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October 6, 2002

The executives at the big three networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) are lamenting their poor ratings. For the first time in history, cable channels collectively draw more viewers than the Big Three. Since ABC, NBC and CBS have more money to develop and produce shows, since they have access to all the biggest stars and since each have a multimedia conglomerate backing their efforts, it seems curious that they can't rule the boob tube with a mighty fist.

Why are The Big Three falling prey to the puny budgets and gonzo productions of cable? Could there be a simple reason? Only the Beefboy is capable of delivering the truth behind that cosmic conundrum. So sit back, relax, enjoy, and let the Beefboy do, what the Beefboy does best… and that's break it right on down for you.

Ready for the big Fall Prime Time Season? No? Well, neither is anyone else, especially the Beefboy. The big networks are giving us a healthy diet of dinosaurs (and I'm not talking about Dinotopia, I'm talking about all the shows that have been around for a decade) and "new" shows guaranteed to make you want to take a long walk off a short pier. There's so very little out there, that even remotely resembles originality, that they should just show re-runs all season long and send the millions of dollars they will spend producing these dogs, directly to the Beefboy.
Here it is in a nutshell Beefanatics. The big three have 63 total hours of programming to offer in Prime Time. Out of those 63 hours, 22 1/2 hours are devoted to either cop dramas, medical dramas or law dramas. That's a third of valuable time that they're giving you the same product. The lack of real variety becomes obvious when you list the names of the cop dramas; talk about Attack of the Clones!

Third Watch
Without a Trace
Robbery Homicide Division
The District
The Agency
CSI: Miami
Law and Order
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Law and Order: Criminal Intent

Are you ready for the best new series this season? It's hands down Boomtown. If you like cop dramas, medical dramas and law dramas, guess what? Boomtown is all three! Shave my nuts and call me Sally! You know the Beefboy is going have an aneurysm to see such an original concept!

Meanwhile, look at what the cable companies are offering. HBO gives you not one, but several, seriously great series, including the Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City and Real Sex (okay Real Sex is only great to the Beefboy). Sci Fi has a number of solid original shows as does the Cartoon Network and Comedy Central. USA created a series titled Monk that was so good that ABC broadcast re-runs of that show in Prime Time instead of their own stale pabulum. The point is that all the shows that stand out on cable are ORIGINAL, a concept that obviously escapes the amazing pinstriped pinheads who run the networks.

The reason we get such a dearth of variety is that so much rides on success that executives are afraid to stick their neck out and try something new. If Law and Order does well- let's make Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. If that does well how about Law and Order: Criminal Intent? If that does well how about Law and Order: Meter Maids or Law and Order: Pathetic Cops Who Have Nothing Better To Do Than Harass People Going About Their Business, or perhaps, Law and Order: Slit My Neck Because I Can't Come Up With A New Idea?

The problem with that philosophy is that the American public gets sick of being beaten over the head, even with something they enjoy. If you keep going to the well, eventually it's going to run dry. Bone dry. It's time for the Big Three networks to realize that they have fashioned a creativity drought that rivals the dust bowl. If they don't change their ways soon, those pesky cable networks are going to run the whole show and it won't just be the silly old network programs that are dinosaurs. It will be the networks themselves.

Dig it!

-The Beefboy