This article by Maureen Ryan has been passed around by every TV lover I know today and is a definite must read. I find the changing TV landscape to be one of the most fascinating things going on in the business world these days. If I could go back to school, I would study the television business model and how it’s changed and adapted (or not) over time. Happy Endings is definitely one of my favorite comedies on TV right now and I would be bereft if it disappeared because it’s not well suited to ABC (which is just the truth) so I’m very hopeful that if ABC decides to get rid of it, a cable network will pick it up. Its worked for Cougartown (another one of my favs that ABC threw away).
Ryan’s article makes some great points about why a show like Happy Endings is flailing – time slot changes, the way that ratings are reported, the fast-paced pop culture references – but I really think that it comes down to the whole Network vs Cable debate. There are just too many channels producing original material and so much of it is actually worth watching that shows that are even a little less than mainstream tend to just get sucked into the ether of the big 4 networks. I’ve become more and more picky about the shows that I devote my time to and this is the biggest reason why. Happy Endings would be great on cable where it can push the limits creatively a little bit and may not have to deal with the spotlight of being on a big network. When a show isn’t required to “save” a network, it tends to feel more comfortable in its own skin.