Well, first Firefly and now Drive. Yup, the word is that FOX, in their finite wisdom, have pulled the plug on Drive only three weeks into the show citing disappointing ratings.The fact is that ratings are down across the board. I read THIS STORY in USA Today while my car was being serviced today.
Fox has the wrong approach here. You can't dangle a show like this in front of an audience for 3 weeks and then snatch it away; you need to build a fan base and word of mouth counts for much more than advertising. The fact is that people are watching less network TV; DVR boxes, downloads (both legal and illegal), along with Netflix and Blockbuster subscriptions mean people have more access to exactly what they want when they want and without ads. I know I would much rather watch TV shows on DVD than on TV, I make it a point to watch Drive but sometimes life gets in the way and I'm not going to turn down a night out with friends to sit home alone and watch TV. The fact is that I watch House and most recently Bones using my Netflix account. I can come and sit down at home, toss in a disk and watch one or two episodes without interruption, or I can pause to make dinner or answer the phone. The question isn't why don't I watch TV, the question is why does anyone still watch at all?
TV ratings are down, movie ticket sales are slipping. With HDTV, widescreen televisions, and ever cheaper home surround sound systems why would anyone want to sit through insulting and insipid ads when you know the series will be out on DVD within a few months (sometimes weeks) of the season ending. The time between a movie theater release and the DVD release is down to a matter of months instead of years. In fact some studios are thinking about doing concurrent DVD and theater releases for this very reason. The fact is the paradigm is changing, and I think the networks are the ones responsible. Just look at the type of ads we have to sit through. I don't know about you, but when they turn up the volume on the ads to try to get my attention while they prattle on about erectile dysfunction and the dangers of a 2 hour erection, diarrhea and the wonders of the human gastrointestinal tract and all the fun and exciting side effects of these wonder drugs I feel like changing the channel or throwing my TV of my 4th floor balcony. The commercials get longer and closer together as you get to the end of a one hour show - and don't even get me started on what it's like at the end of a movie. Then there are the omnipresent ads for wrestling or cage fighting or news magazines asking if I know about the "hidden killer lurking in my own home."
Is it any wonder that people are tuning out and turning off in favor of DVDs or DVRs? I know that if I had a DVR I would never watch another ad ever again. Oh, right, I don't I mute the TV and check my email or do something else.
Fox, like other networks, are victims of their own greed. They finally have squeezed all the blood they can get from the public and the viewers have drawn the line. The advertisement to entertainment ratio has finally gotten so lopsided that it's no longer worth while to tune in. Welcome to the digital age and The New Paradigm. The future is that of on-demand entertainment. I would much rather pay just for the shows I want to watch and nothing else. I predict that cable and satellite programming packages will be the last ones to go. Someone will offer a simple box to take the place of the current decoder that will download HD programming directly from the 'net in the wee hours of the morning when you aren't up. You will pay by the episode or for a whole season and you won't feel ripped off by having to browse past The Home Shopping Network and The BYU Channel in the process. This will allow TV shows to be produced like films, with investors (or fans) fronting the money for ideas they think will work. No longer will good ideas be shot down by shortsighted junior executives, this system will let artists own their own concepts and work so they can continue producing with whatever means are available.
Death to the Status Quo!
I'm about ready to give a whole new definition to "FOX Hunting." Anyone want to come along? *cocks shotgun*