• The Big Implications of Little Big Shots

    by  • March 23, 2016 • Best of the Week, Broadcast Decency, Family Friendly • 6 Comments

    NBC’s new G-rated show is family-friendly fun…and hopefully, will inspire change.

    On March 8th, NBC premiered Little Big Shots, an Ellen Degeneres-produced and Steve Harvey-hosted reality show that focuses on the talents of children in hilariously fun fashion.  That the show is rated TV-G is heartening.  That it’s now NBC’s number one show on Sunday is a big sign that there’s plenty of money to be made in appealing to an all-audiences demographic, even though no broadcast network has done so since 2008.  

    Steve Harvey maintains a bright, spunky interaction with the various kids on stage that rarely, if ever, falls into awkwardness.  The kids themselves are also very funny, and no doubt would appeal to children of all ages in a way that no parent could really fault, and will most likely find just as fun.  The show opened very strong in the ratings, and has managed to maintain that strength for a couple of weeks, proving once again what programs like The Wiz and other live musicals had already shown – the value of G-rated material.  The real question is, will this translate into NBC attempting to create a G-rated sitcom, something that is now the unicorn of network TV?

    Probably not, or at least one isn’t cresting on the foreseeable horizon.  It’s an interesting thought exercise, though, to wonder why not.  After all, enough evidence has been given in the reality sphere to show that there’s at least an audience for it.  There’s also the fact that major studios (Disney, Dreamworks Animation, etc.) have earned many pretty pennies creating similarly rated content for the big screen.  So why hasn’t it happened?

    Most likely it’s because of the risk involved in doing something new.  Network television, as much as it might try to fashion itself as a real ground-breaking medium, is incredibly risk averse and at this point, there isn’t anything to compare a G-rated sitcom to.  Basically, in their view it’d be a shot in the dark, and like many the kids that watch G-rated shows, nothing scares network executives like being alone in the dark.  The truth is also that this dearth of similarly G-rated content means that there aren’t any showrunners/creators adept at creating it, leading to a vicious cycle that perpetuates a lack of truly family oriented programming.

    Whatever the reason, it’s unlikely for now that NBC or any other network will make a G-rated sitcom anytime soon.  Luckily, there’s Little Big Shots to watch in the meantime with your kids…and hopefully, the success of Little Big Shots will continue to create an environment that leads to change.

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    About

    Brady Nelson is an Entertainment Analyst for the Parent’s Television Council. He’s a graduate of Emerson College, with a degree in Film and Writing Literature Publishing.

    6 Responses to The Big Implications of Little Big Shots

    1. Julie
      March 24, 2016 at 10:30 am

      I love this show. Finally, something entertaining and worth watching. Hopefully the networks will get the picture; not all of us are entertained by sex and violence. And so what if it is a risk – aren’t all new shows a risk? Look how many recent shows have been canceled…I wonder why.

      • Susan Long
        March 25, 2016 at 8:38 am

        I wholeheartedly agree!

        • April 5, 2016 at 7:36 pm

          I love the show an Steve Harvey my concern as a parent an grandma is the step the kids come down to the stage, they seem to wobble an I’m so worried one will fallI wish they would just make it a flat surface,

    2. D
      March 30, 2016 at 9:44 am

      This is not the only show on television with the TV-G rating. Here are some others that can be seen on a regular basis:

      Jeopardy is rated TV-G, and it’s been on the air since 1984.
      Wheel Of Fortune is rated TV-G, and it’s been on the air since 1982.
      Nightly Business Report is rated TV-G.
      MotorWeek is rated TV-G, and it’s been on the air since 1980.
      The Joy Of Painting is rated TV-G.

      Truth is stranger than fiction. It’s also faster and easier to produce.

      If you want more TV-G rated shows, you’ve got a better chance of long-term success using nonfiction instead of fiction.

      That’s just how I see it.

      • Jacob
        April 3, 2016 at 11:40 am

        Regarding that comment; I think the article was focusing on shows aired by the major networks, whereas the examples in your post are either on PBS or syndicated to air on individual local stations.

    3. Patti
      April 5, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      I look forward to seeing the Little Big Shots every week, I record it, just in case I’m not home!!! Love the show.

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