Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Other Networks Run Screaming From "Idol"

Bill Carter of the NYTimes does a piece on "American Idol," how the show has grown in the ratings this season and how everyone is terming it perhaps the most disruptive and impactful show in TV history. Me, I'd still stick with "The Cosby Show" as the most impactful show in TV history. It turned cellar dwellers "Family Ties," "Cheers" and "Hill Street Blues" into hit shows, launched NBC's 20 year dominance of Thursday night which became the most profitable night of the week thanks to movie ads and set the stage for further hits like "LA Law," "ER," "Seinfeld" and "Friends." But "Idol" is massive. I wonder if CBS ever kicks itself for airing two seasons of "Survivor" each year, rather than one (probably not, since it's still a Top 10 hit) and if ABC kicks itself for squandering the equally massive, game-changing phenomenon "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" by airing it on four nights a week. (Every day, I bet; every day).


Anonymous said...

Michael: I'd like to throw in All in the Family as a show that influenced and forever changed the landscape of TV. Without All in the Family...no Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Sanford and Sons, One Day at a Time, just to name a few

Michael in New York said...

Oh, absolutely, All in the family was a massive hit that launched numerous spin-offs and changed the rules as far as what was acceptable on TV. (Watch it today and it still takes your breath away sometimes.) I don't think any other show ever delivered more hit spin-offs than that one. But I'd have to give MASH more credit for launching One Day At A Time. It came after MASH from Dec 75 to 79, on Tuesdays and Mondays, before moving to Sunday night and following Archie Bunker's Place and later The Jeffersons. It deserved those cushy slots -- it often scored higher in the ratings than MASH and Archie Bunker's Place. But AITF is definitely on the short list of biggest TV hits of all time. MASH -- only Seinfeld comes close in the size of its massive popularity, and not even close when it comes to syndication -- simply didn't have the same impact since it launched only two spinoffs (Trapper John and After MASH) with only one of them a decent hit and it didn't change the game for CBS. It was part of CBS's quality sitcom lineup, not the linchpin.