Over the past 10 years, what you watch on your tv has changed drastically. It has gone from what you watch on your tv, to what you can watch/purchase on your computer, phone or just about any other device with a screen. I feel like some sort of weird era where the television industry is copying the British Invasion... a television invasion or tele-vasion if you will.
With all the options for programming, ways to watch your programming and programming your programming it's a wonder anyone gets anything done, ever. So as a tv lover myself who should be doing something more productive, I would like to present to you all a summer seasonal review, not of what's going on in tv-land, but what's making tv-land go on.
In the past 4-5 years cable networks in particular have managed to define and redefine their brands to give the 'big four' (Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS) a run for their money... and ratings... and viewers. Once upon a time these top tier networks ran the world of primetime, but with the onslaught of both popular scripted and unscripted series there seem to be more and more crabs trying to claw their way out of the tv bucket.
Bravo for example has changed their slogan from "Only On Bravo" to "Only By Bravo" in an attempt to solidify themselves as a brand. The always posh network has used the popular unscripted 'Housewives' franchise as a smoking gun since 2009. However the network is being met with loads of new controversy this week as Housewives of Beverly Hills' Taylor Armstrong's estranged husband committed suicide earlier this week. As we all know, this very unfortunate and tragic event will not turn away news outlets or viewers.
MTV has always been known for it's irresponsible, youth-oriented programming and this summer was no different. Season 4 of 'Jersey Shore' which found the cast in Italy debuted with a record breaking 8.8 million viewers, a number that, ten years ago, would've been unheard of.
TLC cancelled Kate Plus Eight (a spin off of the record breaking Jon and Kate Plus Eight) seemingly because the show has run its course. This will more than likely send network producers and higher-ups on a search and destroy mission for their next golden ticket.
True Blood returned to HBO, Lifetime purchased Supernanny and will turn it into American Supernanny in due time, Oxygen has Bad Girls Club, AMC has Mad Men, Logo has Drag Race, E! has a multitude of Kardashians and the list goes on and on and on. It will be interesting to see how The Big O, Oprah Winfrey, continues her quest for world domination through her ironically titled 'OWN' network.
But what's really fascinating about this observation is that viewers are at a point where we can define a network by a handful of series in its' line-up. One would think that the array of options in television would lead to dramatic disarray for watchers, theoretically speaking, but it seems that now there truly is something out there for everyone.
And it's not just the new stuff that's keeping our eyes glued to multiple screens, Nickelodeon is taking the opportunity to re-brand itself using... well... itself by introducing "The 90s Are All That" and airing reruns of classic 1990s shows late at night which appeals to old and new viewers alike. The Hub is currently airing the cult classic "Jem and the Holograms" which created much needed buzz for the network earlier this year. (Check out my article on Jem and the Holograms on my profile).
It seems as though the 'boob tube' will be the 'old faithful' for media consumers in a cornucopia of outlets for years to come. Television networks have successfully branded themselves and continue to pay the price through good and bad publicity, good and bad ratings and most importantly risk taking. It's part of what has made this summer a memorable one for pop culture history. What will they think of, or re-think of next?
What did you think of this review?