Few TV Shows Survive a Ruthless Proving Ground
As Talent Flees to Cable, Networks Fight Back Broadcast networks are offering shorter seasons and agreeing to air serialized shows uninterrupted by reruns to fight "cable envy" among series creators.
The Good, the Bad and the Future for the Networks This Fall
'The Web, too, may point to a better way. Netflix commissioned new episodes of the canceled Fox sitcom “Arrested Development” in part because its internal data demonstrated that the old episodes remained popular among its users. The data is far more precise than the Nielsen television ratings can be.
Of course, a data-driven development process removes a crucial element of television production: risk. “We’ve found that our biggest successes frequently have been our scariest ideas,” Mr. Newman said.'
So will AS go for data-driven or risky?
‘Arrested development’ stands out because it’s like discovering a favourite VHS cassette that you’ve not seen or a long time.
Or it’s like listening to a B-side vinyl record; you know the one where you’re a fan of the artist(s) and wonder why it wasn’t the A-side?
It’s popularity comes from boxed DVD sales. Each sale is the whole series! Bought by adults who know the set will look on-trend on their shelf (you know your ‘date’ will be perusing through your collection)
Tested, Fox Aims to Shore Up Ratings Among Young Viewers With Comedies
Thanks again, Lauri. You always have someting meaningful and intelligent to contribute here.
Really apreciate it. You should have your own industry/screenwriting newsletter!
Back to the data-driven or risky issue....
On the one hand, AS (like Netflix) has a boat-load of data based on what people buy/rent on Amazon.
On the other hand, a Web series is a "small bet" relative to the overall size of Amazon, so they can afford to take risks.
Their best strategy might be to try some of each...
What would you love to see on AS that might be considered "risky"?
Personally, I'd love to see some historical series like HBO's Rome and Deadwood or epic fantasy like Game of Thrones.
A science fiction anthology series, in the vein of Twilight Zone or Outer Limits would also be cool -- maybe based on classic science fiction short stories.
Those would call for bigger budgets than 1/2 hour comedies and kids shows, obviously... and thus inherently more risky...
But dramas and hour-long format shows don't seem to be in the current development plans...
I don't watch a lot of TV series, but I was definitely sorry to see "AWAKE" and "THE FIRM" bite the dust.
More so AWAKE, because it developed an idea that I had earlier formulated in a horror screenplay, about someone who wakes up in a different life, then returns to it when he falls asleep. There was an element of narcolepsy to my take on the concept, which I thought made it more believable (who could fall asleep knowing they're going to wake up in another reality?), but I thought AWAKE did far more with the basic idea than I came up with in my (2006) screenplay.
And no, I don't think they stole it from me. (Even if the script was a Scriptapalooza also-ran). Some things just come and go in the creative air....
Have you thought of doing a screenwriter's/writer's blog?
It would be great.
Hel - thought about it and even have a domain with a bare-bones Wordpress website, but don't have the time or inclination to do anything with it right now. Maybe after I sell something I'll make like John August and put some work into it. ;)
I guess between writing (award recognized) features, keeping us AS troglodytes from living in the dark, working in your other esteemed profession, taking care of kids, and saving the world, writing a blog is a bit hard to squeeze in:)
But if you ever do, you'd be great at it.