It’s clear cable programming execs have not been following the news closely. Had they done so, they’d not be making the kinds of moves we’ve seen recently.

If the country’s banking crisis shows anything, it’s that our largely unregulated lenders acted too quickly, greedily pushing loans down the throats of customers, often with only the most perfunctory of credit checks. The result of this rush to lend has become all too evident recently.

Similarly, have you noticed how quickly cable networks are renewing series lately? In the good old days, they waited until after a series had ended its season before announcing a renew decision. In today’s climate, a renewal often comes prior to a season’s end. Heck, several series have been renewed before their pilots hit the screen. Our largely unregulated cable programmers are not doing so much as looking at several months of ratings, which to us is tantamount to the quickie credit checks the banks conducted that got us into the financial mess.

In cable, the results are trending toward disastrous. Turner renewed Raising the Bar quicker than it took us to learn how to spell Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s name. HBO approved season two of TrueBlood so fast that network interns were dispensed to break into Chris Albrecht’s old office to find the secret stash of theatrical blood that he reportedly saved just in case The Sopranos returns. And the madness is spreading. Word is that during a recent lunch meeting, Steve Koonin greenlighted a concept for a series — a concept only, ladies and gentlemen — from Tyler Perry before their main courses arrived.

If you do the math you’ll find the failure rate of cable series is far higher than that of bank closures. This can only lead to an apocalypse of the kind that every cable executive dreads. We can see it now. After an emergency weekend session, Congress will grant Kevin Martin sole power to administer a $700 billion bailout of programmers. Can things get worse?

Return to 2008 CableFAX Program Awards table of contents.

The Daily


FCC Seeks Comment on NAB NextGen Petition

The FCC Media Bureau is seeking comment on NAB’s petition regarding the treatment of multicast streams under the NexGen TV local simulcasting rules.

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