Sunday, May 19, 2002

Where's Waldo?
In the industry that is television, the missing person -- we know he's there, somewhere, probably right out in plain sight -- is the viewer. Rick Kishman of the SacBee said it, although the article resides at KnoxNews:

Sunday night is a barrage of counter-scheduling with every network trying to hurt every other network because that's what networks do these days. And back in their offices, the programmers giggle like grade schoolers, the way NBC folks did after scheduling a Playboy Playmates "Fear Factor" during halftime of the Super Bowl. But the people who really get hurt are the viewers (and not just because some were unfortunate enough to actually watch that "Fear Factor").

For myself, it's not a problem. The marketers and schedulers have missed me: Since I only watch that one show each week, I never feel conflicted. But I realize that for millions of Americans who (falsely) believe that their opinions matter to television executives, tonight is going to be painful. Survivor or X-Files? Cosby or the Practice? Any one of them would dominate the evening's ratings, if it weren't being broadcast opposite the other three.

Whose interests are being served by this? Certainly not the viewers'. Sorry, Waldo. Buy another TiVo.

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