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Broadcast TV?


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Broadcast TV?
« on: April 01, 2022, 04:46:05 PM »
       It’s not going away, but Broadcast TV has lost its dominance.  I remember buying the September TV guide every year and excitedly going through the pages looking at the new shows and what changes would be brought to the old shows. No more,
Now, with the exception of the Nightly News, Jeopardy, a few sporting events, I just watch a few broadcast shows. But I see how repetitious and even boring Broadcast has gotten.
If they have a successful show, such as NCIS, CSI, FBI, Chicago, Law and Order they just make spin offs of it instead of inventing something original. Even comedies, Big Bang begot Young Sheldon, Wonder Years begot Wonder Years… along with new versions of MacGyver, Hawaii 5-0, Wonder Years, The Connors, Will and Grace etc.
Prime Time is also a place for game show revivals, mostly shows that are decades old: Name that Tune, Match Game, Celebrity Family Feud, To Tell The Truth, Wheel of Fortune, the Chase etc.
In the 1950’s
Radio dominated the 1930s and 40s.  My grandparents would get news, music sports, variety shows, game show, sit-coms and drama from radio. By the end of the 1950s most of those times migrated to TV, But radio was still the prime (but not only) source for music and news.
In the 1960s:
TV became the dominate source of entertainment and, after the Kennedy assassination, the major source for news. Movies, often censored became popular and Sit-coms and Drama shows often had 30 new episodes a year with few reruns. Summer replacement shows were popular and were often “pilots” for new shows. TV stations were not on 24 hours a day so late-night shows were rare.
Talk shows, which were cheap to produce grew, both day and night.  Marv Griffith, Mike Douglas, Steve Allen, Dick Cavett and many others.  This growth continued into the next decade.
In the 1970s:
The 1970s were probably the greatest era for the three Primetime networks.  Movies were popular so they made their own. Some were good (Brian’s Song) and some were not. Mini Series (Roots and Rich Man Poor Man) became popular. PBS began to grow with shows such as Upstairs Downstairs and Sesame Street. ATT lowered their nighttime rates of TV transmissions and this open the door for the “Tomorrow Show” and many other late-night shows. Sports became stronger on national TV when Roone Arledge, with Pete Roselle, started Monday Night Football and later Monday Night Baseball. Arledge also made the Olympics a big event by going “Up Close and Personal.”
A HUGE ITEM: The Networks owned and produced MOST of their shows making huge profits, especially in reruns. The FCC changed that and limited the amount of shows a network could own, opening the door to independent producers. TV then grows up.  We get All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore, Mash, Barney Miller, Hill Street Blues etc.
Oh yeah, the VCR (Betamax) was introduced and cable was expanding.
In the 1980s:
In the beginning, the Networks were not yet concerned about Cable. Their biggest threat was the independent stations that were taking away viewers to show not just local sports and movies, but syndicated TV shows including Star Trek: The Next Generation and Baywatch.
But that would change.  CNN began and became the place to go for breaking news. This hurt radio also. Then MTV (1981) and later VH-1 (1985) became the place for young people to get music, again diminishing radio.
As VHS took off and many stores opened, families had movie nights without commercials and uncensored. So Broadcast TV stopped making movies and, as cable advanced, mostly stopped having weekly movie nights. 
The  local Broadcast Independent stations were hurt with the raise of Regional Sports Networks.  They would carry all, or most, of a team’s games and eventually eliminate the need for a Broadcast network to carry local games.
TV shows generally go down to 24 or so episodes from about 30. With independent producers, hour shows are given up to ten days to film, up from five in the 1960s and into the 70s.
The Fox network began and the first thing they did was compete for sports packages, especially football. The also presented sit-coms and hour long dramas, mostly aimed at younger people.
The 1990s
Sadly, the actually running time of shows continues it’s decline to fit in more commercials. At it’s peak one-hour shows were 52 or so minutes.  Soon they will be down to 42 minutes.  And lose their theme songs.  And shows are rerun more often, even into the next week.
For most of us, Satellite TV, introduced in the mid 1990s, was an extension of cable.  But for a large part of the country that could not get cable or Network broadcasting, this was a big event. Originally, Satellite users would NOT allowed to get local stations, but that changed in time. (Direct-TV, to get around the law, had broadcasting from Network stations from another part of the country.)
The 2000s
With Broadcast TV getting fewer viewers and less revenue, the FCC rescinds it’s rules and allows the Networks to produce and own more of their shows.  Note that the quantity and quality of these shows, in my opinion, decline. We get more “unscripted” shows that ae cheaper to produce.
More than ever, Broadcast TV, for it’s advertisers, want to draw in younger viewers.  Cable, especially “Pay” cable like HBO want to attract older viewers because they have the money to pay for cable.
For me, at this time, Cable TV became the source for adult TV.  I remember the original. Childish, Battlestar Galactica on ABC in the 1970s.  The new version, on “basic cable” was for adults. Bill Maher and others, were censored off Broadcast TV and found a place on cable.
Cable News grew (Fox, CNN, MSNBC) but (and this is my opinion) soon lost sight of delivering the news and decided to do 24 hours of commentary.
The cable movie channels produced new movies, for adults, without commercials. HBO and the other “PAY” stations grew the amount of its channels often having them specialized: Children’s, Women’s, Western’s etc. TV goes from “Broadcasting” to “Narrowcasting.”
Cable shows, “which are not broadcast, generally do not have to follow the FCC rules for broadcasting and are immune to FCC censorship. And like PBS they have no rules for the time length, or how many episodes there must me and even if the show has to run yearly. Following in the footsteps of the Godfather and Goodfellas, The Sopranos showed that the “Pay” stations can draw a huge audience.
By now we have raised a generation of viewers who a used to paying for TV and even Radio.  So streaming is not that difficult for them. (My mother would NEVER get cable, she would always say to me, “TV is FREE!!!!!” Yet cable had the movie, cooking and entertainment channels she wanted.)
So we now have streaming that, at this point, is the place for the better TV shows. Most do not go 25 episodes so screen actors could be convinced to play roles. It may also mean that there will be fewer “big” movies down the pike.
And as Chuck Lorre brought put in 1975 (see below) in a card at the end of the Big Bang Theory, many of the shows, news and sports that we once got for free are now something we must pay for.  

Broadcast, like radio, will always be with us.  But, like radio, I wonder how much it will be diminished. 

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Re: Broadcast TV?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2022, 05:30:19 PM »
My wife and I still watch a bit of broadcast TV. But some shows we liked got moved to Paramount +. Nice try CBS, but we aren't paying to continue watching those. 
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Re: Broadcast TV?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2022, 06:27:23 PM »
My wife and I still watch a bit of broadcast TV. But some shows we liked got moved to Paramount +. Nice try CBS, but we aren't paying to continue watching those.
The only Network shows I watch are Young Sheldon and Jeopardy (and I'm three months behind on this...thank God for TiVo). We mostly watch movies on disc (sometimes streaming) and the occasional Netflix or Amazon series. 

Lately we have been going through old TV shows. We watched MASH (on DVD) from beginning to end (fantastic show and consistent from week to week). We are now on Seinfeld (season 5) also watching on DVD. Season 4 of Seinfeld may be the funniest season in TV history...so many classic episodes from that year that really pushed the boundaries of acceptable TV. Previous shows we went through were Frasier (DVD), Cheers (Netflix), Big Bang Theory (Blu-ray), Parks and Rec (DVD) and Friends (Blu-ray). My wife also has all of the seasons of Little House on the Prairie on DVD, but she's watching that one alone...I have no desire. 

Thanks for the great recap Barry. it was a trip down memory lane for me (although you're much older than I am :))
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Re: Broadcast TV?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2022, 08:01:40 PM »
I find that more and more of my TV watching isn't from streaming services, OTA, and certainly not satellite (which we dumped about five years ago).  Instead, we've been watching a lot of YouTube.  

With easy accessibility on a smart TV, there's almost endless content, in so many different interests, some of the niche, but not necessarily like anything else on other services.  

Just for a single example, I got into sous vide cooking almost 10 years ago.  There's a super-fun channel out there called Sous Vide Everything, featuring a normal guy cooking different foods, and he puts out a couple of videos a week.  Super-niche, but well-produced content, and he's evidently making enough money to make it with his time.  

That's just a single example, but there are dozens of others, all free to watch, that can reach people with greatly varied interests.  There's no single channel that could deliver that kind of content.  And since most of these people are doing what they're doing out of a passion for it, it's endlessly more entertaining than so much of the mass-market (although even that has been fractionalized over time) dreck that is so prevalent.

I have no idea where any of this will lead, but there's no doubt we'll even see more changes over time.

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