Will Hit Shows come back to Broadcast TV?

Broadcast TV producers who have created hit shows like “Seinfeld,” “ER” and “Friends” are facing a major crisis, as more viewers continue to cut the cord. As viewers move to outlets like hulu and sling tv for their content, Broadcast TV is now losing more than viewers.

“And the Emmy goes to…”

The 2018 Emmy Awards proved that broadcast television has some serious competition. They were snubbed in major categories at the Emmys this year. NBC ended the night with 16 awards, while CBS only won 2 and ABC was left with a lonely one. On the other hand, HBO and Netflix left with 23 awards each!

America’s traditional networks  basically invented television series while dominating the format for 40 years . Shows like “Dallas,” “Star Trek” and “MASH” are part of television history.

Nowadays, the leaders of television series are basic cable (AMC), premium cable (HBO, Showtime) and streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu). They are creating top quality programming with major stars and huge budgets that win major awards.

There will always be creative talent available for the broadcast networks, as long as their pay rates are comparable or superior. Netflix invested $8 billion in content for 2018 while traditional networks are still pouring $3-4 billion a year into their content.

According to Martie Cook, a writer and producer who also teaches at Emerson College in Boston, “If networks don’t change the way they do business, they won’t be around five to 10 years from now. They have to start taking more risks and stop pumping out the same kind of shows.”

There is some good news

Although the networks aren’t performing like they used to, they still create popular shows that do well.

NBC’s “This is Us” has earned critical praise and won multiple Emmys in recent years while Fox’s music drama “Empire” was must-watch TV for younger viewers. Most of the successful network shows are long-running series like “Big Bang”, now in its last season. Also, there has been success with crime procedurals popular with older viewers, like “NCIS.” Sports events are a success for networks. Broadcasts of football games are regularly at the top of the ratings chart. Additionally, big-time reality competition shows like “Americas Got Talent” and “The Voice” both on NBC garner large audiences.

Networks can still capture baby boomers because they grew up watching network television.  For younger generations though, network television is not something they race for. Without the internet and DVR viewing, people wanted to watch “Friends” or “Seinfeld’ so they could discuss it with friends and colleagues the following day. Networks need to create events that people feel that they need to watch live. And when that happens, viewers will come back to broadcast tv in droves.