Be back to daily blogging next week, but for now, some semi-random thoughts:
Missing out on the chance to do a fall TV preview is not, in fact, missing out on anything, and you probably know why: there’s not much buzz for anything, and nobody’s even seen many of the new shows. As the AP points out, much of the talk is about shows that will be premiering mid-season.
None of this would be a particular problem if we could assume that some of the unseen or untalked-about shows will become hits. But there haven’t been a lot of “surprise” hits lately either, which may be related to the general lack of established hits: “surprise” hits often happen when a network has a number of successful shows, and can afford to ease a new show in by placing it after one of their established hits. A network without a lot of hits cannot afford to ease a show in that way; any show with potential has to be hyped to the limit because the network depends on it to be a success. Except that the hype, and the pressure put on the new show to compensate for the network’s lack of hits, probably works against the show catching on.
This may also be one reason why a network that implodes the way NBC did has a lot of trouble getting back its foothold, even if it frequently comes up with good shows (and NBC has rolled out some good ones in the last few years). A struggling network winds up asking new and interesting shows to do more than they can, without any help from the shows surrounding them. Of course that doesn’t mean that a network with lots of hits will always succeed in making more, or else NBC wouldn’t have had eight billion flops following Seinfeld or Friends. But it helps to have some big hits so the new, promising shows don’t have to do it all on their own.