It’s Not Really Lin-Sane.

Pop Quiz!

Did the man pictured here:
a.) Graduate from Harvard
II.) Grow up in the Bay Area of California
3.) Recently drop 38 points on the L.A. Lakers
D.) All of the above

While you may have known that the correct answer is “all of the above”, I have a hard time imagining that you’d have been able to correctly determine the answer less than a week ago… mostly because he doesn’t “look” like a basketball player to us.

Just 13 days ago Jeremy Lin was a man sitting on the end of an NBA bench, looking very much like a fish out of water. Even he knew that he was about to be cut from his team. Then the Knicks put him in the game at pointguard.

He scored 25 points and the Knicks won. In the next week he scored 28, 23, 38, and 20 points as he led his team to 5 straight victories.

Nobody could explain how it happened, not even Jeremy Lin.

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The Good, The Bad, and the B@!%#¥

When we don’t understand how something works, assumptions born from ignorance often rule the day.

Because of this, it’s hard to go a day without hearing someone complain about how television is corrupting society. But I submit to you that television isn’t ruining America, America is ruining television.

I’ll explain why.

As a business, television gives us what we ask for. We tell television what we want by watching the programming. When we aren’t getting what we want, channels get changed or televisions get turned off.

With Tivo tracking what we are watching, recording, and pausing to stare at, network executives immediately know what we enjoy and what kind of programs should be put into development.

Shows move from development into “time slots” where they will attempt to “find an audience”;

Children watch in the morning,
Mothers in the afternoon,
The elderly in the early evening,
And 18-45 year old males rule the night.

Nights of the week also factor into the equation, with Thursday being the night with the largest audiences and Saturday being the smallest.

The more people watch a television broadcast, the more the networks can charge for commercials. Well watched television programs command incredible sums of money from advertisers, who in turn profit from the massive exposure.

One good program on Thursday night can carry a network for years.

When a television program loses its heavyweight status, it gets moved from a lucrative time slot to make way for another program to emerge.

Over the past 8 years ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” was a financial champ while drawing praise critics and viewers alike. This year the housewives sign off from Wisteria lane and ABC begins looking to replace it with something “edgy, relatable, and addictively watchable.”

Networks prefer to have their next heavyweight waiting in the wings. NBC developed “Seinfeld” over a period of years, then used it to naturally replace “Cheers”, eventually moving “Friends” in to replace the loss of Jerry and the gang.

But for every successful network replacement there are countless failures like “Coupling” and “@#$% my Dad Says”.

While replacing a sitcom can be difficult, replacing a “guilty pleasure” show like Desperate Housewives is nearly impossible.

While Fox managed to spin Melrose Place off of Beverly Hills 90210, there really isn’t a formula for creating a program that can get you invested in the lives of reprehensible people while stimulating the mind and titillating the libido.

For every “Sex and the City”, there are many “Undercovers”.

ABC thinks it’s found an answer to this conundrum with their next offering for the self-indulgent:

GCB moves into the Housewives time slot on March 4th.

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Planning For… The Contractually Obligated Awkwardness

AP/Chevrolet

At the end of Superbowl 5, Dallas Cowboy linebacker Chuck Howley drove off the field in a brand new car.

Ever since that day Superbowl MVPs have been treated to a string of incentives including cash, usually $5,000, and vacations, typically to a Walt Disney park.  The fêteing of the games Most Valuable Player has become something of a Superbowl tradition.  Who can forget hearing Joe Montana announce, during the 49’ers moment of ultimate victory, that he was on his way to Disneyland?

All of that tradition was derailed this Sunday when Eli Manning, the Giant’s Quarterback and deserving MVP, was faced with a proposition like no other MVP has.

He won a car that he isn’t allowed to drive.

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