When NBC decided to cede five hours of original programming from its schedule each week in order to make Jay Leno happy (and save some significant money), it was the first sign that the broadcast-TV-network business model as we know it was starting to erode. Over the last few weeks, there have been a handful of "Television is dead!" types of posts making their way around the Internet, but it wasn't until we read Josef Adalian's piece on The Wrap this morning that we knew things had reached the crisis point. After describing how many television shows are cutting their writing staffs from a dozen people to a more manageable four or five scribes, Adalian drops a bomb on us that we never saw coming.
Meanwhile, the little excesses once accepted as part of doing business in the land of show are no longer being tolerated. Even that most basic of Hollywood rights — extravagant catering — has been targeted.
As a means of proving his statement that actors will no longer be able to sidle up to a craft-service table filled with caviar, Fiji water, and jumbo-shrimp cocktail, Adalian recalls this anecdote that came from an anonymous TV executive who walked onto the set of an anonymous TV show:
Consider what happened when one TV executive walked on to the set of a pilot last spring. "It was the most amazing spread I had ever seen," she recalls. "I called over the producer and said, 'You can't have this anymore.' They understood."
Making matters ever worse, television executives were reportedly asked not to nosh on the food that they served the nation's television critics at recent TCA press tour events. The horror! We can only imagine the undue stress that this development is putting on the live-in chefs and nutritionists of the Hollywood elite. What's next to go, limo rides to and from the set? Will the highly compensated hair and makeup artists be replaced by trainees from Bo Rics? Although we're not sure which parts of the budget the studios will cut next, it's times like these that make us glad we don't really have anything in our possession at either the workplace or at home that could be described as a luxury.