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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lefisc's Avatar
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    Elementary, my dear Watson.

    Elementary, my dear Watson.

    I wanted to bring up a point about how TV now makes its money.

    From 1950 to 1970 the TV networks were allowed to own and produce all their shows. That meant they were able to not only make money from sponsors when they first aired a show, but all the residual, backend money which was HUGE.

    In 1970 the FCC limited the amount of shows the networks could own and that brought us independent productions of All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Mary Tyler Moore, Hill Street Blues and Blansky’s Beauties. (Well, they all can’t be gems). With a huge audience the networks made huge money just charging sponsors to advertise.

    By the year 2000, viewership had dropped dramatically and continues to this day. This is not just due to cable, but streaming, video games, computers etc. For example, at its peak the Tonight show drew 30,000,000 people. When Carson left it drew 15,000,000. Now it’s about 5,000,000.

    With revenues down the FCC now allows the networks to have great ownership in its products. They mostly produce cheap “reality” and “game shows” while the adult dramas are now on cable.

    Disney (ABC) dropped Last Man Standing, which was owned by FOX. Tim Allen still works for them (Toy Story 4). He had done 350 sitcom episodes and ten movies for them, but many conservatives said that the dropping of the show was political inspired. Money is not political.

    After five years the production costs of a hit TV show can grow over 50%. Not just the actors but the producers, writers and directors get huge raises. This is why Lucille Ball always started a new (cheaper) show after five years and why Star Trek started new shows after seven years. (In syndication their contracts were different).

    If Disney continued with Last Man, they would be paying the production costs of the new episodes and FOX would be making all the back end profits. When TV audiences were HUGE and ad rates were higher, this would have been enough for Disney.

    By today’s standards Last Man Standing’s 8 million viewers is great, but it is between 1/3 and ¼ of what Home Improvement did. H.I. peaked with 35 million.

    But with just 5 to 7 million people watching CBS just renewed Elementary, a modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Why?

    CBS owns the show and was able to sell it to WGN and Hulu and many international sources. In it’ financial statement, CBS reveals that it made an $80,000,000 profit on Elementary, all on back end sales and because they owned the property.

    So that is why FOX is picking up Last Man Standing, they have everything to gain and nothing to lose. You and I, however, may be seeing the last of good comedy and drama on free TV.
    Barry
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  2. #2
    Senior Member TrippleJ's Avatar
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    Very nice write up Barry. Money controls everything in media..
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  3. #3
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    I'm just glad the show is coming back. Barry...one other thing...Disney kept "Modern Family" whose ratings were slightly higher than LMS, but whose costs were a lot higher, although the show is much more PC. Just sayin'.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  4. #4
    Administrator Tracy Rainwater's Avatar
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    Blansky’s Beauties? I'll have to look that one up.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lefisc's Avatar
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    Hi David. You may be right. But also networks pay a lot for shows that anchor the night. That is their high ratings help the next couple of shows coming up. The best example of that was the bill Cosby show. It did so well that all the shows after that show did well. For example family ties and mediocre ratings until it was placed after Cosby and then their reading skyrocketed
    Barry
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  6. #6
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lefisc View Post
    Hi David. You may be right. But also networks pay a lot for shows that anchor the night. That is their high ratings help the next couple of shows coming up. The best example of that was the bill Cosby show. It did so well that all the shows after that show did well. For example family ties and mediocre ratings until it was placed after Cosby and then their reading skyrocketed
    Totally agree Barry, which is what makes LMS such an outlier. It was buried on Friday night (one of the worst nights of the week, although I think Saturday is worse) and it held it's own (ratings wise) with Modern Family, which was in a much more favorable times slot (Wednesday night). I believe in its final year, LMS had 8.1 million viewers versus 8.7 million for Modern Family. I've always thought that if LMS was on any other night, its ratings would have been much higher. I bet the premiere will get 10 million viewers because its become popular in syndication.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lefisc's Avatar
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    Friday night has traditionally been the dumping grounds for TV. Ask Gene Roddenbery.
    Barry
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  8. #8
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Exactly...that's what makes LMS such a standout because of the viewership it drew on such a bad night.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lefisc's Avatar
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    Coincidently, the NY Times today mentions how important an ANCHOR show is:

    The loss of “The Big Bang Theory” will be a major blow to CBS. The show has long been an anchor for the network and is, by far, its highest-rated series in the prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

    Then it wrote, as I had implied:
    The end-of-an-era feeling may be even more pronounced once “The Big Bang Theory” signs off. In recent years, few comedies have had the kind of blockbuster ratings success that the show has enjoyed, and many TV executives wonder if any show can ever come close to those heights again.


    Last season, “The Big Bang Theory” averaged nearly 15 million viewers a week, compared with the 5.7 million who watched “The Good Place,” according to Nielsen’s delayed-viewing data.
    Barry
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  10. #10
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Yeah...those numbers are staggering. We watched "Young Sheldon," which got better and better as the season went along and on some weeks, was funnier than "The Big Bang Theory." As for "The Good Place," we started watching that on Netflix and Xfinity streaming (season 2) and really enjoyed it.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

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