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July 18 2004

Shouldn't the guy in charge of the WB at least watch his network? Article points out how Ancier and new guy Janollari, seem to not even watch the shows they have on their network. So, why should we believe them when they talk about wanting Angel back, if they never even watched while it was on.

"In a session with Ancier and Janollari, Janollari admitted he'd never seen the mean-spirited reality show "Superstar," which basically made horrible singers think they had some pipes.
"It's in a pile on my desk," explains Janollari. "I've been trying to get to it."
Yeah. Welcome to our world.
When questions came out about "Charmed" storylines, Ancier ran for cover as he explained he really didn't keep up with the show. He also didn't know who was on "Everwood," or ... well, we won't bore you. You get the picture.
But he did know that although he canceled "Angel," he does want the vampire series back as TV movies. What a bloodsucker."

OMG - how desperate are they ..... even Mark Burnett knows the sitcom he created sucks - his response regarding his sitcom Commando Nanny, "Hey, you can't always win," he says. "Besides, what do I know about scripted TV shows? I thought it was OK."

Am I the only one going 'huh' to that comment? Anyone else starting to be glad they did cancel Angel - cause don't think I would really want it on such a sinking ship of a network.

Then you have the new drama show stars balking at the idea of actually doing something that they make get injured at doing such as 'The Mountain' star Hudson who said, "Maybe I'll just stick to the shots of me driving away," he says with a laugh." after he found out that he may break something doing his own dirt biking for the show. Btw his character is an avid dirt bike racer. It makes me ill when I think of the times David, James, and others have worked through injuries to make sure the shots were as real as they could be and now the WB has went an found shows that employs wimps and non writers - I'm glad Angel is not on the WB I wouldn't want such quality tarnished by the trash they are adding to that line-up.

[ edited by RavenU on 2004-07-18 05:09 ]
Isn't that what stunt doubles are for?
I know pleanty of elementry school kids who could run that station better. Seems like the new guys are scrambling to undo Levin's damage...and not succeeding.
I'd be surprised if more than a handful of the top network executives watched their own shows. That high up, they're bound to be more about profits and less about keeping in touch with the creative element.
Yeah but there is an old adage about knowing the product your selling. Heck CEO of Japanese corporations spend 1 day every year working on the line assembling their products and at Papa Johns Pizza corporate offices everyone must work 1 day a quarter in the cafetaria making pizza. So why is it any different for network execs. The NBC execs always seem to know at least the shows on their network - even if it means having someone do a recap for them before they face the media - these guys are so idiotic that they don't even do that.
"Duhh-h, the shows? I'd rather hit a golf ball. Give it to my assistant, oh, errrrr, what's his name again?" - Any higher-up at the WB.
I mean seriously did they not think before they went before the press or are they convinced themselves that their network is going downhill so they don't even care anymore. I mean at least have some professionalism and get briefed about the story plots of their shows. Personally the only show I watch on the WB is Smallville now that they cancelled Angel but I can do without Smallville. And the whole thing about wanting Angel TV movies the only reaso tehy want to make the movies now is because their netweork is failing and they know if they make the movies they are guarenteed millions of viewers. I wouldn't be surprised if they said something about a spin-off. But I could really care less what they say now because I don't believe a darn thing they say now. And I hope Joss does something with Angel on DVD or HBO. Thta's just me though... Sorry for the rant once I get started its hard to stop :)
In regards to Mark Burnett's quote on Commando Nanny "Hey, you can't always win," "Besides, what do I know about scripted TV shows? I thought it was OK."

Do you have a source for that, since honestly that made me laugh quite a bit.

This is what Angel gets cancelled for, a show which even the creator believes is not up to par.
hmmm... so the CEOs of the WB are running shows they dont watch. So, if the president of a network can't find his own stuff entertaining, how does he expect america to be amused?

They should stop looking at numbers, pie charts, and anythign labeled "demographic" and get in touch with what makes the network possible: the SHOWS.

Perhaps it's an inward fear, that if they watch their own station they'll see how bad it is and be forced to admit their careers are shot.
Rabid - the quote from Mark Burnett is from the above article.
lol, I completely missed that, I just did a basic skim-over.

Thanks nonetheless RavenU
They should stop looking at numbers, pie charts, and anythign labeled "demographic" and get in touch with what makes the network possible: the SHOWS.

Ancier and Janollari definitely seem to have their heads up their bums. Nevertheless, I do not think they are that different from most other executives in that their primary focus is the revenue their shows can generate.

When Levin let Angel go, he mentioned the fact that the show's audience was not growing and that it did not repeat well—both legitimate concerns from a business perspective. When you have to stock holders and employees to keep happy, the decisions you make about programming cannot simply be made based on the artistic merits of your shows. When it comes to priorities, the order of precedence is always make money, then make art. I think if the WB had more shows getting good ratings, we'd be reading (or avoiding) spoiler posts for season 6.

Obviously, we Whedonites are inclined to say, “Give us art and the money will come”, but the numbers generated by reality TV indicate that a seeming majority of viewers do not share our definition of 'art'.
Obviously, we Whedonites are inclined to say, “Give us art and the money will come”, but the numbers generated by reality TV indicate that a seeming majority of viewers do not share our definition of 'art'.

What's better than a low-budget show where you don't have to hire real actors or writers, and the public tunes in by the millions?!

I think in most of the entertainment world, art will always lose to mass produced clap-traps. It's why excellent indy films end up being 'indy' and not promoted with every Happy Meal or at every commercial break. It's why small-time bands with a unique sound rarely get a shot while over-produced crap gets shoved down our throats on the airwaves.

It's also why hubby and I usually shelter ourselves in the safe haven of dvds, and rarely watch network tv anymore.
"When Levin let Angel go, he mentioned the fact that the show's audience was not growing and that it did not repeat well—both legitimate concerns from a business perspective."

And both are primarily bogus - first of all of the aging series on the WB last season only Angel (btw-the only full season drama they canceled last season) showed a ratings increase over it last 2 seasons by about 11% (hmmm, I would think that would be an indicator of audience growth). Secondly, to repeat well, well for one it must be repeated period. The WB dropped the ball here big time - Buffy was leaving the air over at UPN and Angel was coming back for a 5th season with the addition of Spike to the cast. Now forgive me if my logic gets in the way but wouldn't you think that they would show Angel over the summer to try to cash in on the fact that the Buffy fans would spill over to Angel to try to catch up on the show for those who may not have ever seen it (the latecomers to Buffy) or who had not watched in a long time. Yet what did they do, nothing absolutely and positively nothing they did not repeat any episodes from season 4 until 2 weeks before season 5 and then they have the nerver to say it does not repeat well - ok now we know that holds no water, lets move on....

"When you have to stock holders and employees to keep happy, the decisions you make about programming cannot simply be made based on the artistic merits of your shows. When it comes to priorities, the order of precedence is always make money, then make art. I think if the WB had more shows getting good ratings, we'd be reading (or avoiding) spoiler posts for season 6."

Hmmm, again I must point out that part of the save angel campaign had the Tribune Corp calling for another season of Angel along with the fans and Tribune holds about a 20% of the stock interest in the WB network and they didn't seem to care about what they had to say.

I know part of it was about the money, but part of me always had the nagging feeling it was about polotics and retribution as well.
(hmmm, I would think that would be an indicator of audience growth). Secondly, to repeat well, well for one it must be repeated period.

The angle I was going for was that the WB didn't see the growth potential it felt it needed, not that Angel hadn't shown growth. For example, if the WB felt it needed 10 million viewers (just a number, not meant to be accurate) and Angel grew from 5 to 7 million viewers, the WB is still left 3 million short of its target.

You're right about the repeat thing. It's like Fox saying Wonderfalls didn't perform well on Thursdays.

but part of me always had the nagging feeling it was about polotics and retribution as well.

I have to agree that there more variables involved than just the bottom line. I tackled the business aspect because I'm sure it plays a big part. The recent news that 20th requested an early decision on Angel's renewal also puts a different light on the situation.

Hmmm, again I must point out that part of the save angel campaign had the Tribune Corp calling for another season of Angel along with the fans and Tribune holds about a 20% of the stock interest in the WB network and they didn't seem to care about what they had to say.

Speaking of politics, the skeptic in me can't help but wonder if Tribune wasn't simply trying to look good in the eyes of the fans. The uproar over the cancellation was greater than anticipated, so Tribune did some baby kissing and hand shaking to distance themselves from the stinkers at the WB.

[ edited by Ubqtous on 2004-07-18 09:06 ]
I can totally believe Ancier and Janollari don't watch the shows on their own network. Perhaps they've noticed their programming is, well, pretty crappy?

Frankly, this is the first sensible thing I've heard out of either of them. I can only hope they're spending their time watching shows on other networks that are actually good, and picking up a few pointers.

AFA 'art vs. money' goes, that's an argument as old as time. As a writer/art maker, I'll just say this: Art doesn't depend on money; the commercialization of art depends on money. My husband works in a contemporary art museum for a living and I see how the system works. He's just the preparator -- handling the art, hanging and lighting and making sure it all looks swell for the openings. Meanwhile, while these (for the most part) Ivy League- educated trust-fund kids are getting written up in 'Art in America', he's coming home after a hard day of steppin' and fetchin' for others to work on oil paintings of his own in his leaky backyard studio. Other galleries around town will show him, but not the place where he works. Because he's not monied; he doesn't have the right pedigree. And he's not working in the current vogue. (Paintings are out, he tells me. Performance art, conceptual art, deconstructivist art, political art, in. That's okay. I reap the benefits of his 25 years of largely unheralded dedication to his own vision and craft. What doesn't sell covers the walls of our home in beautiful, original canvases.)

Art, like anything else, is balanced between twin poles -- and warring factions. There are those who actually create art, and those who attach themselves to the creators in order to profit from it. Transferring the terms the art world to Hollywood makes little difference in terms of discussing the reality. The former group will make art (or films, TV, books, etc.) regardless of whether they can profit from it or not; they are compelled by psychology to impress their imaginations upon the world. The latter group (replace gallery directors, dealers and curators with TV executives, publicists, and marketers) can only use what's made by someone else, since they often seem to have little imagination of their own, and there's an underlying desperation there because their professional and financial existence depends on someone else's vision. Ultimately, though, what's produced by the first group has soul, and the other doesn't. (Not to say that the two can't work together. But even so, it's an uneasy partnership, and often the artist ends up getting screwed. (See Firefly, Wonderfalls and Angel.))

Until the WB -- and all networks, studios, production companies and corporate boards -- stop using creative people as pawns in a game to advance themselves for money, and start appreciating the real power of art, and support what creatives and their art can do to elevate both the networks and the society in which those networks operate, they'll never acquire that soul.

Nor are they due our accord until they do. We have our own souls to consider, after all, and they require constant feeding. TV these days is stingy fare indeed; you could starve on a diet of reality TV and sequentially cloned procedural dramas. Maybe some viewers are content with slops, but I'm looking for better. One you've had ME, that trough just isn't appealing any more. ;)

(And yes, I'm aware of how naive and idealistic all this may sound to some. It's the other side of my usual cynicism and, lately, incredible TV-bitterness.)

I also think there's a political (and personal) aspect to ME's projects all falling on such hard times recently, but like the WMD we can't seem to locate in Iraq, I don't have any concrete proof.
"The recent news that 20th requested an early decision on Angel's renewal also puts a different light on the situation."

Actually they got that wrong as well it was Joss who ask that of Levin, not 20th century. Saying Fox did it makes it sound more business like, although they were probably in negositations with FOX at the time, cause FOX seemed just as caught off guard as everyone else when the cancelation was announced. Why else scramble to put together an offer to another network. Again the WB lacks homework skills.

"Speaking of politics, the skeptic in me can't help but wonder if Tribune wasn't simply trying to look good in the eyes of the fans. The uproar over the cancellation was greater than anticipated, so Tribune did some baby kissing and hand shaking to distance themselves from the stinkers at the WB."

Perhaps except that Tribune has always been a major proponate of genre TV - they produced a lot of the syndicated genre shows like Mutant X and Andromeda. They also were actually making money on Angel in different markets since they were showing Angel in areas where there was no WB affiliate but they had a UPN or FOX affiliate which means it played outside of the Nielsen rating reports for most part. Angel was one of the few shows that was being broadcast like that on Tribune owned stations.
"When you have to stock holders and employees to keep happy, the decisions you make about programming cannot simply be made based on the artistic merits of your shows. When it comes to priorities, the order of precedence is always make money, then make art. I think if the WB had more shows getting good ratings, we'd be reading (or avoiding) spoiler posts for season 6."

Well another element of any business is not just the short term buck, but the long run as well. Even if reality shows are cheap and the 'hype' right now, a child can see it's not going to be the foundation of any company in the long run. Anyone thing "My fat obnoxious fiance" is going to last 5 seasons??

I've heard that on a global view, one of the problems of american companies is that to them 'long term' is 1-2 years, whereas many european or japanese companies think in 10-15 years. Now obviously TV is a fickle business but the long run is still a factor. You won't be able to live off of extreme fads.

Also not every show is going to be a ratings giant. Most of them (if not all) won't be, and that's another thing you should calculate in there as well. You'll still need to fill out the hours on TV won't you? If you're going to cancel everything that isn't a runaway hit, you'll be left with very little.

Angel had lasted for years. It took the budget cuts they told them to make it cheaper and then it brought it more viewers than any other season. And, perhaps more importantly, it's numbers were steady. In this fickle business and especially in today's landscape that is nothing to sneeze at.

And one of the reasons was the Dark Shadows plans. Can't have two vamp shows. And this one will be TEEN oriented. Let's cancel that Angel show. Woo hoo! Oh wait, this Dark Shadows thing sucks....let's not air it. Uh...now what? Wait I got it: COMMANDO NANNY!

When looking at their recent decisions on many levels, then the whole "art is nice but they gotta make a living" argument doesn't really seem to be at work here.

As for them not even watching their own shows.....WHAT THE#!&@^#(*$@)???? And even admitting it out loud to the press. It's YOUR OWN FRIKKIN' PRODUCTS! The ones on whose quality the life of your COMPANY depends. The ones that YOU decide whether or not will STAY ON THE FRIKKIN' AIR. Pant pant....

THIS beaut of a quote:"his response regarding his sitcom Commando Nanny, "Hey, you can't always win," he says. "Besides, what do I know about scripted TV shows? I thought it was OK."

Urgglrglglglgg%$&$#@_)(#@()$WJR#Y$@*U#)@*#@_($&(_@&$})@#@$)@#)!!!!!............I'm a graphic designer. I'll just make complete crap for my next project and when the client complains, I'll say "Hey what do I know about designing....I thought it was okay..." Most normal thing in the world.

If you'll excuse me, I have to go bang my head against the wall now.
Excellent article, RavenU. Good points expresseed by all. Still seeing all this noise as of late from the WB as an attempt to cover their butts from the irritated fan base. "They just don't get it!" EdDantes, I'm with you. Time to gather the pickforks and torches. And maybe a certain blonde with a rocket launcher. Maybe one fired up the kazoo may register a thought. Doubtful, but there's hope. Take care all.
Articles and quotes like those are the reason satire is so hard to do. You can't make up anything as bizarre as what really happens.
You would think a man who is CEO of coming up network would know the type of shows he has and to oversee its quality and growth. There is no excuse for cancelling a great show and to the Emmys I said you are still in that whirlpool of thinking that NBC, CBS and ABC are the only networks that have great shows. For shame you people missed out on the greatest drama this season: Angel
They may be "trying to cover their butts from irate fans"...but I tell you I will not watch! Nothing they can do will change that fact unless it is a Whedonverse series. PERIOD. Why should I spend MY TIME watching their shows when even THEY DON'T? They are planning on putting crap on the airwaves...and have no idea how truly shi%ty it truly is! Thanks, but I'll stick to my DVD's. Maybe Ancier and Janollari should check out the DVD's of AtS and see what they have lost.
Maybe Ancier and Janollari should check out the DVD's of AtS and see what they have lost.

Should we start an Educate Ancier & Janollari campaign?

Strap them in chairs, pin their eyes open, and queue up the Angel DVDs—Alexander de Large-style.

[ edited by Ubqtous on 2004-07-19 05:14 ]
Actually they got that wrong as well it was Joss who ask that of Levin, not 20th century.

I was wondering about that, but either way the outcome is the same.

Tribune holds about a 20% of the stock interest in the WB network

So if it wasn't for a lack of support from Tribune, then I guess enough of the remaining 80% just didn't share Tribune's confidence in Angel.

I've heard that on a global view, one of the problems of american companies is that to them 'long term' is 1-2 years, whereas many european or japanese companies think in 10-15 years.

I think this probably varies from industry to industry, but agree that American companies are probably the most short-sighted. With Americans being the largest consumers in the world, it only seems natural that American companies have skewed ideas of return on investment in comparison to other countries.
I think if the former WB president had watched at least half of the shows on the WB's lineup, he wouldn't have been so quick to cancel Angel. I mean I watch Charmed, but let's be real here, that show is dying and its ready for someone to pull the plug, along with 7th Heaven. Also, Smallville and Gilmore Girls aren't amazing. And those WB sitcoms...no comment. If he had just watched these mediocre shows he would have done away with them and we'd still ahve another season of Angel to look forward to. If anyone read what Joss' plans for season six of Angel would have been, they would understand how angry it makes me that a sixth season didn't happen. We'll probably never see another Buffy/Angel in our lifetime and that's okay, because the way TV is going now, that show would be cancelled for someone making an ass of themself for a million dollars, or someone playing a prank that the contestants are too stupid to figure out. Only in America can we watch such crap and keep it going for years and years to come while good scripted television is being destroyed before our very eyes.
A lttle off topic but has anyone seen the new ads for clothes at K-mart that are featuring the cast of WB shows 'The Mountain' (new drama) and some of the sitcoms like Reba - ok now they haver eached a new low.I'm glad Angel is no longer on the WB - cause I'd hate to see Amy promoting a blue light special.
I saw that yesterday when I was in K-mart.
They say "Dress up like your favorite WB personality and you'll win a spot on the show of your choice".

I started thinking how funny it'd be if all the Angel fans overwhelmed them with shots of themselves dressed up like Angel characters instead of any of their crappy shows!!

Wonder what ever happened with the TV Guide contest to win a walk on role in Angel? The contest was to celebrate the 100th episode, then WeBite decided to go and cancel the show.

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