A 'Cheers' veteran explained the big problem with current network TV
Mark J. Terrill/AP
Mark J. Terrill/AP
"The sad thing that's happening to network television is the networks are thinking of themselves as 'branding it,'" Long said on the KCRW podcast The Business. "Our brand is this, our brand is that. And I always found that silly. I roll my eyes. As if the audience ever thinks that way. They never think that way."
Long's position is that the network would be better served having a mix of content: big splashy comedies, grown-up workplace ones, straight-ahead family shows, young-people ensemble shows, and so on.
"I'm not quite sure I know why a network has to be branded. It always seems like they are trying to outsmart the audience, which is never ever ever a way to be successful," he said.
One reason there could be an increased focus on a network having a specific "brand identity" is that network execs envision a future where they have to sell that brand directly to customers.
CBS, where Long's current sitcom lives, has made a huge effort to sell its Netflix-like streaming service, "CBS All Access." Beyond letting you watch CBS shows on-demand, All Access also has its own original shows that don't play on TV, like "The Good Wife" spinoff "The Good Fight," and the upcoming Star Trek show. Last month, All Access was nearing 1.5 million subscribers, who each pay either $5.99 a month or $9.99 for the commercial-free plan.
If you have to convince people to fork over $5-10 a month directly, it's good if the name CBS means something to them. Still, even if the future favors a-la-carte streaming services, that doesn't mean the brand has to be narrow. Netflix's brand isn't tied to a particular show sensitivity, and its content is as tonally expansive as its $6 billion budget.
- A massive study from Israel suggests older adults were far less likely to develop severe COVID-19 after a booster shot, but the finding carries major limitations
- Everything you need to know about iOS 15: Release date, new features, supported devices
- Watch SpaceX launch 4 space tourists into Earth's orbit
- Wealth management firm White Oak Capital gets SEBI’s nod to enter mutual fund business
- IPO-bound Pine Labs raises another $100 million
- Virat Kohli to step down as India’s T20 captain, says he had ‘immense workload’ over the years
- India's bad bank gets government nod — green lights NARCL with ₹30,600 crore guarantee
- Byju’s acquires yet another coding-for-kids startup, this time an American one