Saturday, April 25, 2009

T Dog's Think Tank: Zucker and Silverman have got to go

When you think for losing disasters, you think of the Detroit Lions, Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Islanders, etc.

And then there's NBC, who has been taking losing to a whole new level as of late.

Consider this: Recently, the network announced it was airing a "new" reality show this summer, titled I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!, which will be stripped Monday-Thursday for a few weeks in June. It features "celebrities" wanting to get out of a jungle, begging viewers to vote them off.

Only problem is, Get Me Out Of Here has aired before - on ABC back in February and March of 2003 - and bombed in the ratings.

And NBC has now picked it up for this summer, six years after its demise. And even worse, guess who they signed as their first contestant - former governor of Illinois and future dropping-the-soap-in-prison inmate Rod Blagoveich (who was denied by a judge to participate.)

Why, you ask?

All you have to look at are the two clowns running the network: Jeff "Doogie" Zucker and Ben "I party all the time" Silverman. They have turned NBC from Must See TV to Mustn't See TV with such craptacular shows like Kings and Howie Do It. The surprising item here is, Ben Silverman is not related to Fred Silverman - the man who was successful at CBS and ABC, but produced dud after dud for NBC in the late 1970's and early 1980's. He green-lighted such low-brow fare like Supertrain and Pink Lady and Jeff, with Gary Coleman of Diff'rent Strokes the biggest star at the network. Yikes.

Already, they put a revival of forgettable 1980's sitcom Harper Valley P.T.A. - it's called Parks & Recreation, with Amy Poheler in Barbara Eden's role (wait... it isn't a revival?) And don't forget the failed revivals of Knight Rider and American Gladiators, mid-level performers who weren't even successful to begin with.

But why not stop there? Zucker and Silverman could bring back Joe Namath's The Waverly Wonders, or Love, Sidney. They can sign Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer of Epic Movie and Disaster Movie fame to head future sitcom projects. We all know they can't write anything worth of shit - but that won't stop Doogie and Mr. Partyman.

And recently, Doogie made a speech at the McGraw-Hill Summit criticizing Jon Stewart and The Daily Show for unfairly skewing Rick Santelli of CNBC and his famous rant from the floor of The Chicago Board of Trade, regarding the federal bailout. And at the same seminar, Zucker said his company is primarily in the cable business first and foremost (looking at their prime-time ratings, they stopped being in the broadcast networks business years ago.)

And then there's the matter regarding NBCs' O&O in Chicago and their handling of this incident.

Enough is enough. It's time for King Zucker and court jester Silverman to go. They have practically destroyed a network with a great tradition of success - one who introduced color and among the first to broadcast in stereo - to nothing more than a laughingstock. Their news divisions - on the national and a few on the local O&O level (look at the current state of WNBC-TV in New York and you'll know what I mean) - are utter jokes.

The business needs more visionaries like the late Brandon Tarkitoff and Grant Tinker. Sure, Tarkitoff created his fair share of crap for NBC back in the day with Manimal, The Rousters, and Yellow Rose, but the network gained credibility with critically-acclaimed programs (Hill Street Blues, Fame, St. Elsewhere, Cheers) and it all came together with smash hits (The Cosby Show, Golden Girls) and rode the top of the ratings for much of the 1980's. NBC's success continued into the 1990's with Seinfeld, Friends, Fraiser, and ER.

The current vaudeville act of Zucker and Silverman aren't even close to trying.

The network once known for producing high-quality fare is know more known for revivals of already-crummy shows, inept leadership, shoddy marketing, and letting once-good shows (Heroes) go to shit. The National Broadcasting Company now stands for Nothing But Crap.

If NBC does get rid of Ben Silverman, don't celebrate - it could get progressively worse. Last I heard, former network star Gary Coleman is still looking for a job.

2 comments:

IAmATVJunkie said...

Kings was a fine show that had a couple of great performances at the center of it (especially McShane) but I just don't think the audience is there for a resetting of the David story.

And I think the gay son thing proved to a segment of Americans that would have been fans of the show because of the Bible story at the center of it.

The money was all up there on screen, it was a problem with possibly trying to do too much in each episode.

I'm always up for some Ben bashing (and Jeff Zucker, too) but I don't think Kings can be blamed on them.

T Dog said...

"Kings" probably shouldn't have been lumped in the same arena as "Howie Do It" and "Parks and Rec", but NBC didn't do the series any favors scheduling it on Sunday night at 7 p.m. (CT) opposite established competition.