The entertainment industry is a business

The entertainment industry is a business. This phrase has been bouncing around a whole lot lately. Usually with the phrase “Everyone forgets the entertainment industry is a business.” Meaning that it has to do things to make money, sometimes turning people off.

With hot movies today being Twilight, a poorly written and laughably bad movie, with Television drowning in cheap to produce, bottom of societies barrel reality shows like Jersey shore, the hills, Almost everything on fox etc., this phrase has been jumping around from reviewer to reviewer, company to company. Most recently in an interview I heard this being said about the Spider-man 4 movie, which got scrapped and is going to be rebooted. “Everyone forgets the entertainment industry is a business…And as years go by the cost of these actors go up and it’s more cost effective to just reboot the whole thing with a new director and cast.” I see this as a very very bad precedent that is being set in the entertainment industry today. I can’t believe that scrapping a hugely successful franchise’s sequel is considered a “good” move.

Somewhere along the line, while remembering so much that “The entertainment industry is a business,” everyone seems to have forgotten the entertainment industry is supposed to be ENTERTAINMENT. If we had always adapted the entertainment as a business philosophy, movies like “Star Wars,” “The Godfather” and shows like “The Fugitive” and “Seinfeld” Would be laughed out of business meetings. Everyone has to pander to the lowest common denominator, making mindless casual movies and television, simply because it pleases the most people enough to watch it. Writer Joss Whedon once wrote “I’d rather make a show 100 people need to see, rather than 1000 people want to see.” Joss Whedon is the creator of a number of highly acclaimed shows, most famously Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show that barely made it on the air in 1997. It became a huge hit and Buffy became a pop culture icon. Who are the pop culture icons of this generation? Spencer Pratt? Snooki? How far is too far when we have a show where an adopted child has to pick out their biological father is a bathlorette-esque type show? Oh wait, It’s already happened: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who’s_Your_Daddy%3F_(TV_series).

Now I’m not promoting censorship, not by any means. But I don’t want to be watching my 1,000th generic action hero movie or “Guess the STD” 30 years from now because that’s what sells to the most people. I want to see a smart, creative, interesting or innovative movies and TV once and a while. I want to see some works of ART. I want to see shows that are good not shows that get people to watch like a train wreck. I don’t want to see some manufactured byproduct of a business. I don’t want entertainment decisions being run by out of touch executives who draw ideas from facts and figures from devices that themselves are out of date.

The whole “Late night NBC debacle” is a byproduct of this insanity. Conan O’Brien, soon to be former host of The Tonight Show, is being thrown off the air because his ratings are down, not taking into account his crappy lead in, the fact that he’s only been on the air 7 months, and the fact that his audience is younger and don’t all watch his TV show, on TV. Many people watch TV shows through different Internet outlets now, and that is not being taken into account in the Nielson ratings. So they’re replacing him with former host Jay Leno, whose audience is too old to know how to work computers. Not to mention, O’Brien was asked to tone the show down to appeal to a broader audience, which is not what made him successful. So he looses a segment of his fans who don’t like the new toned down Conan, and doesn’t get any of Leno’s audience because he’s not dumbed down all the way. NBC’s brilliant idea was to blame everything on Conan and thrown him off the air after 17 years, and it’s truly truly ignorant.

Fan support is highly in Conan’s favor, Conan has come out as the wronged party, according to a poll on TV guide 83% of people want Conan to remain as host of the tonight show, and everyone is pissed off at NBC. It just goes to show How much the entertainment industry is run by out of touch executives that don’t know or care about what people really want, just what makes the most money. It’s become almost laughably ironic that the entertainment industry doesn’t know or care about what is the best entertaining. I don’t think these people get into Entertainment thinking “I’m gonna follow formulas and make the most money possible!” If that’s your interest then be a stock broker. I would hope they get into entertainment to, I don’t know, ENTERTAIN. Its hard to imagine that the people who entered into a career of making people happy have no qualms about infuriating people so righteously like this. Leno does well because his show takes no risk, has no edge, it’s a blank slate and doesn’t offend anyone, and the majority of casual people will tune in to it. Shows like David Letterman, who appeals to a more cynical, sarcastic audience, or Conan who appeals to a more youthful audience, are much better shows in terms of quality, but only appeal to a certain part of the TV watching audience. Let me put it to you thing way: Everyone from your 5 year old daughter to your 80 year old grandma can gather around and watch Scooby-Doo. It’s meant for everyone. But that doesn’t mean it’s the cutting edge of entertainment for anyone. Your 5 year old would much rather watch Dora the Explorer. Your Grandma would rather watch Andy Griffith. You’d rather watch the Sopranos. All those shows are great, but appeal to a certain audience, therefore not making as much money or having as much ratings as the all inclusive show. At what point does TV become littered with Scooby-Doo reruns? at what point do movies become generic rehashed storylines of event movies, or just become a 2 hour Calvin Klein commercial (I.E. twilight 5)? I think Entertainment has WELL realized it’s a business, and now needs to remember that it’s an art too.

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~ by Adam Hughes on January 20, 2010.

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