|Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting - But Not TV|
|Key Words||Cost, revenues, advertising|
Saturday night may be a fun night for many, but it does not tend to involve broadcast television. Viewers, especially young adults, are deserting television in favor of other activities such as going to dinner, to the movies, watching cable, or renting a video.
As a result, networks have essentially taken the night off. They do not offer sitcoms and dramas because they cost too much given the size and composition of the audience. Advertisers, who provide the revenues for networks, are anxious to reach 19-49 year-olds, but who tend not to watch on Saturday evenings. They would also prefer to advertise before the shopping weekend than half-way through it. Fox has therefore engaged in low-cost alternative programming involving reality-based shows such as Cops and America's Most Wanted. ABC offers one-time theatrical releases, where consistent viewing week-by-week is not needed. HBO provides original movies and events. NBC has followed with XFL football, although with disappointing audiences.
Some say that the low viewership is exacerbated by the reluctance of networks to offer high-quality programming comparable to the mid-70's CBS line-up of All In The Family, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bob Newhart, and The Carol Burnett Show.
(Updated June 1, 2001)
|Source||Source: Bill Keveney, "What happened to Saturday night?" USA Today, March 9, 2001.|
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