Parenthood’s Producer On Broadcast vs. Cable, And Continuing Denial Over Friday Night Lights
Anyone interested in NBC’s new Parenthood should check out Lacey Rose’s interview in today’s Forbes.com with its producer, Jason Katims.
A couple of the questions were particularly interesting to me.
Forbes: As a broadcast storyteller, what’s the biggest challenge facing your industry today?
Katims: I think the biggest challenge is that all of the networks are in some ways still trying to figure out exactly what they should be doing. There’s all of this incredible work that’s being done on cable, which people are hungry for and really demanding. But the networks are still in the business of attracting a larger audience, so it becomes a balancing act: How do you do something where you’re able to be specific and edgy enough to compete with what the cable networks are doing and, at the same time, appeal to a broader audience? That’s the line that everyone in network television is trying to tread.
That reads to me like “I’d have a lot more creative freedom on cable, but the money’s still a lot better on broadcast”
Friday Night Lights has the adoration of critics, but it has struggled to find a broad enough audience for network TV. What lessons from that experience can you apply here?
The frustrating thing about Friday Night Lights is I know a lot more people would respond to the show if they saw it. The most common response when I tell people I work on FNLis, “Oh, I hear that’s a great show.” I’ve heard that so many times and it’s frustrating only because I love the show so much. That said, I wish I had the answer to why.
I guess the obvious reason that not many people watched the show, because not many people wanted to watch the show wanted to watch the show, because they didn’t like the show, is tough to admit. I can understand that. If he wants to find some more potential reasons few people watched the show, he can try here.
Read the rest at Forbes.com.
Edit: Fair enough, my original quote in the last paragraph was no more supported by the facts than any of the “excuses” for the show.