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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Times Change

It's the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 13 odyssey.  I vividly remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Glooch, a fine woman, leading us in a little prayer for the safe return of the astronauts.  Public school.  It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  No one complained.  If she tried that today, she'd be up on charges and fired in a heartbeat.

Times change.

Conan O'Brien is taking his television show to TBS in November.  There was a time when basic cable was seen as the lesser cousin of the broadcast networks.  Those days are long gone.  Entire generations have grown up with cable television.  Younger folk see a cable network as being on the same level with one of the big four broadcast networks.  It makes no difference.  It's all the same.  By the way, O'Brien's people couldn't cut a deal with FOX.  The network and its affiliates are happier with reruns late at night.  They cost less and bring in more money.  That says a lot about the economics of the business, doesn't it?  Tired, old shows are favored over fresh programming.

Times change.



But, something remains the same, and that's unfortunate.  The Masters golf tournament still dictates all the rules, including announcer selection, to CBS.  Spectators must be referred to as "patrons."  Talk of prize money is forbidden.  The problems with Tiger Woods were glossed over.  CBS has no shame.  The really sad part is that if CBS passed on the Masters, there'd be a half dozen other networks waiting to take its place.