and then you canceled it. Huge potential, Execs! Had some brilliant moments. But you stopped advertising for it despite the face that you already paid for production and shot the whole season. Why? Just so you could shelve it? Weren’t you at least going to try to make your money back? Apparently not, because you buried the show on Friday nights. And then the final kiss of death: moving the final handful of episodes to Saturday nights. Did you put your beloved Jay Leno in primetime on Saturdays? Hmm.

And now you want to put Jay back after the late news — back in his old slot, but not on The Tonight Show. All the while bumping Conan and the actual Tonight Show back till 12:05. You might as well rename it The Tomorrow Show. Not to mention the late lates getting bumped as well. Which means Conan has had only 7 months to grow into his current time slot before it’s taken from him. How is that fair? What sense does it make? Do you not realize that the young and hip generation — the cool kids who DVR and Wii and own Wall Street — like Conan? That the college kids who will soon (if they’re not already) spend all their free time and money on entertainment prefer Conan? That Conan is a funnier guy? Did any of this occur to you?

No. Because once again NBC has done the inexplicable. Why should you explain yourselves? You’re execs at NBC. You know what the people like, right? Whatevs.

You got lucky — that’s what you got. At the moment you’ve got two things going for you: 30 Rock and the upcoming Olympic Games. And the Olympics are kinda cheating; you paid hundreds of millions of dollars so you could hoard them all to yourself, so I would be forced to watch NBC if I felt even the slightest twinge of nationalism during a particular week in February. Ridiculous. (I should probably give you props for not canceling Chuck. But man, did you come close.)

30 Rock, peeps. That’s your hail Mary at the moment. And I’m almost tempted to give it up because you guys make me crazy. You Execs represent everything that is wrong with Hollywood. I’m your audience, and you’ve done nothing in the last few months to impress me, to win me over. Nothing to keep my viewership. Reality TV? No thanks. Primetime Jay Leno? Please no. Canceling fantastic dramas? Egad.

It probably doesn’t mean anything to anyone but me, but I’m turning you off, NBC. I’m done. I’ll be okay checking the Olympic results on the news the day after. I’ll pick up 30 Rock on DVD later. If I do happen to turn on NBC, it’ll be to watch Conan. How’s that for a statement of love? But I’ve always had a thing for redheads.

Yours sincerely,

Mel Leilani

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  • Very bitter over the cancellation of Studio 60. If you factor away my brainless love for Alias, it was my favourite show on tv ever. I had forgotten all about that sad moment in my life– the cancellation– until this post. Thanks.

  • The failure to properly market “Kings”–there’s a whole section of people who would’ve *loved* to watch a show directly based on the Bible–is borderline criminal. The failure to stick with “Life,” which could’ve been the next “Monk” or “Numb3rs”–lunacy. It’s almost as if the other three networks were paying Jeff Zucker a huge amount of money so he would deliberately sabotage NBC from inside.

    Still, Chuck has a sweet 19 episode order, so we should be grateful for small miracles.