He Said/She Said: TV Executives

We here at The CuT have been thinking an awful lot TV executives lately. Like the rest of America, we’ve been watching two dramas play out on our screens. One is a true tragedy, unraveling in a completely devastated Haiti. The other, is a feud between a bunch of rich white guys — and we find ourselves siding with the funniest of the rich, Conan O’Brien (a fellow CT-resident, or at least he used to be). But since we’re all pissed at TV execs for different reasons, we think it’s time to air our grievances publicly.

He Said:

Any way you slice the late night debacle, NBC turns out looking like the stupidest of the stupid. I could do a better job with programming than they do and I’ll prove it.

Make no mistake about it, I’m no Leno fan. In fact, I think his show is not only horrible, but painfully unfunny. Find me a person under the age of 50 (and awake) who watches that show and I’ll give you a unicorn. But the fact remains, Leno was a cash cow.

He was the #1 guy in that time slot and Letterman didn’t even come close. Why in the world would you get rid of that!? That show was on cruise control; old people tuned in by the thousands and NBC made a ton of money off a show they didn’t have to put any effort into. Messing with one of the few winning formulas NBC had left was about as smart as moving into the Frog Hollow section of Hartford.

Is Conan funnier than Leno? People with taste, all their own teeth, and sans liverspots would probably say yes. But Leno had the ratings. Sure the commercials that aired were mostly prostate and osteoporosis drugs but there’s no point in pushing out the unquestioned ratings winner.

By moving Leno to 10 p.m., when viewers are still actually awake, NBC screwed the pooch in so many ways, the pooch stopped counting. Now, the conscious viewers are saying, “Hey, this show isn’t funny. In fact, it’s really bad.” Leno and NBC haven’t exactly been making friends during this whole debacle, and until the feud started the ratings were abysmal. Those poor ratings carry over into the late local news, which carries over to The Tonight Show, which carries over to the early morning shows. It’s just been a domino effect of lost advertising money for the peacock network and it’s their own stupid fault.

NBC seems to have no respect for how hard it is for a TV show to capture an audience. Leno, for some reason, found his audience and it was large enough to make a ton of money and they just kicked it to the curb.

Conan was due $50 million from NBC if he didn’t get The Tonight Show by 2009, but NBC estimates they’ve lost out on $200 million with Conan in the 11:35 p.m. time slot. Suddenly $50 million doesn’t seem like such a large buy out, does it? But mostly, I’m pissed that these people make so much more money than me for screwing up royally. I bet if Jeff Zucker leaves NBC he’ll be heading over to GM.

She Said:

I understand that everyone is all up in arms about what unfunny Leno is doing to Conan, et al. I think he’s a big douche bag too, but I’ve never been a fan and honestly, couldn’t care less about the hullabaloo . I mean, honestly, why should we all be so concerned with, essentially, the business of a bunch of millionaire white dudes?  The real outrage on television this week should be at Pat Robertson and his asinine comments about Haiti on his Christian program, The 700 Club.

“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it,” he said on Christian Broadcasting Network’s “The 700 Club.” “They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it’s a deal.”

Robertson said that “ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other”

I don’t think I need to explain what a moronic, heinously stupid, insensitive and un-Christian thing this is to say in a public forum. Now, if you ask RingNation, he’ll say that Robertson is a loon, and people should ignore him. The problem is that not all people will ignore him. Having grown up in a very Christian household, around a lot of very conservative Christians, I know that those in his audience regard Robertson’s blitherings as the word of God. After listening to his damning of the Haitian people as pact-with-the-devil-making folks, not as fellow human beings in desperate need, Robertson’s followers could easily choose not to be among the millions of us trying to do what we can to help them. Which hurts no one but those devastated by this disaster.

But here is the real problem: the network execs that give him a place to spout his non-sense. We all have freedom of speech, but Robertson’s show, The 700 Club, is aired on two family stations–ABC Family and Fox Family. Sure, it might be on late-night, but they still claim to be family stations, while helping to promote this insane idea that all the people of Haiti made a pact with the devil! I don’t want my non-existent kids watching that channel.

And it isn’t just left-wing, bleeding hearts like myself who should be outraged. Christians are getting a bad rap here. Most Christians are the first to come through with aid (Salvation Army, Catholic Health Charities, etc.). They are the ones who send their youth groups on mission trips to places like Haiti, old ladies make blankets to send abroad and whatnot. Robertson’s bile makes them all look bad.

Basically, no matter how you look at it, we should all be outraged that someone like Pat Robertson is allowed to spew hateful, insane lies on television–whether you are Christian or not. No doubt this is way more important than which rich guy makes what jokes, and when. If any TV executives should be held accountable, it’s the folks over at ABC and FOX for letting some hate-mongering nitwit spew filth on air. Or maybe it’s the sponsors we should go after…