Arrested Development Suffers Cardiac Arrest

Fox has axed Arrested Development after it placed fifth last week in the Nielson's. I do want to rant at how Fox has its head up its ass, but this show has never done well in the ratings. That's what galls me. Though a little sleepy, its timeslot was ideal for a show like this.
So what am I to do without Arrested Development? Likely, watch 30min. less TV per week. For the most part that's good news. For television advertisers that means someone like me is 30min./week closer to turning off the TV and leaving it off. Shows like "Firefly", "Dead Like Me" and "Enterprise" are ratings corpses. They need to find a life off of the airwaves in DVD collections. Rather than release 22 episodes once per year for $60+; why not release 4 episode installments every 4 or 6 weeks for $20. See what I did? Six weeks is enough production time-- it's also enough time to steer the show if the sales diminish or ax the production if the sales suck. Most important: 6 x $20 is $120 for a 24 episode season-- not $60. Most of the DVDs for sale hover in this price range so there won't be a case of sticker shock. And, despite having purchased many seasons of shows for others I would be very unlikely to do it for myself. Why? The price jump: I spend $200/yr. on DVDs, but never in more than $40 lumps. Because almost every series collection sells for more than $40, I don't bite. I am probably not alone.
Who will take the plunge? Who will learn from the leasons of Firefly and Family Guy and release a series on DVD? At $300,000-$1 million per 1 hour of television, a studio has to make a multi-million dollar commitment in the hopes that people will ante up $20 per installment. Put another way, they have to shell out $2 million dollars for put up 4 episodes. If they can gleen $5 per DVD collection as gross profit (e.g. before the studio weasels turn even the thickest black margin into red); they have to move 400,000 copies. That's a lot.
This has been the model of choice for CD sales until storage and bandwidth became so cheap that your copy a CD. Nevertheless, they still sell CDs (or try to). If I were a decision maker in Hollywood, I would find a series that was cheapish to produce (like an X-Files or similar), let out so many episodes on the super cheap so that a network would run them as filler; then let ratings kill the series and resurrect in direct-to-DVD installments.
Joss Whedon, Ron Howard are you both listening?

Comments

Ted said…
How about doing what they used to do (maybe still do) on the BBC. A full "season" of a show is six episodes. Yup, concentrate on six great episodes rather than try to scape together 22 so-so episodes. Quantity and quality may not be mutually exclusive but they are seldom on a first-name basis. :)

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