Adalian Says It - "Less Is More"  [Kind of WQ-Like, Isn't It?]

TV Arts

WQ
I don't think his analogy is quite right nor his conclusion spot on,
but he's seeing something opaquely now that I've been seeing crystal
clearly for years.

From www.tvweek.com



Adalian Column: Learning the Lesson of 'Less Is More'

By Josef Adalian

The TV business could learn a lot from Justin Timberlake.

Mr. Timberlake, who became famous as part of the boy band *NSYNC, has
gone on to become one of the best-known musicians and celebrities in
the world. Whether he’s promoting his new MTV reality show “The
Phone,” hosting “Saturday Night Live” or being plastered all over the
covers of celebrity magazines, Mr. Timberlake is an unavoidable
presence in the pop culture landscape.

And yet, for all his success, Mr. Timberlake has released exactly two
solo albums during his nearly decadelong career outside of *NSYNC. And
he recently told Entertainment Weekly that he has no plans to release
a new disc any time soon.

“Right now, I like the idea that things can just kind of pop up and if
they feel right I can do them,” he said.

But just because Mr. Timberlake hasn’t put out an entire collection of
new tunes doesn’t mean he’s coasting on the vapors of his last CD.

Nor is he simply playing the part of a Very Famous Person, taking
advantage of the modern media’s thirst to turn even the most
untalented and unproductive members of our society—from Paris Hilton
to anyone associated with “The Hills”—into self-contained gossip
generators.

Instead, Mr. Timberlake has kept up his cultural relevance by becoming
the king of collaborations. In the last two years alone, he’s teamed
up to produce major hits with Madonna (“4 Minutes”), 50 Cent (“Ayo
Technology”), Rihanna (“Rehab”), TI (“Dead and Gone”) and, most
recently, Ciara (“Love Sex Magic”).

Rather than accepting the traditional music industry business model
that calls for a new album every couple of years, Mr. Timberlake has
decided to limit his musical output to only those projects that make
creative or commercial sense. He doesn’t try to fill some
predetermined quota for creativity.

TV networks, particularly those on the broadcast side of the business,
would be smart to learn from the Timberlake model: Less is clearly
more.

Truth is, there’s simply too much original content on TV these days.
The explosion of quality scripted dramas on cable, combined with the
Tribble-like multiplication of reality projects, has created an
impossibly overcrowded environment for entertainment-seeking
consumers.

Sure, the era of DVRs has allowed viewers to watch more TV than ever.
But no machine yet invented has given audiences the power to add more
hours to the day.

And yet this month in New York, most networks will continue to behave
as if nothing has changed. They’ll announce schedules packed with very
expensive programming, most of which will disappear in less than a
year.

Even cable has been infected with the must-have-more disease.

Networks including A&E, TNT and USA seem to be in a race to see who
can have a primetime schedule that looks more like that of one of the
old Big Three broadcasters. Every day seems to bring news of another
scripted cable drama getting ordered.

But where cable once seemed invincible, lately the flops have been
piling up. TNT’s splashy failure with “Trust Me,” USA’s inability to
keep “The Starter Wife” alive and the collapse of A&E’s “The Beast”
should be taken as warning signs that viewers can handle only so many
new shows, even by the lower-audience-level standards of the cable
world.

And yet, networks can’t help themselves. TNT’s Web site is currently
hyping no less than seven premieres of new and returning dramas
between June 8 and July 15—a network-style rollout I fear has little
chance of working.

Perhaps I’m just a sucker for the professorial-like passion FX
President John Landgraf brings to a discussion. But his comments to my
TelevisionWeek colleague Jon Lafayette last month rang true.

“When was the last time you had a broadcast network that had eight
original dramas on the air and you thought they were all good?” he
said. “If a broadcast network can’t do it, then I think a basic-cable
network’s never going to be able to do it.”

Mr. Landgraf’s comments underline why NBC, which has taken a lot of
heat for abandoning 10 p.m. dramas in favor of stripping Jay Leno,
might actually be on the right path.

Mr. Leno’s show might not get huge ratings. And a number of
knowledgeable industry insiders insist that the short-term cost
savings associated with Mr. Leno’s broadcast won’t be nearly enough to
offset the advertising revenue NBC will lose by not running advertiser-
friendly, high-quality scripted shows at 10.

But even if stripping Mr. Leno turns out to be a bad idea, the notion
of cutting back on original scripted programming is one that just
makes sense.

Series have become so expensive and ubiquitous across the TV
landscape, why should networks continue to operate as if the old three-
hours-per-night model is the only one that works? Why assume that
viewers want such an abundance of first-run fare?

Showtime recently seemed to cast a vote in favor of programming (and
fiscal) discipline when it opted not to greenlight any of its most
recent batch of pilots to series. Maybe none of the shows were that
great—or perhaps Showtime executives decided they have enough good
shows on their schedule right now. Why rush more on?

I’m not suggesting a one-size-fits-all solution. CBS, with its broad
demographics and strong sense of identity, seems to be having little
trouble competing three hours a night, seven nights a week. If the old
model is still working for it, God bless.

Networks need to get out of the mindset that churning out the same
amount of programming each year is the only way to succeed. They ought
to take a cue from Mr. Timberlake and realize that sometimes you can
accomplish more by producing less.
                                            
Socialist
WQ-Like? maybe. Unless of course you're talking about the Government, where 
you believe that more is more.





I don't think his analogy is quite right nor his conclusion spot on,
but he's seeing something opaquely now that I've been seeing crystal
clearly for years.

From www.tvweek.com



Adalian Column: Learning the Lesson of 'Less Is More'

By Josef Adalian

The TV business could learn a lot from Justin Timberlake.

Mr. Timberlake, who became famous as part of the boy band *NSYNC, has
gone on to become one of the best-known musicians and celebrities in
the world. Whether he’s promoting his new MTV reality show “The
Phone,” hosting “Saturday Night Live” or being plastered all over the
covers of celebrity magazines, Mr. Timberlake is an unavoidable
presence in the pop culture landscape.

And yet, for all his success, Mr. Timberlake has released exactly two
solo albums during his nearly decadelong career outside of *NSYNC. And
he recently told Entertainment Weekly that he has no plans to release
a new disc any time soon.

“Right now, I like the idea that things can just kind of pop up and if
they feel right I can do them,” he said.

But just because Mr. Timberlake hasn’t put out an entire collection of
new tunes doesn’t mean he’s coasting on the vapors of his last CD.

Nor is he simply playing the part of a Very Famous Person, taking
advantage of the modern media’s thirst to turn even the most
untalented and unproductive members of our society—from Paris Hilton
to anyone associated with “The Hills”—into self-contained gossip
generators.

Instead, Mr. Timberlake has kept up his cultural relevance by becoming
the king of collaborations. In the last two years alone, he’s teamed
up to produce major hits with Madonna (“4 Minutes”), 50 Cent (“Ayo
Technology”), Rihanna (“Rehab”), TI (“Dead and Gone”) and, most
recently, Ciara (“Love Sex Magic”).

Rather than accepting the traditional music industry business model
that calls for a new album every couple of years, Mr. Timberlake has
decided to limit his musical output to only those projects that make
creative or commercial sense. He doesn’t try to fill some
predetermined quota for creativity.

TV networks, particularly those on the broadcast side of the business,
would be smart to learn from the Timberlake model: Less is clearly
more.

Truth is, there’s simply too much original content on TV these days.
The explosion of quality scripted dramas on cable, combined with the
Tribble-like multiplication of reality projects, has created an
impossibly overcrowded environment for entertainment-seeking
consumers.

Sure, the era of DVRs has allowed viewers to watch more TV than ever.
But no machine yet invented has given audiences the power to add more
hours to the day.

And yet this month in New York, most networks will continue to behave
as if nothing has changed. They’ll announce schedules packed with very
expensive programming, most of which will disappear in less than a
year.

Even cable has been infected with the must-have-more disease.

Networks including A&E, TNT and USA seem to be in a race to see who
can have a primetime schedule that looks more like that of one of the
old Big Three broadcasters. Every day seems to bring news of another
scripted cable drama getting ordered.

But where cable once seemed invincible, lately the flops have been
piling up. TNT’s splashy failure with “Trust Me,” USA’s inability to
keep “The Starter Wife” alive and the collapse of A&E’s “The Beast”
should be taken as warning signs that viewers can handle only so many
new shows, even by the lower-audience-level standards of the cable
world.

And yet, networks can’t help themselves. TNT’s Web site is currently
hyping no less than seven premieres of new and returning dramas
between June 8 and July 15—a network-style rollout I fear has little
chance of working.

Perhaps I’m just a sucker for the professorial-like passion FX
President John Landgraf brings to a discussion. But his comments to my
TelevisionWeek colleague Jon Lafayette last month rang true.

“When was the last time you had a broadcast network that had eight
original dramas on the air and you thought they were all good?” he
said. “If a broadcast network can’t do it, then I think a basic-cable
network’s never going to be able to do it.”

Mr. Landgraf’s comments underline why NBC, which has taken a lot of
heat for abandoning 10 p.m. dramas in favor of stripping Jay Leno,
might actually be on the right path.

Mr. Leno’s show might not get huge ratings. And a number of
knowledgeable industry insiders insist that the short-term cost
savings associated with Mr. Leno’s broadcast won’t be nearly enough to
offset the advertising revenue NBC will lose by not running advertiser-
friendly, high-quality scripted shows at 10.

But even if stripping Mr. Leno turns out to be a bad idea, the notion
of cutting back on original scripted programming is one that just
makes sense.

Series have become so expensive and ubiquitous across the TV
landscape, why should networks continue to operate as if the old three-
hours-per-night model is the only one that works? Why assume that
viewers want such an abundance of first-run fare?

Showtime recently seemed to cast a vote in favor of programming (and
fiscal) discipline when it opted not to greenlight any of its most
recent batch of pilots to series. Maybe none of the shows were that
great—or perhaps Showtime executives decided they have enough good
shows on their schedule right now. Why rush more on?

I’m not suggesting a one-size-fits-all solution. CBS, with its broad
demographics and strong sense of identity, seems to be having little
trouble competing three hours a night, seven nights a week. If the old
model is still working for it, God bless.

Networks need to get out of the mindset that churning out the same
amount of programming each year is the only way to succeed. They ought
to take a cue from Mr. Timberlake and realize that sometimes you can
accomplish more by producing less.