SPECIAL REPORT – Community, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation and The Office will end their runs.
When NBC took steps to retire Jay Leno and install Conan O’Brien into The Tonight Show, it seemed the network was looking to the future. They were skewing younger, and it made sense. While not breakout hits, shows like The Office and 30 Rock seemed to be doing decent in their Must See TV spots. Then NBC became nervous and shuffled things around, sticking with the old and fearing change.
Television viewers like us are not watching television the way we did in 1998. If you miss an episode of a show, you can catch it on-demand or online. Maybe you recorded it on your DVR. If you don’t watch a show in real-time when a network wants you to, you can still watch it.
And lets not forget piracy. When technology moves faster than companies are willing, you get Napster. It took record labels years to realize people didn’t want to buy CDs anymore. They embarrassed the change slowly and reluctantly, imposing restrictions and difficult licenses. Today, most places you buy music will deliver it in unrestricted MP3. It’s so convenient, it would almost be silly to steal it.
TV Networks don’t seem to get it. They still want business to run as usual. Demographics like 18-34 span sixteen years of tastes in comedy and drama. If you’re closer to 34, do you still have the same taste in anything that you did when you were 18?
The old television model worked for networks because there were limited television sets and limited ways to watch. There are too many choices now and people want to watch television their way, when they want.
This fall, all four shows will wrap up their multiple seasons with an abbreviated season to tie together storylines and clear the way for new sitcoms and dramas. NBC is clearing house.
Rather than the network find ways to make it easier to watch their shows, they’re shutting off the valve and will focus on older people that don’t get how to use the internets. They’re basically targeting your mom that’s on Facebook.
Once The Summer Olympics wrap up at the end of the summer, the final twelve episodes of some of the last good comedies on network television will unload themselves before being milked for their syndication value and dumped for shows with studio audiences who will laugh when you’re supposed to so you know where the jokes are.