TV network executives like to claim that “we’re only giving people what they want” when they show graphic sex and violence; but recently, one top network boss admitted this isn’t true.
The writers and executive who work for the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox) frequently lament that programs on cable TV are able to be “edgier” – that is, contain more nudity, more explicit sex, more foul language, and more graphic violence. They see it as their mission to “push the envelope” by shoving more such content onto the publicly-owned airwaves, even at times when they know children are watching.
Sometimes, those at the networks claim that “we’re only giving people what they want”; but recently, NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt (who formerly produced the serial killer drama Dexter for premium cable channel Showtime) confessed the truth. Speaking in TV NewsCheck about the graphic violence and explicit sex on cable, Greenblatt admitted:
Most of them are little, tiny niche shows that we all think in our bubble of New York and LA, are massive, cultural game changers. In fact, my family in Indiana and Illinois have never heard of them. They didn’t get it. They didn’t care… The entire country, in spite of the fact that we live in a very liberal business, does not want to see lots of sexuality. They do not want to hear language. They do not want to see serial killers running around being the centerpieces of shows. They don’t watch those kinds of shows.
Essentially, NBC’s chairman is admitting, “We’re an elitist medium, catering solely to those in New York and Los Angeles who love explicit sex and graphic violence – yet we push that kind of content on everyone in America, even though WE KNOW THEY DON’T LIKE IT, DON’T WANT IT, AND DON’T WATCH IT!”
America’s broadcasters are allowed to use the airwaves owned by the entire American people – and use them for free – to make millions of dollars a year in profit. Why are they allowed to do so by forcing shows that appeals only to a tiny minority on everyone in the country?
Those in the entertainment industry often castigate the PTC as “imposing its views on everyone in America.” But the truth is just the opposite: the PTC represents the voice of most Americans. It is the tiny clique of writers and executives who work for the network who are “imposing their views” on everyone else. Who speaks for the majority of Americans? The PTC – and NBC’s chairman admits it himself!
At the end of his comments, Greenblatt lamented:
“How do you compete with the glossy, sexy cable shows, but also … not lose your audience?”
Here’s how: Instead of slavishly imitating what’s on cable, try giving mainstream Americans the kind of entertainment THEY want – such as live performances of The Sound of Music, or comedies about something other than graphic sex.
Such programming may not appeal to elitists in Manhattan and Beverly Hills…but it would bring in a lot more viewers.