A couple of weeks ago, ABC canceled Pushing Daisies, a show about which I could never figure out if it was crazily quirky or quirkily crazy. Either way, it was a show that I never really thought about all that hard about after it was over.
It was good, dark fun, but it wasn’t a show that I missed during the writer’s strike, either. For whatever reason, it never crossed the threshold into greatness.
So while I’m sad to see it go, I won’t be rushing out to buy the DVDs. Some people will, of course, and they are the people behind the inevitable “Save Pushing Daisies” campaigns, where no doubt 100,000 people all thought it was their original idea to send daisies to the “head of ABC.” Which, in the show’s iconography, would be the floating, disembodied head of Walt Disney.
Of course, you can send ’em dead flowers by the U.S. mail, and it ain’t going to help.
What will help? Two words: Time Machine.
Last night, I was watching Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, and during one of the time outs ABC turned their cameras to show the Celebrities in the audience at the Staples Center, one of the inevitable and annoying trends of the past couple of decades.
Naturally, ABC was running through all of the usual Celebrity suspects: there was Jack, flanked as always by Lou Adler and a young chick; Dustin Hoffman; Spike Lee, etc. Suddenly, out of the blue, there was an interview or something with Wall-E, the robot subject of the latest movie by Pixar.
And all I could think was “Gee, thanks for spoiling the movie for me!”
Starting on September 5, you will be able to access the CBS Evening News from the comfort of your laptop. That’s the good news. The bad news? After a series of what seemed to be good moves, CBS is taking a step backward. This time, it’s a classic case of protectionism.
The question is, of course, who is CBS protecting?
With Katie Couric at the helm, CBS is hoping to attract a younger viewing audience. Setting aside the fact that the audience they’re gunning for — the net generation — isn’t likely to be swayed by the addition of Couric, except from a curiosity perspective, CBS’s move seems like the same old appointment television with an online twist.
When faced with the world of 21st Century Television, different networks do different things to bring audiences to their shows. In the past couple of weeks we’ve learned that FOX will continue to ruin the baseball playoffs; ABC wants to disable the fast-forward button on DVRs and CBS is going to advertise on food.
Lame lame lame. (Actually, I recognize that the FOX/MLB partnership is shrewd from the marketing standpoint; it’s just that I’m a lifelong baseball fan who recoils in horror at being faced with Tim McCarver, those dopey “Sounds of the Game” and sitcom stars in box seats every goddamn October until 2053 or whenever it is.)
So just when you’d figure that NBC would also come up with some kind of dumbass stunt or idea of their own, they actually go in the complete opposite direction and do something very very smart.
Mention the 1960s and 1970s to broadcast TV execs, and you probably get sad sighs, as they reminisce dreamily about a time before the internet; before TiVo; before VHS; before original cable programming; before the remote control; when people would turn the TV to one single network and leave it there all night, watching the commercials and everything. It was the “Golden Age of TV,” for sure. Because TV got all of the gold.
Those days are gone, of course, but it doesn’t stop the broadcast networks from devising plans to once more grab, trap and have their way with a mass audience. Last week, ABC reportedly wanted to disable the fast-forward buttons on DVRs, and this week, CBS has announced their bold new marketing strategy: they are going to advertise on eggs.