Even If the Strike Is Over, Don't Expect TV to Get Any Better, Warns NBC

Photo: Photo Illustration: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty Images, Courtesy of
NBC

Lest anyone get excited over the possible end to the writers' strike, the L.A. Times reminds us today that most of the crap on TV now was green-lit before the strike and it's going to get worse before it gets better. Sure, the writers returning to work means more episodes of 24, The Office, and Lost — but we probably won't get to see them until sometime in 2009. In the meantime, we'll just have to make do with reality shows like American Gladiators and upcoming ones like CBS's America's Top Dog and NBC's America's Favorite Mom (which was actually pitched, produced, and overseen by Web-based flower seller Teleflora), on which moms will, presumably, battle each other in a series of Gladiators-like physical challenges.

"We are not putting more reality on permanently," NBC wunderkind Ben Silverman tells the Times' Scott Collins. "It's just a strike-informed reality." Still, though, network TV was in trouble before the picketing started. Last month, at a programming convention in Las Vegas, NBC Universal president Jeff Zucker gave a talk titled "A Time for Change," in which he suggested the work stoppage was just an opportunity to do what had needed to be done for a while and called for "a re-engineering of our businesses from top to bottom" and for networks to "transform the cost structure of their business" (Collins helpfully translates this to "Make stuff cheaper").

What does this mean for you? If you're like most sensible people, you stopped watching TV ages ago, so probably not much. But if you're one of the unlucky Americans who doesn't yet own a Nintendo Wii, it might be time to get one. Unless America's Top Dog unexpectedly turns out to be excellent, which we suppose is a possibility.

TV's grave new world [LAT]