Thursday, October 16, 2008

What does CBS stand for?

Several great Moonlightfan Blog readers have sent mail praising this article about CBS on the TVoholic website.

CBS: definitely doesn’t stand for Come Back Soon !
by Fred

CBS. Three letters that could mean so many things, and I’m sure many of you could think of a few significations for what you think those letters represent, I can already see the first letter linked to CSI or “Crap” for instance…

One thing these letters definitely do not stand for, though, is Come Back Soon. Nope, apparently The Eye doesn’t want you back, not really. It may pretend to, the press release might claim that’s the case, but we know better, don’t we?

I’m sure if you go on and ask fans of series like Jericho or Moonlight, you’ll find people who still haven’t given up on television, and are still willing to watch some, maybe lots even, and that might still include network television as well. Yet, mention CBS, and that one network could very well be on their blacklist. No big surprises here, when you have a look at the way the network treated them, and their beloved show.

But don’t feel alone, simple viewer that you are, because it’s the same thing on the other side of the screen, CBS treats everyone the same, obviously (and sadly), and now it’s not just viewers who are putting The Eye on their blacklist! So there might be hope…

Because it’s one thing that we, viewers, don’t tune back in on CBS, but it would be even better than people stop going to them when they got new, exciting projects. Not because it’s fun to hold a grudge, not because I don’t like CBS, but because they have proven, repeatedly, that they didn’t know how to love, handle, promote and support their shows, that they would try to control things, to change the shows, destroying them, alienating their audiences and eventually canceling them without ever giving them a fair chance.

Let’s be honest : with a network that supported a show like Moonlight, let it be and grow as the creative minds wanted it to, supporting them and promoting the show, it could have been a success. Maybe not the latest hit in TV land, but a very good & successful show nonetheless. But CBS wasn’t the place for such a thing, and now the show is dead.

We, viewers, don’t want to live through such an awful experience ever again, so we stay away from CBS. But if the creative minds on the other side decided as well never to go back to CBS, for the same reasons, because they do love & believe in their projects, maybe things could change.

A couple of days ago, Diane Ruggiero exited The Ex List over infamous famous “creative differences” between her and the network. Recently, she described said differences : “It’s like someone comes to you with a little black dress and says, ‘You can do anything you want with it, anything at all,’ and you go, ‘Oh, great,’ and then they come back and say, ‘But you need to wear this belt, and these shoes, and…’” — Sounds familiar?

Sure, CBS said they wanted her for her unique voice and her own take on the material, but that’s only words. If facts, they kept pushing her to stick as closely as possible to the Israeli show The Ex List is based on, even though this original version only ran for 11 half-hour episodes, as well as having other things that would come in the way of turning this into a long-running, hour-long-episode series (such as the fact that the heroine had no job, or no life outside of her romantic quest).

“They would keep coming to me talking about how they wanted the Israeli version, they wanted the Israeli version, and I’m going, ‘Test audiences loved the psychic, who was only in one scene (in the original). They loved her sister; she didn’t have a sister in the original. They loved the flower shop; she didn’t have a job in the original.’”

Ruggiero was allegedly brought on the project for her own voice, and she intended to do what she was hired to do. “I felt very strongly that she has to have a regular life, and this weird quest has to almost feel like a burden at times. She has to feel put upon, otherwise she bugs me. Every kind of spin they tried to put on it like that, they just wanted it to be happy and optimistic.”

Oh yes, CBS wanted to control everything, because, once again, they assumed they knew better. And this is why it got to ludicrous things such as this one : “They told me to stop using the word ‘dude’ so much because they didn’t think their audience would embrace the word ‘dude.’ I asked how many times I could use it, and they said, ‘Twice per episode.’”

Network exec just knew people wouldn’t embrace the word “dude” and that would drag them away from the show. Just like they didn’t want to witness an on-going romance developing in Moonlight, but more procedural P.I. elements, of course.

In the end, it was too much and since Ruggiero and CBS could agree on anything, and it was clear the network would not let her do the show she wanted to, despite claiming to be interested in her own voice they wanted nothing but what they had in mind, so she did the only thing left to do. “I’m not a fucking transcriber! Why would you hire me if you wanted a transcriber? I’m a pain in the ass. I have a specific thing that I do. If you don’t want that, go hire someone else.”

The worst part of this experience for Ruggiero, was how closely it mirrored what happened with That’s Life. Back then, CBS also told her they wanted a show with her distinct voice, but once she was on they kept hiring producers to work above her and give the show their voices, not hers. It’s just what those morons do, always, and now she knows better.

“I looked at the last CBS experience and that sucked, and I thought it was because I didn’t have any experience (in the industry), and now they would be cool. And instead I find myself smack in the same experience. ‘We want to do something different, we want your voice,’ and then they don’t want something different. I think they thought I’d be the same as last time, just nervous and acquiescent. But I didn’t need this.

Once we got started, I kind of knew what I wanted the show to be. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but for Friday nights at 9, I thought it would be fun and be funny, and it just became not. And it was such a bad experience, it wasn’t worth chunks of my life. It’s really sad. It’s all I’ve done since February, making the pilot. To keep doing that and having people be like, ‘Screw you’ is just too depressing.”

Conclusion ? “I’ll never work at CBS again!”

Well, I can only applaud this decision, because that’s what needs to happen now. CBS is an old network that is fading away, they have plenty of CSI and clones, and because it does well according to Nielsen, they just assume they know better than anyone else, never mind that every time they try to do something like that, it’s a failure, because then it’s not their fault, but those stupid creators/showrunners/writers who didn’t want to listen to them, of course.

So let’s all let CBS do their CSI’s over & over again, while we stick with other networks. If we don’t watch the network, if people don’t go there with their new projects, sooner or later they’ll have to think back their ways of dealing with everything, or just die. Last season, with the writers’ strike and months of American Idol versus reruns, CBS lost the title of most-watched network to Fox.

We’ll see this season if Fox changed and is indeed worthy now, but in the mean time, if you want things to change, if you don’t want another gem to be treated like crap, make sure CBS doesn’t get its title back !

PS: For the record, it’s Columbia Broadcasting System, what those three letters officially stand for.


Anonymous said...

For the record, I KNOW what the cbs letters are SUPPOSED to stand forbut it'll always be the crap broadcasting system to me. Everything in this article is true. Sadly though, it doesn't bring back Moonlight and thats what I cared about- and may I just say again- Alex is going back there? He's going to start up a whole new series and expect us to watch? What could he possibly be thinking???!!NEVER, EVER AGAIN WILL I GET INVOLVED WITH A NEW TV SERIES ON the crap broadcasting system.

clairlnz said...

Which is exactly why I wish Alex had a development deal with some other entity besides CBS

Anonymous said...

This is very well written. I think the writer has put into words what we all feel. We were baited then betrayed. We wanted the vampire to bite us, but CBS bit us instead. I feel sorry for anyone who is hoping to "make it in Hollywood", because it sounds as if CBS wants the ideas and the hearts of some very talented people, but once they have their "blood" they kill them. If the project they wanted doesn't work, then blame the creator or the fans. We fans are going to be very careful with our hearts, I personaly pick and choose and right now there is VERY little on any network that I will invest my time and feelings on. Sorry so long, but this article touched me. Thanks, Kandy for you great blog. Keep up the good work.

LynCraven said...

Well, I said I wouldn't watch it after they ditched Moonlight and I haven't. I didn't watch it all that much to begin with -- only Criminal Minds & 2.5 Men but it really wasn't that difficult to do without those 2 shows. I get that no-one cares and its really just a matter of pride with myself, but I said I would boycott them and I have. The thing that kinda surprised me was how easy it was.

I am concerned that Alex is still attaching himself to them... but work is work so you can't blame him. I would just put money on them letting him down again, one way or another.

LynCraven said...

Hey I just realized I missed the most important part of that article... so the infamous "Ex-List", the show that Tassler was so convinced was going to do a better job than Moonlight, didn't last 5 minutes!

If only Moonlight had started its life on Fox or even one of the smaller channels like CW, we would have had several seasons to enjoy it and watch it grow. If only...

christy said...

I'm scared for Alex and his deal. They SAY they will give him free reign, but will they REALLY? Doubtful. I wish he'd gone to another network. Prayers that Alex will get what HE wants. They need to quit interfering and out and out LYING to people.