Anticipating new trends: U.S. TV will be more diversified.

Author:Hornik, Susan L.
 
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In a highly competitive U.S. television marketplace, what does it take to be the best? At the recent Television Critics Press Tour, each of the U.S. network presidents talked about working on their Achilles heels, i.e. the areas most in need of improvement.

"This is a time for rebuilding at FOX and for networks in general," confessed Dana Walden, chairman and CEO of FOX Television Group. "Broadcast shows have not been the flavor of the month over the past few years, and for good reason. There were shiny new services that wowed you, and cable programmers who won your attention with fantastic shows that would never have survived on broadcast. Five years ago, they were doing much less programming than the networks, nurturing just a few series ... but the playing field has leveled. There's been an explosion of content, and now everyone is in the volume production business."

Walden continued: "We all take a lot of swings, some hits and some misses. But standing here today, I feel like we have a slate of new shows that stand up to the best of anything being produced on any platform. And we're in the midst of a turnaround at FOX ... While we think our slate is strong and we have some momentum, it's no longer enough to have great content. We spend a lot of time focused on the future of the broadcast business, and we're moving in the right direction. We've made a lot of progress making our programming available to our viewers wherever and whenever they want it."

Walden said that peak TV (i.e., the notion that TV has reached the peak amount of original shows possible, and that collapse is imminent) is a challenge. "A lot of the best creators are trying to staff shows with experienced writers who can deliver on an episodic order that works for broadcast--and that's no longer 22 or 24. You still need to be able to platform enough episodes to feel like a broadcast show. I find that to be the challenge, but we are producing 50 shows at the studio, and I feel pretty good about the creative talent behind virtually every one of those shows."

CBS is trying to increase diversity in their television shows, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. While the network has many African-American and Latino supporting actors, CBS does not have people of color as the leads of their fall television series. But Glenn Geller, president of CBS Entertainment, noted that they are "very mindful" about the importance of diversity and inclusion.

"We need to do better...

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