The one thing sure to suck the soul out of a television show is a test screening audience. Generally, this group consists of non-entertainment industry professionals, hapless souls plucked from the street, folks willing to waste a few hours of their day because, well, there’s nothing better going on. Naturally, test screening audiences are the most powerful people in Hollywood.
Now you would think the highly paid, generally experienced executives at networks and studios would know from a good television show (or movie, no need to be exclusive here). These folks do not trust their own taste. It is imperative that they find a group of citizens to closely parallel a “real” viewing audience. The funniest show ever produced? If deemed dumb or confusing by the test audience, it will be shelved in favor of yet another reality show.