Network TV is dead.
Maybe not buried yet, but laying in the ground waiting for a dirt bath. In the age of streaming, there’s more money to be made in subscription-based service than in ad revenue from ever-dwindling ratings numbers from ever-weaker programming on free TV. Netflix is doing to film and TV what Napster did to the record industry.
The irony of course is that the streaming/subscription model actually resembles the outdated record label model of forcing the consumer to buy an entire over-priced album just to get the one song they wanted. But that’s another story.
Any show that has (or develops) a following on free TV will soon find it’s way exclusively to a network streaming service instead. It’s not hard to see.
CBS All-Access? Putting their “primo” content there to lure subscribers is funny. And of course they go for the low-hanging fruit that is fanboys. And what better fanboy property than Star Trek (first Discovery and now Picard). Disney PLUS (the “plus” indicates so much more is to be had for a mere subscription fee) will soon take advantage of ABC programming the same way.
And NBC? Well, NBCUniversal is rolling out Peacock. We’ve already told you how uninspiring their lineup looks. But the subscription landscape is not gonna be big enough for everyone. Eventually consumers will discover that buying 10 albums every month for one song they like on each is expensive and makes no sense. All these streaming services will not survive in the long run, only a few of them.
Which isn’t the real story I want to tell. Instead, I’ll offer Peacock (stupid name btw – it has cock in it – I don’t care that you’re the “peacock” network, no one calls you that except you) a fighting chance with the one idea they so desperately need right now. And I won’t get the millions of dollars being paid by whatever idiots are making the content choices over there.
Here’s the show Peacock needs to revive: Cheers.
Cheers is arguably one of the best sitcoms ever. It was so good even bone-headed NBC programming execs knew better than to cancel it after no one watched it’s first season in 1982-83. It was literally at the bottom of the ratings.
It went on to run for 11 seasons, along the way moving to the very top of the ratings. And in the current reboot mania culture, this is the perfect show to bring back.
First, it had an avid fan base. Cheers was Seinfeld and Friends before Seinfeld and Friends.
Second, it would not be hard to lure back the entire cast – none of who have ever done anything better (Kelsey Grammer did great with Frasier, sure – but guess where Frasier came from?). Just PLEASE go back to Shelley Long instead of the insufferably whiny character Kirstie Alley brought on board to replace her in season 6.
Third, returning to the show would be entirely natural and organic. It wouldn’t feel forced. Those characters would all still be at that bar – just older!
Yes, you’d need to infuse a few younger generation faces but that’s easy. Sam is now married to Diane (and as with any marriage it is love/hate, and what those two were always best at). Sam now has a young ex-ball player protege (or son) helping him run the bar. Carla is still a waitress (part of the “never-able-to-retire” club), and Norm and Cliff are right where we left them.
Honestly, how has this not happened yet? Netflix would pay a bajillion dollars for this if Peacock was dumb enough to pass.
At least give yourself a chance, Peacock. You just need one big hit to sell the whole album. For now anyway.