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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Caroline points out in the comments to the previous post that many execs liked CSI, but they were afraid to say so. Too smart for the American viewer. Too expensive. Etc. No one was willing to champion it.

The moral for networks to draw, given that the CSI franchise is practically carrying its network now, might be that the system needs to be amended so people aren't afraid to fail. This WaPo article talks about the corporate culture at Google, "if you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough." It's hard to argue with their success. Granted it's cheaper to try, and fail, on the Web. But while it's expensive to shoot a failed pilot, it is much more expensive to not have any programming people want to watch. These days networks can't expect to keep viewers with anything less than appointment television. Perhaps the standard shouldn't be that you can carp safely, but you get fired for championing something that fails. Perhaps the standard should be that if you don't champion at least one show per season, you're out.

The moral for writers to draw, I think, is how important passion is. If you have an exec who is passionate about you and your show, go all the way to give her what she's asking for. Your show might be a better fit at another network, another network might offer you a better deal, there might be all sorts of reasons why you'd move on. But nothing gets on the air without a champion. And, while you're writing your stuff, be sure you're writing something that someone can get passionate about. If what you're writing is merely good, it probably won't get made.

2 Comments:

The logic works for me. Looking forward to seeing it put to work.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:00 PM  

Interestingly enough, when the stakes are smaller, people will champion your cause. I see it happen all the time with docs and lifestyle shows that are mid to low budget.

You are right, Alex. If only our industry would reward the attempt at innovation, regardless of success or failure, we'd be better off.

It is a sad truth that the business part of our business gets far more attention and care paid to it than the creative.

By Blogger Caroline, at 7:17 PM  

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