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Friday, 04 December 2009

 So, Comcast is buying NBC.  Wow.  The people who can't even give me a reliable interenet connection are going to be running an already confused network.  This should just be ducky.  Sort of like Afghanistan trying to invade Iraq.  I don't know how this will all turn out, but one has to wonder if NBC is beyond fixing, as is.  Perhaps this will give the network an opportunity to "rebrand" itself (for the 10,000th time) into something people actually gravitate toward.  Or, better yet, try NOT branding yourself for once.  Not long ago, I compared NBC to the Pontiac Aztec.  I was, of course, spot on.  GM kept trying to tell us the Aztec was cool, and awesome looking.  But, all we had to do was stare at for a few seconds and our eyes would start bleeding.

Let me give you a quick lesson on failing networks.  We'll call it Failing Network 101.  Here's how it goes.  Network gets lucky in programming, and reaches peak.  Network gets unlucky in programming and falters.  Network tries to copy other successful networks' programming.  Network gets worse, sinks into the abyss.  Network thinks coming out with new glossy promo campaign will convince audiences that it doesn't suck.  That's where NBC is right now.  Sucking, and trying to convince you it doesn't.  What is their new campaign?  "Get colorful?"  I'm not even sure.  It's just unbelievably depserate.
So, here's some free advice from a writer you've passed on three times NBC--make that FOUR (and people say I'm bitter).  Go back to the drawing board.  Get in a room, drink vodka, play beer pong,  whatever it takes.  Have some fun.  Come up with something sincere.  Keep it simple.  Just get back to developing good television.  What too many networks try to do (typically in vain) is brand, then pick programming that ONLY fits that brand.  It works for a niche network like Lifetime because there are 700 cable networks.  It doesn't work for a broad entity like NBC. The best kind of branding for a network is simply being the best.  It's like GM.  They make cars, trucks, vans--what if they only made one kind of car? They also have a brilliant branding platform and slogan right now.  "May the Best Car Win."  Drive our fucking cars, and YOU decide.  For years, GM tired to convince us their cars weren't shitty.  Now, for once, they aren't building shitty cars, and they know they've cried wolf too many times.  So, they know we won't believe them, so they simply ask us to take a spin.
Will that work for NBC?  Not right now.  But, it could.  Eventually.  When they have programming that looks good enough for a test drive.
Posted on 12/04/2009 9:31 AM by Todd Carr
Thursday, 12 November 2009

 MGM going out of business (sort of) is not much of a surprise to those of us who have 'tried' to do business with them over the years.  They have been developmentally challenged for a very long time.  It's amazing to me how bad so many studios are at what they do.  It's pretty simple.  Make good movies, and sell them.  That's it.  Yet, time and time again we see studios struggle to do this.


Well, the answer is, people.  That's why they struggle.  You take people who have no business background and made their way up the ladder reading scripts (or, reading the coverage for scripts) put them in charge of a multi-billion dollar business, and...well...there you have it.  How often does this happen in the real world?  Oh, hi, you have an English degree from Yale?  Super.  Manage my hedge fund.  Super.

It doesn't happen.

Producers used to 'retire' to studios after lucrative, meaningful careers.  Guys and dolls who were immersed in the biz, in the trenches, nails for breakfast, man.  People who could get shit done.  Those people used to run the business.  They knew the business.  Today, many of these people at studios never even made a film short.  They know what a grip is, but have never even met one.  

That's the reality, folks.  And, most execs who actually know and are passionate about filmaking get run off because these ninnies feel threatened.

We're all to blame for the current state of Hollywood, but you can place the blame for the downfall of MGM squarely on the people who have run the studio.  It's just not that complicated.  Make great movies, and sell them.  That's what MGM used to do.

Lord knows they've had every opportunity to do that, and couldn't.

And, by the way--they gave Tom Cruise his own studio.  They gave UA to Tom Cruise.  To run.  As in, they gave an actor a studio.  To run.  I totally get the pseudo Robert Evans model here (out of desperation), but Tom Cruise didn't leave acting to be a producer.   And, Robert Evans was never an international star.  The comparison was really apples and oranges.

Or, maybe just rotten fruit.

Posted on 11/12/2009 6:17 AM by Todd Carr
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