The Little Known Secret about TV

The following was written by Dean Batali, lead writer for That '70s Show and former writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Behind the Screen, a book about Christians in Hollywood]

"The first step is to understand that TV is just a delivery system for ads. The only programming that really matters to those in power is the commercials (except on pay cable channels like HBO, where nothing matters except how many people subscribe).

The success of a show is not measured by how good it is, or who says they loved it, or even how many people watch.

A show is a success if the people who watched it go and buy the products that were advertised during the commercials.

It is all about what is being sold and (just as important) who is doing the buying. That is why shows like 7th Heaven - which was the highest rated show on the WB network for years - was never considered as much of a success as Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Dawson's Creek, two lower-rated shows on the same network. The perception was that the audience for the latter two shows had more money to spend, so advertising rates were higher, and therefore the shows were more profitable.

It might not seem fair, but viewers need to understand that the most-watched shows aren't always considered the most financially successful."