Just Make Hits


Tina Fey has decided to mock her employer, and good for her: This comes after the esoteric nature of her show, 30 Rock, and that of shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation were cited as being "too narrow" for NBC's future plans.

Really. That's what Robert Greenblatt thinks of his own products? His own shows? Too narrow? In what sense is a show "too narrow" if it is beloved, funny, watched endlessly on alternative outlets like Hulu and has repeatedly been cited and awarded for maintaining an exceptional level of quality?

This is what Fey thinks:
"You know what? They’re wrong, and I’m going to wait that out," Fey said. "What they want is hits, but no one knows what that is. Remember when Jeff Zucker was like: 'I've got a new plan! We’re only going to make hits!' [Laughs.] It’s hard. I couldn't do it. I couldn’t be a network exec."
Fey has struck out against the fallacy of having people run television networks based on the phony idea that they actually know what works. There are certain professional occupations that are constructed on a mountain of bullshit, and being a television executive in America is like building a retirement home on top of it without taking into account the smell of it all.

If you find quality people, hold them to a high standard, and then let them do what they do, there's a good chance that their television show will fail. If you get crap people together and let them fight like rats, you can probably get a successful show out of them. Some of the worst human beings in the history of humanity have been beloved, successful television stars. There is no way to judge what will work and what won't. But, when a certain number of people routinely agree that a show like Parks and Recreation is worth watching, never assume that the residents of Chez Bullshit will accept the truth.