Slumping economy, TV shows cut short

By Evan Duncan

The economic crisis is not just hitting businesses, banks and real estate. Most industries are pinching pennies these days, and entertainment is no exception.

Television networks are cutting costs, and the effects are showing up on screen.

Marketwatch.com says automotive ads, which normally supply one third of all TV ad revenue, are disappearing as auto sales decline.

Overall, television profit is down 40%. Executives are being forced to find new ways to be successful.

Courtesy MCT Campus

In January, NBC announced a plan to give Jay Leno the 9 p.m. central time slot five days a week. That means five hour-long dramas, such as E.R., will not be returning in the fall.

Conan O’Brien will be taking over the Tonight Show at 10:30, and Jimmy Fallon will run things in Conan’s old slot.

In the life of college students, who spend most evenings studying or with friends, this move may not have much impact.

Tanner Perkins, a junior English major, is unfazed by the adjustment.

“Let’s just say, watching Craig Ferguson at midnight is worth more than watching Jay Leno any time,” he said. “Jay Leno is only good for wasting time for the good shows.”

Even before the economic troubles, TV networks had been facing issues. Digital Video Recorders, or DVRs, allow viewers to record television and watch it later.

DVR users can also fastforward through advertisements. Web sites like hulu.com offer shows on demand with limited commercial interruption.

As fewer viewers are seeing ads, advertisers are not willing to pay as much as they had before.
Cheaper ads mean less money for networks to put into content.

As other businesses falter, even less money can be put into advertising, especially on a medium that is not as influential as it once was.

“I love Lost, but I watch it online,” said sophomore biblical studies major, Brittany Montgomery. “That way it fits my schedule. I can pause it when I want, and I don’t have to sit through blocks of commercials. I barely even use a TV.”

Despite the worries of executives, the crisis has been good for some shows.

The Sarah Conner Chronicles of Fox, for example, would normally be canceled after the low ratings it has received. But Fox, like other networks, has little material after last  year’s writer’s strike and low funds to develop new shows. For Conner fans,

Author: The Bells Staff

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