December 29, 2009

Top 10 Biggest TV Biz Blunders of the Decade

5. Election Night coverage in 2000

The evening not only went down as TV news divisions' biggest blunder in recent memory, it also led to sweeping changes in how networks announce election results. At 8 p.m. ET on Nov. 7, all major networks called Florida for Al Gore, then moved the state back to the undecided column at 10 p.m. At 2 a.m., Fox News Channel, with George W. Bush's first cousin John Ellis running its election desk, was the first to project Florida -- and the presidency -- for the Texas governor. All networks followed suit until that call, too, was retracted and the state was pronounced again "too close to call" at 4 a.m. "We don't just have egg on our face," NBC's lead anchor Tom Brokaw said that morning. "We have an omelet on our suits."

4. MyNetworkTV

It was bad enough combining UPN and the WB into one new network -- the CW. But the biggest misstep was what happened to stations that did not join the CW. Regrouped by Fox Entertainment Group into a sixth broadcast network called MyNetworkTV, the company launched a bizarre plan to stock the network exclusively with original low-cost English-language telenovelas. The programming flopped out of the gate, and today MyNetworkTV largely airs syndicated programming and repeats.

3. Janet Jackson's Super Bowl nipple slip

The biggest problem was that it looked intentional. When Justin Timberlake ripped off fabric covering Janet Jackson's right breast for a half-second on live TV during CBS' Super Bowl halftime show, it caused a firestorm that resulted in CBS getting slapped with a record $550,000 fine from the FCC -- about a dollar for every complaint the commission received from viewers. The "wardrobe malfunction" led to increased worry about FCC fines and pre-emptive editing of risque content on scripted shows, as well as more vigilance on live telecasts.

2. ABC passing on "CSI"

In the fall of 1999, ABC was pitched a new forensic drama from writer Anthony Zuiker, Touchstone Television and studio-based producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The network passed. Then, in the summer of 2000, when "CSI" went into production as a new series for CBS, Touchstone, which was a 50/50 producing partner on the show, dramatically pulled out, not wanting to deficit-finance a show for a rival network. So far, the "CSI" franchise has generated $6 billion for CBS. What's more, the "CSI" snafu prompted Bruckheimer to leave Disney's TV divisions for CBS and Warner Bros. TV, generating billions more for them with a string of long-running procedurals such as "Without a Trace" and "Cold Case" and the Emmy-dominant reality veteran "The Amazing Race."

1. Writers strike

Has there ever been a longer 14 weeks? The 2007-08 walkout was a largely avoidable mutually destructive act that occurred at exactly the wrong time. In addition to almost wiping out an entire pilot season, the strike sent shows into repeats, driving a ratings crash that broadcasters have not been able to recover from thanks to increased DVR use and viewers fleeing to cable. In the end, writers outmaneuvered conglomerates, but few felt as if they actually won.

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You forgot one of the bigger blunders:
"Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?"

The biggest blunder regarding Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" was in how overblown it was and still is.

What about FOX cancelling Arrested Development?

you mention fox canceling family guy (which it brought back, so was it really that bad of a mistake?) and Firefly, a show i've never heard of and never heard anyone miss... but you don't mention fox canceling the best comedy of the last decade (IMO), Arrested Development... i guess you think it wasn't a blunder because its ratings were never too high, but anyone who paid attention knows fox never gave them a good time slot or tried hard to market them

You might as well just put "Fox cancels show/puts in Friday deathslot" and make everyone happy
Just a giant broad sweeping statement to cover:
Family Guy
Arrested Development
Dollhouse (not completely Fox's Fault)
and any other show I can no longer remember on the long list of stuff people still complain about

"...driving a ratings crash that broadcasters have not been unable to recover from thanks to increased DVR use..."

Care to edit this so it is not a double negative?

Funnier 'cause it is about a writer's strike...

Excellent list, I agree with everything on it. And I don't agree with canceling Arrested Development being a blunder, it was too unsuccessful.

bryan wrote "and Firefly, a show i've never heard of and never heard anyone miss... "

Wow, I guess you aren't into sci-fi because there is a small but *very* vocal Firefly audience that still mourns the loss of this show. They helped get a feature film (Serenity) made!

How about this? Heroes. Man, NBC changed Heroes from a fantastic show to a huge flop.

I don't know, the writers strike did lead to Dr. Horrible, so it wasn't all bad...

I have a problem with #2. CBS has 5 million viewers who never change the channel (sorry old people). Thus, everything on that network is inflated. If ABC had CSI, it would probably be doing 12 million now, nice, but not great.

astoddard: Read the sentence again. You're the one using a double-negative.

Whoops! Sorry, astoddard. I attributed the comment to you by mistake. I should have directed my rebuke to Cory Siddal.

ABC moving Twin Peaks to different time slot?

Fox cancelled the Ben Stiller SHow! BOO!

Oh wait, that was about 92. Well, hell, I liked that show a lot!

hey brent you fuck faced 'tard CBS has the second best in 18-49. It aint the 90s anymore granpa. save your bull shit cliches for your ancient fuck tard coz this 19 year old like most 19 year olds only watch CBS & FOX granpa

Election Night coverage in 2000
Article says:
"At 2 a.m., Fox News Channel, with George W. Bush's first cousin John Ellis running its election desk, was the first to project Florida -- and the presidency -- for the Texas governor."
Actually at 10PM CNN and CBS, (not Fox) declared Bush the corrected winner. CNN and CBS had a shared team. Giving the credit to Fox was in the movie Fahrenheit 9/11.

Oh I know how to read demos. Just because you're 49 doesn't make you a perfect demo. I stand by it though. CSI is neither good nor entertaining - just on the right channel. I watch one show on CBS - The Amazing Race. The rest of their shows are shit. I don't care if 200 million people watch them. Still suck. Look, if a rerun of the unfunniest sitcom ever "2.5 men" with the asshole Charlie Sheen gets 12 million viewers, you can't tell me there isn't something fishy.


The earlier comment that CNN and CBS declared Bush the corrected winner at 10 p.m. is incorrect. While both CNN and CBS withdrew their announcement of Gore as the winner of Florida at 10 p.m., they did not declare Bush the corrected winner until after FOX did so several hours later.

You forgot "reality shows" - crap and time waster.

How does this affect writers?

Janet Jackson's "malfunction" looked intentional because it WAS intentional.

The reason it got so much media attention and controversy wasn't because anybody was shocked by it, but because nobody believed the B.S. cover story they concocted. People will forgive anything except having their intelligence insulted.

The assertion that "few (writers) felt as if they actually won (the Writers Guild strike)" is total nonsense. We in fact won on THE major issue of the strike -- fair distribution of revenues the studios earn from the use of our material on the Internet. Writers will now receive royalties for all material put on the Internet that was written for another medium AND the Guild now has jurisdiction over material specially created for Internet sites run by Guild signatories. These were issues vital to the survival of our union as the distinction between the internet and other sources of entertainment continues to blur. It is unfortunate that management left us no choice but to strike, but we won in the end -- and so did TV viewers. The explosion of Internet reruns of popular TV programs is a direct result of our hard fought victory.

From everything I can see out here, the Writers DID gain a lot. While the strike was unavoidable, they dominated the studios and it was worth it to THEM - not the studios - that is why their union exists... like it or not.

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