Seriously. Is the fact that another overpaid jock used steroids really newsworthy? Don’t they all use steroids? And even if the do, is there any reason I (or Congress) should give a flying crap?
However (and hear me out on this one), I do believe the current battle of the late night talkshow hosts is worthy of considerable attention. It’s not because I care about whether Jay or Conan (or Mark McGwire, for that matter) ends up being on the air at 11:30, but because this is about a significant change in the way one of America’s biggest industries does business. For those who haven’t been paying attention, a lot of people who know what they’re talking about are suggesting that this is an early sign that the commercial broadcasting model is starting to break down.
That’s what I was thinking, in fact, the moment I first read that NBC was essentially giving up on the 10-11 time last fall by giving it to Leno. I couldn’t believe it. I’m not at all surprised that it backfired, but I’m really alarmed that NBC is pulling the plug even though they have no real programming ready to take over the hour. It wouldn’t surprise me if NBC weren’t programming 10-11 at all by this time next year. Fox, The CW, and My Network TV already don’t–and never have.
Programming issues aside, though, I think the next year is going to bring at least one major surprise with respect to broadcast television. I don’t know what it will be, but when it happens, it should be recognized as the major business story it will be rather than dismissed as pop culture fluff.
Oddly enough, I’m bucking the trend by having gotten rid of the cable and the satellite. Local broadcast is all the TV I have now.