20170925

TELEVISION

In his 1999 'Nieman' report, Marc Gunther of 'Fortune' noted, "Twenty years ago (in 1979), there was no network news 'business'. Back then, the networks earned enough money from entertainment programming that they could afford to run their news operations at a loss. Today (in 1999), ABC, CBS and NBC operate in a competitive environment in which most viewers have dozens of channels from which to choose. That has transformed not just TV news but the entire television industry.

"Those who own these networks all demand that their news operations make money. The TV entertainment business, in particular, has deteriorated because programming costs are rising while, due to more competition, ratings are falling and hit shows are harder to find. To some extent, news programs are now (in 1999) looked to as ways to subsidize entertainment and sports offerings — just the reverse of the way things used to be.

"What do such changes mean for the practice of journalism at the Big Three? Management consultants are hired to analyze costs and look for cuts (such as closed foreign and domestic bureaus, laid off staff, eliminated some money-losing documentary units, and curbed convention and election coverage). During 1998, the three evening newscasts reached a combined average of about 30.4 million viewers in 22 million homes.

"This represents a reach that is greater than the total circulation of the nation’s 10 largest newspapers. (However) their combined audience share has declined from a peak of 75% in 1980 to 47% in 1998. (These percentages represent the share of audience that is watching TV during the dinner hour.) Ratings for hard news have slid, in part, because of the explosion in alternative news sources. Consumers can pick up stories from all-news cable, Internet news sites (including those operated by the networks), local stations (which broadcast up to six hours of news a day in major markets), business cable news outlets, the Weather Channel, sports news channels, all-news radio and National Public Radio.

"Prime-time news programs connect with even larger audiences. CBS’s '60 Minutes' (Sunday), the industry leader, has attracted an average of 13.4 million homes so far during the 1998-99 TV season. And '60 Minutes' is only one of 14 prime-time news shows appearing on the Big Three (which included 5 editions of 'Dateline'; 3 editions of '20/20' and 2 editions of '60 Minutes'). No cable program or newspaper has anything approaching that kind of reach. The Big Three networks are still, by far, the most commanding voices in American journalism and therefore one of the most important forces in our democracy.

"The evolution of network news into a profit-making business unfolded gradually, driven by a series of events dating back more than two decades (to 1977). The success of '60 Minutes', which became a Nielsen top 10 program in the 1977-78 season, 10 years after its debut, was an enormously influential factor. Roone Arledge’s arrival as President of ABC News in 1977 created even more momentum for industry-wide change.

"He saw no reason why news couldn’t make a profit, too. So Arledge set out to get more programs onto the air (and) also used his talents as a producer and promoter to package news, including serious news, to appeal to a mass audience. By the late 1980’s, ABC News—still under Arledge’s leadership—had become the industry leader in profits and prestige. Soon the other networks were trying to catch up by adopting a similar game plan, producing more news and doing so in ways that appealed to non-news audiences.

"To produce an original hour of a newsmagazine typically costs between $500,000 to $700,000. An hour of entertainment costs the network at least $1.2 million. This cost advantage for news isn’t quite as great as it seems; sitcoms and dramas can be repeated while most news programming is original. Still, newsmagazines have started to do more repeats and 'updates' of stories that have previously aired. So they don’t have to produce original episodes year round, and this drives costs even lower.

"During the 1998-99 TV season, the average price for a 30-second commercial on 'Dateline' ranged from $90,000 to $130,000, depending on the night of the week it aired. Advertising rates for '20/20' averaged $135,000 to $160,000. On CBS's '48 Hours', the cost was $80,000. And spots on '60 Minutes' (Sunday) average an impressive $240,000. All of these rates are much higher than those generated by an evening newscast, though, except for the '60 Minutes' rates, they are still below the network averages for prime time entertainment. Still, given their lower costs, news shows right now (in 1999) are a better business for the networks than entertainment programming."

On '20/20', Victor Neufeld told 'The New York Times' the stories were produced for ''the conservative, traditional American household. We're not an urbane, hip, ultra-sophisticated program and we don't want to be. Barbara (Walters) is a major entity and she deserves consideration. Hugh (Downs) and Barbara are the soul of the program. They're not hip and they're not boringly old; they're middle-American superstars.''

In 1993, there were 3 newsmagazines on ABC, Victor Neufeld's '20/20', Tom Yellin's 'Day One' and Rick Kaplan's 'PrimeTime Live'. In all, there were "a total of 11 news shows where '60 Minutes' and '20/20' once reigned alone." Competing and "banking" for stories against shows on the same network, Tom Yellin told Kenneth Clark of the 'Chicago Tribune', "The environment has changed because there are more of these shows and it makes the competition for stories much more intense. We work it out.

"The last thing we want to do is mediate it out through the (ABC) executives. There was a very complicated story about a murder in New Haven which both '20/20' and I wanted. Victor and I worked it out and they got the story. It happens every week. We'll be working on a story and somebody says they've gotten a call from 'PrimeTime'. We have some informal rules: If somebody gets there first and has clearly done enough reporting to, in effect, own the story, they get it. If we get there second, we lose."

At CBS, it was reported, "Joe Peyronnin, executive assistant to News President Eric Ober, arbitrates all disputes, keeping '60 Minutes', 'Street Stories', '48 Hours' and 'Eye To Eye' with Connie Chung, from each other's throats." Andrew Heyward acknowledged, "But there's no question that there's a scramble going on, not only between networks, but within networks, to lock down the high-profile stories that these magazines feel will bring in viewers."

Victor Neufeld added, "There is obviously more competition with more programs and more intensity to go after the big stories. I think that's natural, but we're all professionals. There is no major problem; there is no constant conflict. From time to time there is, but it's generally worked out." Rick Tulsky of the 'Philadelphia Inquirer' recalled, "A lot of times, those shows get their ideas from newspapers. We've got more staff and more people to do the work than they do."

Steve Friedman of 'NBC News' and 'Dateline NBC' conceded, "It does happen - just as stories appear in the newspapers right after they're on the evening news. Any time you pick up one of the papers, you'll see that what we've done on Tuesday night, they've done on Wednesday morning … You've got to have compelling stories, well told. If you do that, you'll get a good shot with the viewers."

The 'Chicago Tribune' learnt, "Far more important to network executives than the creative inspiration for stories is their cost. And the magazine shows are working out just fine for cost-conscious network brass, faced with dwindling audiences, lower ratings and a compelling bottom line. They cost a fraction of what Hollywood entertainment has come to cost."

Joel Segal of ad agency McCann-Erickson informed, "G.E. (which owns NBC) is cost-conscious; (CBS Chairman Laurence) Tisch is cost-conscious, and ABC is famous for being cost-conscious. These guys watch the buck and the way they do that is, instead of taking programming out of Hollywood where the talent is very expensive, they produce these lower-cost shows.

"They don't have problems with content questions in a newsmagazine. This is real … The news has plenty of sex and violence, but that's OK - it's modern history. Hollywood can compete if they choose to. Let's say they didn't pay the talent what it's demanding, and they went with unrecognized names as they've done with low-budget movies. That would be their way of competing. You couldn't make another 'Cheers'; the costs got out of hand. Those days are definitely over."

THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Would the rise of the robot augur the fall of humanity? Heico Sandee co-founded the employment agency for robots called Smart Robotics argued, "Humans will always be the creative, decisive force in the equation. At present (in 2017) we have more physical and of course intellectual dexterity. Robots' hands are quite one-dimensional: they can do one task.

"In 20 years or so (say around 2037), however, we think robots will have hands as clever as humans. We are already seeing more robots using accurate 3-D cameras and this, combined with the ability to do a larger range of tasks, will widen their scope … Then we are really looking at more of a revolution … But the Fourth Industrial Revolution will not really take place until robots have 'deep learning' or artificial intelligence. This will enable them to learn from their mistake and improve. Then it will really get interesting."

Jeremy Kahn of 'Bloomberg' highlighted in May 2016, "The world stands poised on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution. Rapid advances in a host of technologies, including artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, robotics, Big Data and data science, genetics, medical imaging and computer vision are combining to alter almost every profession and every industry in potentially radical ways."

By April 2017, 'thehrdirector.com' heralded, "The Fourth Industrial Revolution is already well under way. Emerging technology in fields such as the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing are all combining to drive a change across a range of industries, and this Fourth Industrial Revolution is taking the digital age to the next level."

Speaking to 'thehrdirector.com', Heico Sandee stated, "It started very recently, just a few years ago (say 2011). Many see it as an extension of the Digital Revolution, but there is more to it. We are on the cusp of something huge, no doubt about it – but at present (in 2017) people are talking about it, more than actually doing it. Look at the example of industrial automation; the world is changing fast, but not that fast. In real end-user terms, things have been pretty similar for the last decade (2001-2010).

"At present (in 2017), robots are hired from us to do one core task: in industry they maybe pack, wrap or inspect. So one robot does one job as part of, or at the end of a production line. When that line is finished, so is the demand for that robot. The aim is for that robot to have the ability to do all those tasks, in order to carry out the whole process, while being managed by a human. Then they can work across multiple lines. The limits are removed. Robots communicating with each other. It sounds futuristic, but artificial Intelligence is happening."

Pointing out, "I think people do understand that the change is inevitable," Heico Sandee continued, "Robots are changing the workflow and they will continue to do so. This should be seen as an opportunity, however – the human workforce can leave the more repetitive jobs to the robots. Jobs are created as humans work with the robots and retrain and diversify, and companies grow as people become more versatile."

Lawyer Gerlind Wisskirchen did a study for the International Bar Association, told Zoe Ferguson of the Australian 'ABC News', "We thought it'd just be an insight into the world of automation and blue collar sector. This topic has picked up speed tremendously and you can see it everywhere and read it every day. It's a hot topic now. You can see that when you see jobs that will be replaced by algorithms or robots depending on the sector. There is an increasing gap between legislation in field of employment and labor law and reality. The business world is leaping ahead in huge leaps and disruptive business models, while legislators are inching forward incrementally. This huge gap makes it difficult for the business world and practitioners to deal with."

Futurist Morris Miselowski added, "Artificial intelligence… and all sorts of new technologies are just literally on the horizon, all of that's going to change where, how and when we do work. I'm not convinced that work as we understand it, this nine-to-five, Monday to Friday, is sustainable for many of us for the next couple of decades." Scientist Stefan Hajkowicz observed, "The sort of job losses that we did see in the manufacturing sector in Australia — the car manufacturing sector — are going to get into the administrative services and financial services sector in downtown CBD postcodes and that's the big challenge that lies in front of us. Blockchain and distributive ledger technology, if it plays out the way we think it can, this is the technology that sits behind the bitcoin currency and can be used for smart invoicing or auditing processes."

Chris Brycki pointed out, "Financial services employs about 10% of our (the Australian) workforce and, really, a lot of those jobs are unnecessary. A lot of research analysts, stock pickers, stockbrokers, they don't actually add any end value for the consumer. Apple may be better placed to be a bank, Google might be better placed to be a bank than an actual bank because it has technology to facilitate the transaction. I came in to the industry at the very top — it was around 2006 when I joined. We'll probably never see that level of salaries and bonuses and the craziness in financial services because of the structural changes that are going to happen."

Charlie Kingdollar of 'Gen Re' reported, "The fourth industrial revolution - or Industry 4.0 as it's also referred to - has begun, and it's going to create enormous socio-economic change around the world. IDC, the global intelligence firm, predicts that company spending on artificial intelligence technologies is expected to grow to $47 billion in 2020 from a projected $8 billion in 2016. Business Insider believes that enterprise robotic shipments will nearly triple between 2015 and 2021."

Ben Schiller of 'Fast Company' informed, "A report from UBS, the Swiss financial group, which says a 'fourth industrial revolution' is coming. 'Extreme' automation and connectivity, it says, could automate everything from insurance claims to legal services, forcing many of us to retrain and adapt to a new hyper-computerized reality: 'Minor claims in insurance could be processed without human intervention, most incoming customer queries answered automatically, and many customer calls deflected. In finance, 'robo­advisors' are already available in the market. In the legal world, computers can quickly go through millions of emails and dramatically cut the cost of investigations. And if fewer people are employed in a sector, fewer managers will likely be needed in that sector.'"

In the report, Claudio Lisco of 'UBS' told the public, "Previous industrial revolutions have been driven by rapid advances in automation and connectivity, starting with the technologies that launched the First Industrial Revolution in 18th century England through to the exponential increases in computing power of recent decades. The same two forces that resulted in the previous three industrial revolutions are leading us rapidly to another. 

"The first is extreme automation, the product of a growing role for robotics and artificial intelligence in business, government and private life. The second, extreme connectivity, annihilates distance and time as obstacles to ever deeper, faster communication between and among humans and machines. We expect artificial intelligence (AI) to be a pervasive feature of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

"Extreme automation via AI will increasingly automate some of the skills that formerly only humans possessed. Where AI could be poised to make the biggest gains is in big data processing, potentially including the processing of language and images, which have thus far been off-limits for computers to understand. Extreme automation could allow more robots and AI to produce output, analyze results, make complex decisions, and adapt conclusions to environmental factors. 

"Extreme connectivity enables more universal, global and close-to-instant communication. It is giving rise to new business models and is opening up economic supply in ways previously not possible. Indeed, the creation of Uber, the taxi-hailing smartphone app, was only made possible by the explosive increase in portable Internet-enabled devices. Supply effectively created its own demand. Services like Facebook, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram have come to play a pivotal role in the social interaction of citizens around the world. 

"Extreme automation can also be coupled with extreme connectivity, allowing computing systems to control and manage physical processes and respond in ever more 'human' ways. This represents a democratization of the ability to communicate between and among governments, corporates, humans, and machines. The advent of 'cyber-physical systems' may allow robots and AI, via extreme automation and connectivity, to 'cross the chasm' between the technosphere, the natural world, and the human world. 

"These developments, will have significant implications for investors, the global economy and the relative competitiveness of developed and emerging nations. In particular, four areas will be critical to determine success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: availability of capital to finance labor automation and substitution, availability of skilled resources able to manage the new technologies and business models, the development of adequate support infrastructure and ecosystem and, finally but equally important, the development of suitable legal frameworks. In this context flexibility and ability to adapt will be key for individuals, institutions and governments alike."

20170924

THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

The fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 was first announced in 2011 - a German government-led initiative in high-tech manufacturing. In reviewing Professor Klaus Schwab's book, 'The Fourth Industrial Revolution', author Bernard Marr informed tech followers of 'Forbes' in 2016, "In this fourth revolution, we are facing a range of new technologies that combine the physical, digital and biological worlds. These new technologies will impact all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenge our ideas about what it means to be human. 

"These technologies have great potential to continue to connect billions more people to the web, drastically improve the efficiency of business and organizations and help regenerate the natural environment through better asset management, potentially even undoing all the damage previous industrial revolutions have caused. Many experts suggest that the fourth industrial revolution will benefit the rich much more than the poor, especially as low-skill, low-wage jobs disappear in favor of automation. 

"But this isn’t new. Historically, industrial revolutions have always begun with greater inequality followed by periods of political and institutional change. The industrial revolution that began at the beginning of the 19th century originally led to a huge polarization of wealth and power, before being followed by nearly 100 years of change including the spread of democracy, trade unions, progressive taxation and the development of social safety nets." 

According to a white paper from IHS Technology reported in 2014, the potential stakes of developing software and analytical systems were enormous "with the global industrial automation industry amounting to $170.2 billion in 2013, $182.7 billion in 2014 and an expected $209.4 billion in 2016." Mark Watson who was associate director for industrial automation at IHS clarified, "The term Industry 4.0 was coined by the German government to describe the intelligent factory, a vision of computerized manufacturing with processes all interconnected by the Internet of Things (IoT). Some believe that Industry 4.0 is expected to spur fundamental changes on the order of the steam-powered first Industrial Revolution, the mass production of the second, and the electronics and proliferation of information technology (IT) that characterized the third." 

In June 2017, Brad Keywell who was the 2017 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer told 'Forbes' followers, "The Fourth Industrial Revolution is now. And, whether you know it or not, it will affect you. To many people, these changes are scary. Previous industrial revolutions have shown us that if companies and industries don’t adapt with new technology, they struggle. Worse, they fail. The change brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution is inevitable, not optional. The productivity we unleash could be reminiscent of what the world saw at the advent of the first industrial revolution. But the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will run much broader, and deeper, than the first." 

Jon Card of the UK 'Telegraph' informed the public, "New technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, the internet of things (IoT) and robotics are now reality rather than speculation. The data collected via the internet revolution is powering predictive and automated devices which, in turn, collect more data, enabling machine learning. Combined, these innovations constitute what some call the 'fourth industrial revolution' or 'Industry 4.0' – in order to stay sustainable, businesses must rapidly adapt to this new paradigm, assessing its risks and predicting its likely effect on jobs, skills, products and wider society."

Barry McCall of 'The Irish Times' added, "The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0 as it has become known, is set to fundamentally transform the way in which manufacturers make, distribute and sell their products. It has the potential to usher in an era of mass customisation, where products are tailored to meet the needs and tastes of individual customers rather than mass markets." Ken Horan, industrial research lead with IMR, told 'The Irish Times', "If you look at the last 100 years of technological advance in manufacturing, it has been about varying degrees of mechanization of manual labor. Industry 4.0 is about the beginnings of the mechanization of intellectual labor."

Randy Wolken of MACNY reminded, "We are all aware of the Industrial Revolution. However, to be accurate, there has been more than one. The First Industrial Revolution (roughly 1760-1840) used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second Industrial Revolution (roughly 1870-1914) used electric power to create mass production. The Third Industrial Revolution (roughly 1950-1970) used electronics and information technology to automate production. 

"Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third. It is characterized by the fusion of technologies that merge the physical, digital, and biological spheres. There are at least three reasons why today’s transformations represent the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. They are velocity, scope, and systems impact. The speed of technological and process breakthroughs has no historical precedent. 

"When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is accelerating at an exponential, rather than linear, rate. Moreover, it is disrupting every industry globally. And, these changes impact entire systems of production, management, and governance. We stand on the brink of an industrial revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, it could be unlike anything humankind has ever experienced before."

Sebastian Buckup who was the head of Programming, World Economic Forum told readers of 'chinadaily.com.cn', "Historically, waves of progress have always been accompanied by forces of diffusion and concentration. Diffusion occurs as the power and privileges of the incumbents erode; concentration occurs as the influence of those assuming control over the new technologies expands. Both forces shaped the growth patterns of the past decades.

"In 1988, a lower-middle-class US citizen had more than six times the income of a well-off middle-class citizen in China. Today (in 2017), both earn almost the same amount. Similar leaps happened in other economies, from Turkey to Viet Nam. Yet, over the same period, half of the world's wealth went to the top 5% of the population, and almost one-fifth went to the highest 1%.

"Today's emerging technologies are again unleashing forces of diffusion and concentration in equal measure, opening up a wide range of plausible and possible outcomes. Smart and connected infrastructure might benefit a few exponential enterprises or millions of connected mini-multinationals; it might concentrate wealth with those who control the nodes of an internet of everything or turn these nodes into platforms that distribute value more fairly and efficiently; it might attract more people into urban hubs and deepen the rift between urban and rural areas or transform cities into compact connected units that help overcome the urban-rural divide.

"Technological change will shape our future but won't determine it. Every technology age found its expression in human values, principles, norms and institutions. In the wake of the First Industrial Revolution, poor working conditions gave birth to socialism and social capitalism; the green movement beginning in the 1970s was a response to the nuclear age and the age of mass consumption associated with the Second Industrial Revolution; in the late 20th century, global multistakeholder governance models gained traction in response to rapid globalization, a result of the Third or 'Digital' Revolution.

"… Achieving Inclusive Growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will require the power of imagination to see everything in our present world anew; a deep commitment to diversity as our best – if not only – chance to escape the echo chambers of our biases and beliefs; and a collective capacity for empathy as the glue that holds humanity together."

20170922

DATELINE NBC

With hosts Jane Pauley and Stone Phillips, 'Dateline' first went on air in March 1992, normally at 10pm (9pm in the middle of the country). The show was broadcast from NBC Studio 3B in Rockefeller Center, New York. It was the network's 18th attempt at developing a sustainable newsmagazine and as it turned out, became NBC News' most profitable show after 'Today' attracting between 10 million and 15 million viewers each episode. Neal Shapiro told 'Associated Press' in 2002, "'Dateline' can show up at any time slot, promoted or un-promoted, and it gets viewers." 

Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, told 'Associated Press', "It's so fluid. It can go from these stories that are really goofy ... to good, solid investigative journalism. It's almost as if 'Dateline' is the perpetual Trojan Horse. It keeps using its legitimacy as a newsmagazine to sneak in cheesy stories and at the same time, it uses its entertainment-oriented cheesiness to sneak in serious stories." 

Speaking to 'The Los Angeles Times', Neal Shapiro made the point, "We do a whole thing entitled 'Family Focus,' where we do things about how to raise kids, how to discipline kids, how to make kids eat. '60 Minutes' doesn't do those. We do consumer reporting. So does '20/20.' That's not what '60 Minutes' likes to do." As noted, 'Dateline NBC' could apply the "traditional newsmagazine format of 4 or 5 stories in an hour, and do 2-hour news 'movies' (or single-topic shows). 

"That contrasts with '60 Minutes', which usually follows a strict format governed by the ticking stopwatch. ABC's newsmagazines ('20/20' and 'Prime Time Live'), in general, are more aggressive in going after the big 'gets', or newsmaking interviews. More than its rivals, 'Dateline' embraces narrative techniques such as cliffhanger endings or leaving viewers in suspense heading into a commercial break." 

Steve Friedman elaborated, "They tell stories in a very compelling way, a very network prime-time way. They keep you at the edge of your chair, you don't know which way it's going. There's all these peaks and valleys." Neal Shapiro added, "I make no apology for using the best storytelling techniques to tell the best stories. As long as you're true to the stories and not misleading people, I don't have a problem with it." 

Around 1998, NBC expanded 'Dateline' to 5 nights a week. 'Time' magazine learnt, "Another important lesson that 'Dateline' has imparted is that a single brand name can be an efficient way of building a franchise." Don Hewitt begged to differ, "We think it's a terrible idea (following 'Dateline' by expanding '60 Minutes' to 2 editions). If NBC found 5 more Seinfelds, there would be 2 or 3 fewer Datelines on the air. That's not news. That's filler."

Jane Pauley countered, "Fast-forward 25 years, a few Saturdays ago (in 1973), in the context of another presidential crisis (Watergate), when NBC blew up the schedule and did a 2-hour special report. It's just hard for me to see why this (expansion) isn't progress. Unless I misunderstand Don, he is literally saying the only reason we are doing 5 nights at 'Dateline' is because of a failure of imagination on the entertainment side. And I'm thinking: 'So, isn't it nonetheless a better development from when the only news in prime time were those silly 30-second updates?' There may be plenty wrong with this business, but I'm not sure that's the significant issue." 

Stone Phillips offered, "My early sense is that this will be difficult. The stakes are up. Being on 5 nights a week is going to help us from the standpoint that we like to be the newsiest magazine. But again, you look at a Monica Lewinsky story and there are questions of proportion. I still think that magazine shows make their name and hold their audience with pieces that are in a sense evergreens. News is great, but it's the (longer stories) that make the show.

"Clearly, though, the point will come as an operation when it will become more and more unwieldy. What concerns me is that all of the checks and balances be strong, be thorough and be in place. It is a very tight shop now in that way, but the question becomes: How much can you funnel through that narrow space to make sure that the editorial process is as tight as it needs to be? We are all a mistake away from taking a major hit (referring to the first season scandal over the show staging of a collision to demonstrate fire dangers in a General Motors truck)."

Adam Gorfain maintained, "I don't think it's a lot. The fuel mixes according to what the engine needs. Some stories take a long time to do, others go quickly. I think we pride ourselves on our amoeba-like way of encircling whatever needs to be reported on at the moment." Of the Sunday night edition, Andy Lack argued, "'60 Minutes', of course, has been in the time period for 20 years (since 1968). It's a terrific show. One of my favorites. They're going to win that battle.

"They're going to win the ratings wars (with household ratings). In fact, I think it's fair to say ... 'Dateline' will probably come in 3rd in the time slot. We'll carve out our audience. You must remember that it wasn't very long ago … that most people didn't think there was room on network television for more than 3 magazines. Now there are comfortably 8 (the 1990s was a boom decade in prime-time news). The reason 'Dateline' is going into the time period is we think we can help NBC's schedule there. So the issue of success for us is improvement for NBC (with the 18 to 49 demographics). I think '60 Minutes', traditionally, draws a very much older audience than 'Dateline'."

Neal Shapiro stated, "'Dateline' won more Emmys last year (in 1995) than any other news magazine. And I think if you check ... you will find, more often than not, in the hallways of other news divisions, you will hear things like, 'Why can't we do blank like 'Dateline' does?" Neal Shapiro also told 'Time' magazine in 2001, "The rule used to be that when there was a big, breaking news story, if you didn't see it on the evening news, the next place to catch it was your local news, and then maybe 'Nightline'. We said, 'No. If it's a great story, we'll have it that night.'" Andrew Heyward insisted, "I see prime-time news as a supplement to the evening-news program, not a substitute."

Neal Shapiro told 'The Los Angeles Times', "At 'Dateline,' we have never said there is not enough news. I sit here today (in 1998) and I have 40 stories in our bank that I would like to get on. I think our view of news is not just what you would see on the front page, it is what you would see in all parts of the paper. Stories can be compelling if they are a front-page breaking news story or an interesting profile you might see in the middle of the paper or a how-to-raise-your-children spot that you may see in the family pages or a quirky story you might see in the lifestyle section ... I think our definition of what is news is just broader."

Stone Phillips reminded, "I think the crusading journalism which marked the early days of magazine work - whether it was Mike Wallace at '60 Minutes' or Geraldo Rivera at '20/20' - really set them up as the investigative aces who were out there uncovering important stuff and righting wrongs. I think you will see less of that, generally, at 'Dateline'. The approach over here is to emphasize balance. I think the great story is the gray story. Usually, when I see something that is pretty clear-cut on television - black hats here and white hats there - I usually wonder what I didn't hear."

TV news was said to be "so expensive and labor-intensive, you often have to pre-crash-test stories". Adam Gorfain told 'The Los Angeles Times', "We do a lot of pre-production. We test what might go wrong before we even get started on a story (for example, sufficient visual elements for a TV story). Hopefully, if it's going to go bust, it will do so before it gets started. I think I'm paid as much to knock down stories as to approve them."

In 2002, there were 80 news producers and 12 correspondents working on 'Dateline NBC'. In 1998, it was reported 'Dateline' had 20 part-or-full-time correspondents and 96 news producers. At the time, 'The Los Angeles Times' informed readers, "The range at network newsmagazines for producers is approximately $80,000 to $120,000 a year, with correspondents often making several times more than that. But they are often termed 'news nuns', their lives consumed by regularly working 60-and-70-hour weeks. The great bulk of 'Dateline' staff is in its late 20s or 30s, having graduated from top colleges." 

NEWSPRINT

Cordt Schnibben of 'Spiegel Online' reported in 2003, as translated from German to English by Christopher Sultan: "In the last decade, the daily newspaper has largely lost its role in shaping public opinion. Which piece of news penetrates into the public consciousness, and which news is considered scandalous or worth debating, is now the consequence of a rapid back-and-forth between magazines, websites and TV, as well as social media like Facebook (and Twitter) and aggregators like Google.

"Daily newspapers are threatened economically by the Internet, but journalistically even more so. The Internet is creating a kind of counter-public to the classic media by plundering them and depriving them of control and their aura (and) turns readers into participants in the conversation, editors, inspirers and nuisances, schemers and agitators.

"Many readers have turned to the Internet as their most important source of information ... which is why 46 of 332 German newspapers are now (in 2003) charging money for certain articles on their websites (Bild, Hamburger Abendblatt, Lübecker Nachrichten), or for all articles (Die Welt, Badische Zeitung, Saarbrücker Zeitung). In the United States, 450 of 1,380 newspapers now (in 2003) plan to offset the revenue losses of daily newspapers with paid content."

Mathew Ingram of 'Fortune' reported in 2016, "As tempting as it is to re-imagine history, however, it's a virtual certainty that even if most newspapers had focused more of their resources on print and less on digital, the outcome would have been more or less identical. In other words, print newspapers had already been in gradual decline for a decade before the consumer Internet came along, a decline driven primarily by radio and television news."

In 1994, there were as many as 10 prime-time newsmagazines on the air. "Apart from public service and our journalistic merits, the newsmagazines are of real benefit financially to the networks," one newsmagazine producer told the 'Los Angeles Times'. By 1998, programs such as 'Dateline NBC' expanded to as many as 5 nights a week. Warren Littlefield told advertisers at the time, "The value to us (of having several nights of 'Dateline' on the chessboard) is that it gives us flexibility to move strategically to dominance in prime time." In all, newsmagazines occupied 11 hours of the 24 hours in prime time that season on the 3 networks.

As understood, 'Dateline NBC' was also the first program to produce 5 hours of prime-time network programming a week. "I've heard it many times," Neal Shapiro stated. "'News keeps the lights on.'" It was reported newsmagazines cost less to produce than an hour of comedy or drama. It also had fresh programming every week, even through the summer and improved the network's performance in time slots the network wasn't likely to win.

"I know that 'Dateline' is an important franchise to NBC," Neal Shapiro added. "But the cold, hard reality is that successful comedies and dramas make more money than newsmagazines. Newsmagazines start out as counter-programming and, if they do well, they can become hits of their own, like 'PrimeTime Live,' '20/20' and our own newsmagazine.

"We're on 5 nights a week now (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday), so as things keep happening, there are stories you want to jump on. We probably do more crashes than any other news show." The 'Los Angeles Times' explained the "crashes" was "the TV news insider's term for the drop-everything-and-get-it-done-preferably-yesterday story."

Bryce Nelson, who was the professor of journalism at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication told the 'Los Angeles Times' in 1998, "I cannot imagine that 'Dateline' will have enormous ratings week after week. Even when '60 Minutes' was on alone, it was hard to get 3 good magazine stories a week. If you try to do this every night, it's going to be very hard to get stories with content."

Mathew Ingram of 'Fortune' continued, "All the Internet did was accelerate and enlarge that drop, by siphoning away the attention of newspaper readers, and then the advertising revenue they depended on for their livelihood. In a little over a decade, the newspaper industry had lost $45 billion in ad revenue. It's no coincidence that during that same period, Google gained about $40 billion in ad revenue, thanks to the development of 'programmatic' ad markets, where ads are bought and sold by algorithms.

"Craigslist and other digital providers also siphoned off real estate and classified revenue. The result of this transition was intense pressure on advertising prices, something that has kept online ad rates orders of magnitude lower than print advertising. Even if newspapers had ignored the web entirely and focused on making their print editions as robust and profitable as possible, both of those trends would still have taken place, and print newspapers would have wound up in the same predicament they are now. The media world has changed. It's just the way evolution works. Ask the music industry."

'Acta Diurna' (Daily Events) was the first newspaper published around 59BC, during the pre-Julian Roman calendar times in Rome. In 1994, 'The New York Times' became the first newspaper to spearhead the digital revolution. John Bonazzo of 'The Observer' reported in 2016, "In 1994, 'The New York Times' had partnered with America Online to launch @times, a digest of the paper's and culture stories. The interface was very basic. So the next year, the paper decided to go all in on digital. The beta version of nytimes.com launched in October 1995, and on January 22, 1996 the website went live to the world."

Peter T. Lewis informed readers at the time, "'The New York Times' begins publishing daily on the World Wide Web today, offering readers around the world immediate access to most of the daily newspaper's contents ... With its entry on the Web, 'The Times' is hoping to become a primary information provider in the computer age and to cut costs for newsprint, delivery and labor. Companies that have established Web-based information sites include television networks, computer companies, on-line information services, magazines and even individuals creating electronic newspapers of their own."

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of 'The Times' enthused at the time of its launch, "Our site is designed to take full advantage of the evolving capabilities offered by the Internet. We see our role on the Web as being similar to our traditional print role - to act as a thoughtful, unbiased filter and to provide our customers with information they need and can trust."

In 2011, Lord Justice Leveson held a 16-month public inquiry, understood to be the 6th since 1945, into "the culture, practices and ethics of the press" in the UK. The Leveson inquiry heard from 184 witnesses and accepted 42 written submissions at the high court in London. Rupert Murdoch told the Leveson inquiry although the internet represented an "opportunity", he also made the appeal to the government not to "over-regulate".

Rupert Murdoch maintained, "We're dealing in a very complex world with disruptive technologies, and we're suffering at the hand of those, so when it comes to regulation, I just beg for some care. A varied press guarantees democracy and we want democracy rather than autocracy. Every newspaper has had a very good run... It's coming to an end as a result of these disruptive technologies.

"I think we will have both (Internet and print news) for quite a while, certainly ten years (to 2022), some people say five (to 2017). I'd be more inclined to say 20 (to 2032), but 20 means very small circulations. I think you have a danger of regulating, putting regulations in place which will mean there will be no press in 10 years (around 2022) to regulate. The fact is, the Internet came along, slowly developed as a source of news, and now is absolutely in our space and I think it's been responsible for a lot of loss of circulation."

"Fast-forward to 2016," Dan Kennedy of 'WGBH News' made the observation, "The Internet has shifted the balance of power from publishers to advertisers, who can reach their customers far more efficiently than they could by taking a shot in the dark on expensive print ads. The result, according to the Newspaper Association of America (as reported by the Pew Research Center), is that print ad revenues have fallen from $44.9 billion in 2003 to just $16.4 billion in 2014, while digital ad revenues -$3.5 billion in 2014 - have barely budged since 2006."

As such "newspapers remain utterly reliant on their shrunken print editions for most of their revenues. Twenty years after nytimes.com staked out its home on the Web, newspapers are still the source of most of the public interest. Clay Shirky once said, 'Society doesn't need newspapers. What we need is journalism.' Journalism we need to govern ourselves in a democracy."

Brian McGrory of 'The Boston Globe' told a 'Bates' audience in February 2016, "Journalism is really about life. You can’t give up on print too quickly and you can’t embrace digital too quickly. You need to make a nuanced and sophisticated transition. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to argue that the very foundation of a strong democracy depends on this issue getting fixed. Our print readers are paying top dollar. They are our most hardcore readers, our most faithful readers. We also have to understand that the future of our industry - undoubtedly - is digital."

At one time, "Classified ads were the dirty secret of American journalism" earning around $180 million a year for the newspapers. Enough revenue to hire an "enormous staff" of 540 Globe journalists. Farhad Manjoo of slate.com offered technology followers his analysis of why the Internet of 1996 was almost unrecognizable compared with 2009, "It's 1996, and you're bored. What do you do?

"If you're one of the lucky people with an AOL account, you probably do the same thing you'd do in 2009: Go online. Crank up your modem, wait 20 seconds as you log in, and there you are - 'Welcome.' You check your mail, then spend a few minutes chatting with your AOL buddies about which of you has the funniest screen name (you win, pimpodayear94). Then you load up Internet Explorer, AOL's default Web browser. Now what?

"There's no YouTube, Digg, Huffington Post, or Gawker. There's no Google, Twitter, Facebook, or Wikipedia. A few newspapers and magazines have begun to put their articles online - you can visit 'The New York Times' or 'Time' - and there are a handful of new Web-only publications, including Feed, HotWired, Salon, Suck, Urban Desires, Word, and, launched in June, Slate. But these sites aren't very big, and they don't hold your interest for long.

"People still refer to the new medium by its full name - the World Wide Web - and although you sometimes find interesting stuff here, you're constantly struck by how little there is to do. You rarely linger on the Web; your computer takes about 30 seconds to load each page, and, hey, you're paying for the Internet by the hour. Plus, you're tying up the phone line. Ten minutes after you log in, you shut down your modem.

"You've got other things to do - after all, a new episode of 'Seinfeld' is on … We all know that the Internet has changed radically since the '90s, but there's something dizzying about going back to look at how people spent their time 13 years ago (in 1996). Sifting through old Web pages today is a bit like playing video games from the 1970s; the fun is in considering how awesome people thought they were, despite all that was missing. In 1996, just 20 million American adults had access to the Internet, about as many as subscribe to satellite radio today. The dot-com boom had already begun on Wall Street - Netscape went public in 1995 - but what's striking about the old Web is how unsure everyone seemed to be about what the new medium was for."

Erik Sass of 'Media Post' reported in June 2016, "According to the Census, total US newspaper publishing revenues including advertising and circulation fell 4.4% from $6.51 billion in the first quarter of 2015 to $6.22 billion in the first quarter of 2016. US magazine publishers saw total revenues fall from $6.66 billion to $6.36 billion, for a decline of 4.5% over the same period, again across both ads and circulation."

In its 2006 report, 'The Economist' argued, "At their best, newspapers hold governments and companies to account. They usually set the news agenda for the rest of the media. But in the rich world newspapers are now an endangered species. The business of selling words to readers and selling readers to advertisers, which has sustained their role in society, is falling apart. Of all the 'old' media, newspapers have the most to lose from the Internet.

"Circulation has been falling in America, western Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand for decades (elsewhere, sales are rising). But in the past few years the web has hastened the decline. In his book 'The Vanishing Newspaper', Philip Meyer calculates that the first quarter of 2043 will be the moment when newsprint dies in America as the last exhausted reader tosses aside the last crumpled edition. Britons aged between 15 and 24 say they spend almost 30% less time reading national newspapers once they start using the Web."

Tony Rogers of 'Thoughtco.' made the conclusion, "Contrary to expectations, many newspapers remain profitable although they no longer have the huge profit margins they did in the 1990s. Years after the digital pundits started predicting the demise of print, newspapers still take significant revenue from print advertising, but it declined from $60 billion to about $20 billion between 2010 and 2015.

"And those who claim that the future of news is online and only online ignore one critical point: Online ad revenue alone just isn’t enough to support most news companies. So online news sites will need an as-yet undiscovered business model to survive. One possibility may be paywalls, which many newspapers and news websites are increasingly using to generate much-needed revenue.

"A Pew Research Center study found that paywalls have been adopted at 450 of the country's 1,380 dailies and they seem to be effective. That study also found that the success of paywalls combined with print subscription and single-copy price increases has led to a stabilization – or, in some cases, even an increase in revenues from circulation. So papers don't have to rely as much as they once did on advertising revenue. Until someone figures out how to make online news sites profitable, newspapers aren't going anywhere."

'The Economist' continued. "The decline of newspapers will not be as harmful to society as some fear. Democracy, remember, has already survived the huge television-led decline in circulation since the 1950s. It has survived as readers have shunned papers and papers have shunned what was in stuffier times thought of as serious news. And it will surely survive the decline to come.

"Classified ads, in particular, are quickly shifting online. Rupert Murdoch, the Beaverbrook of our age, once described them as the industry's rivers of gold - but, as he said last year (in 2005), 'Sometimes rivers dry up.' In Switzerland and the Netherlands newspapers have lost half their classified advertising to the Internet. Having ignored reality for years, newspapers are at last doing something. In order to cut costs, they are already spending less on journalism.

"Many are also trying to attract younger readers by shifting the mix of their stories towards entertainment, lifestyle and subjects that may seem more relevant to people's daily lives than international affairs and politics are. They are trying to create new businesses on-and-offline. And they are investing in free daily papers, which do not use up any of their meagre editorial resources on uncovering political corruption or corporate fraud. So far, this fit of activity looks unlikely to save many of them. Even if it does, it bodes ill for the public role of the Fourth Estate."

20170921

SONS AND DAUGHTERS

Produced by the Grundys for the Australian 7 network, 'Sons and Daughters' had been shown in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, the Azores (Portugal) and New Zealand during the series' original run from 1982 to 1987. Created by Reg Watson, 'Sons and Daughters' had inspired other local productions such as the German version, 'Verbotene Liebe', which Reg Watson also created; the Swedish version 'Skilda Världar' (Worlds Apart) and the Croatian version, 'Zabranjena Ljubva' (Forbidden Love). 

By 1989, 'Fairfax Media' reported other countries such as Angola, the Arabian Gulf, Bahamas, Barbados, Luxembourg, Swaziland and Trinidad had also bought the 'Sons and Daughters' series. In all, 972 episodes were produced. Philip Gerlach of Beyond 2000 group told the press at the time, "With our three commercial stations (Seven, Nine and Ten) and long ratings period (40-week ratings season), our industry is just the most competitive in the world. Australian series average 48 hours of production a year compared with 22 hours in America, so our series are easier to sell because the stations find them much easier to program." 

Rowena Wallace was 34 when she was casted to play Patricia on 'Sons and Daughters' between 1982 and 1985. "Of all the bitchy women I've played Patricia is the bitchiest," Rowena told Prue MacSween in 1982. "She is the most continually divisive character I've ever played and that's simply because of the practicalities of it all. She's on every week, so she is doing it continually. She never lets up and she's more complex … 

"With Patricia you never know what the writers are going to come up with. She is limitless. In fact, I can’t imagine what she’s going to be doing next, but I think I might have to leave the country! She’s not a pleasant woman. She's a very neurotic woman who can't get her life in order, and she has obsesions about things. I understand these things and know they are aspects of human nature that exist in all of us to some degree. We all grapple with them but in her they're larger than life. 

"I couldn't cope with being a woman like her – it would be exhausting and very sad. Her mind must be in terrible turmoil at times … God we talk about her as if she really exists … I would imagine that the writers are very aware of this … and they have said something to me which indicates that she is not going to get away with it forever, that she will get her comeuppance." 

Reg Grundy was described as "Australia’s first international TV mogul." Brian Walsh of Foxtel told Andrew Fenton of 'News Corp' in 2016, "When Reg was building his company it was really game on, you could literally go to the US, look at a show and bring the tape home and do your own interpretation. They were pretty wild days in television in Australia. We were so isolated I don’t think the Americans were even awake to the fact of what was happening." 

Bevan Lee added, "I think he was always ahead of the curve. We lived in a world where no one conceived our TV would sell overseas but he did." Andrew Fenton informed readers, "A key part of Grundy’s success were the innovative, high volume, low cost production techniques they'd developed in Australia." An hour of 'Sons and Daughters' was said to have costed around $A80,000 to produce.

Andrew Brooke elaborated, "It was absolutely a (taking) coal to Newcastle situation. An Australian producer, selling a US show back to the US — you'd tell them they were dreaming but Reg made it happen. The Americans were astounded at quality of production and couldn't understand how we did that. No one knew how to make 5 episodes a week of drama (in prime time)." 

The American daytime soap operas were said to have inspired the series 'Class of '74'. Brian Walsh recalled, "What Grundy did was lift that idea and move it to prime time. That was the beginning of strip programming as we know it now, with 'Neighbours' and 'Home and Away' becoming very popular. At the time it was quite a breakthrough."

Don Battye was the executive producer on 'Sons and Daughters' and 'Neighbours'. Anthony Hayward of Scotland's national newspaper, 'The Scotsman' reported in 2016, "Generally, Battye stuck to a tried-and-tested formula by employing a team of scriptwriters reflecting both young and old attitudes and rarely allowing the soap ('Neighbours') to veer into melodrama."

Tim Hughes told the press, "He (Reg Grundy) had a saying, that we were 'internationally parochial'. In every country he opened up he'd be local, adapt the format or the scripts to suit the country and hire local actors." Peter Pinne recounted in 2016, "The theme from 'Sons and Daughters', which we wrote in one hour, was the most popular song Don (Battye) and I ever wrote. It's been recorded many times, and heard around the world. One Sunday afternoon when I was living in Santiago, Chile, in the '90s, the TV was on in another room and I suddenly heard the theme playing. I rushed into to see it and there was Rowena Wallace – speaking Spanish!"

20170919

TELEVISION

In the 1993 pilot movie, 'Staying Afloat', Larry Hagman played Alexander Turnbull Hollingsworth III, a disinherited playboy with a passion for money and the high life. Set in Palm Beach, Florida, "I thought Dallas was rich, but Palm Beach is something else. There are $10 million houses with $10 million yachts out back - hundreds of properties like that. I asked about one of these 35-year-old billionaires who wasn't home. 'Well, he comes down about one week a year,' I was told." 

The 'Chicago Tribune' understood the boat was the key to Larry Hagman's character, "I've got the greatest bloody boat for this show. We fought and we fought over the boat we'd use. They kept coming up with these $10 million all-white all-plastic look-alikes. I wanted something like Franklin D. Roosevelt's yacht. The insurance company kept saying, 'What if it catches fire?' I said, 'What is this 'if' (bleep)? You're iffing us out of the business. 

"I'm gonna start my own political party - WGAS. Who Gives a (bleep). Besides WGAS, I'm promoting a group called PMS. The Protect the Mosquito Society. Mosquitoes are God's creatures just as much as whales or spotted owls. It'll cost you $10,000 to join the PMS, but the money will go to research to mate the large slow Alaska mosquito with the small fast Panama one. So I'm waiting for your check." 

As Alexander Turnbull Hollingsworth III, Larry Hagman noted, "All my life I've written checks for a living. Now the money has run out. I need to find a way to support myself, my yacht, my manservant and my cat. I have this teensy tax problem. I say: 'Tax problem? I haven't paid taxes in years.' So the gummint says they'll whittle down my problem if I work for them. I'm not too smart, but working for the gummint you don't have to be too smart." 

In the movie, a Justice Department agent (played by Gregg Henry) presented the government's (or gummint) offer to subsidize Alexander Turnbull Hollingsworth III's continual lifestyle, if in exchange he served as an informant on crimes within the upper class. In explaining the relevance of the movie 'Staying Afloat' had to modern times, Larry Hagman told the 'Tribune Media Services', "He is having to do something for the first time in his life, and a lot of people in our society now (in 1993) are having to start over again.

"They have to retrain and find something else to do, and the work force is getting younger and younger. Older people are going to have to find some way of functioning, maybe through service to the community. We can all use some new input into what life is all about, but I don’t want to get too serious (with the show). I just want to keep it light and amusing."

As the star and executive producer of 'Staying Afloat', Larry Hagman told the 'Chicago Tribune', "Sometimes they (NBC and TriStar Television) forget I'm a producer too. They say, 'It's our policy not to discuss actors' performances when there's an actor present.' I said, 'Well, don't forget I'm a producer. If one other producer is there, I have to be there.' I love working on location in Florida (Fort Lauderdale) where we're out from under the thumbs of the 7-year-olds running the network. Some of them said to me, 'Hey you're a pretty funny guy - you should do a comedy.' Yeah, like they never saw 'I Dream of Jeannie' (1965-1970)."

Claire Yarlett of 'The Colbys' played Lauren. However Larry Hagman insisted the characters should not be romantically involved in order to keep fans tuned in, "When Jeannie and the master got married, everybody lost interest. So it was kind of non-consummated after all, they lived in the same house, in the same rooms for 4 years, and the 5th year they got married. So, I think the non-consummation is much more fun, as long as you have that sexual energy going."

The 'Sun Sentinel' understood, "NBC is spending more than $3 million on this two-hour movie, the pilot for a planned series beginning this winter (January 1994)." Although Larry Hagman preferred to do 6 two-hour movies of 'Staying Afloat' a year. In making 'Staying Afloat', Larry Hagman recounted, "(It's a balance between) trying to get what I want and what they (Tri-Star Television) think we should have. I would like a certain amount of class to this. There's always compromise, but they (producers Albert S. Ruddy and Gray Frederickson) have backed me, and they're quite supportive in the taste that we're all trying to get on the show."

As producer, Larry Hagman remarked, "Producers seem to work all the time. As an actor, you just come on and do your job and you’re off. You go home and have dinner, but producers are always on the phone; some catastrophe is always happening. (On 'Staying Afloat') we lost two of the houses we were going to shoot in, just two days before we (found another one). It was barren, so they had to decorate it within 24 hours. (Resolving such dilemmas) kind of makes it fun for me, but it's awfully hard on the people I work with."

Had 'Staying Afloat' became the one-hour midseason weekly series, Larry Hagman was considering directing, "Directors get terrific residuals. You get $20,000 for rebroadcast on top of the $30,000 you get for doing it, and all you are is a traffic cop. I'm going to tell Carroll O'Connor (in 2 episodes of 'In the Heat of the Night') how to act? You know those dreams you have that are so vivid, you can almost direct them? That's when I do my creative stuff."

Up against the comedy series, 'Step By Step' starring Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers and the  Barbara Walters show '20/20', 'Staying Afloat' attracted 13.7 million viewers (9.5% households ratings and 17% audience share). Larry Hagman lamented, "When I came into the business, if the heads of the network liked an idea for a show, they'd say, 'Do 26 of them.' Those days are gone. These young bucks coming up with no experience, they're not committed to anything and nothing gets done."

Speaking to reporter Janis Froelich about the idea for the project 'Staying Afloat', Larry Hagman mentioned, "'Dallas' came on at a time (in 1979) when there was a very substantial recession, and people seemed to go for the money and the cars, and all the wonderful things that money can buy. And here we are, 15 years later (in 1993), back in the same situation. And I think people are ready for that. (However) I will not be wearing cowboy boots under my sailing togs. J.R is really the kind of guy who could run the oil business from the ground up, and he knew it backwards and forwards. And the character I'm playing now has no business and has never worked a day in his life."

On reflection, Larry Hagman told the 'Chicago Tribune', "I'm 62 now (in November 1993). I'm old enough to remember when 62 was old. I work now because it's fun. 'Staying Afloat' doesn't pay like 'Dallas' did. The character I play is the most important to me, followed by the location, and the money comes last. What do I need with more money, for God's sake?

"I have an apartment in New York, a ranch in Santa Fe (New Mexico), a castle in Ojai outside of L.A., a beach house in Malibu and thinking of buying a place in Santa Monica. I've been everywhere. I already do hunting and fishing. I fly. I ride my Harley. I like to dabble." In his 20th-floor apartment looking over Central Park and the Upper East Side, Larry Hagman told 'New York Newsday', "I could afford the best hotels in the world for the rest of my life for what this thing costs. The taxes are like $40,000 a year. But Mrs. Hagman wanted a pied a terre in New York."

Born in a $6,000 one bathroom house on an unpaved street in Dallas in 1923, Aaron Spelling had risen to become TV's most prolific producer in the Guinness Book of World Records. The youngest of 5 children of Pearl and David Spelling, Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants, Aaron Spelling had been responsible for 3,000 episodes or 4,220 hours of television over 5 decades which required 6 months to see back to back.

In reruns, it equated to 8,000 hours of domestic syndication and 18,000 hours internationally ('Beverly Hills, 90210' was shown in 90 countries; 'Melrose Place' in 80 countries). "We'd been thinking about doing a continuous drama set in high school for some time," Jamie Kellner of Fox recalled. "And we had this young writer, Darren Star, but our fear was that it would skew too young, so we brought in Aaron."

"Aaron really believes he's performing a service with his shows," one former colleague told the press, "that he is giving people an escape from the misery of their lives." As Aaron Spelling reminded, "We never know what entertainment does, how it affects people, but I bet if you went down the street and asked people - not in Beverly Hills - but ethnic groups, who can't afford to go to the theater, can't even afford HBO, 'What does television mean in your life?' you'd be shocked at the answer."

His wealth was estimated at $310 million in 1994. Sumner Redstone of Viacom declared, "To the rest of the world, he was the most prolific creator on TV for our times, and maybe for all times." Lee Gabler argued Aaron Spelling's shows "are more than entertainment. They have become part of the fabric of popular culture." The 'Los Angeles Times' noted, "He recognizes what the networks and studios have long known - that TV is software, able to generate streams of revenue far beyond a single night's airing."

Merrill Lynch media analyst, Jessica Reif observed, "Spelling is a cash cow." One former partner made the point, "Aaron loves to take credit for all his shows, but look at the credits. Not one of them says 'Created by Aaron Spelling.' But we aren't supposed to complain, because this is the man who made us all fabulously wealthy." After spending 18 years putting the network ABC on the map, Aaron Spelling turned his attention to Fox and WB in the 1990s.

Of those shows, TV analyst Betsy Frank of Zenith Media pointed out, "Spelling still has no real network penetration. He remains most successful developing programming for young, youth-oriented networks like Fox and the WB." Don Ohlmeyer of NBC expressed, "Drama is what Aaron does best, but dramas are tricky for networks today (in the 1990s) because they take time to find their audience. Fox has the luxury of being able to live with a 10 share, something that a major network can't."

In 1986, Aaron Spelling took Spelling Entertainment Group Inc. public. By 1996, "The truth is, the company has grown and grown. I have this stupid worry that shareholders bought stock because of me, people who pay my salary. But the stock price? That bothers the hell out of me." At the time, Aaron Spelling successfully renewed a 2-year contract with the new season's program orders totalling 400 hours, "That is more hours than in any year of our history."

Douglas Cramer acknowledged, "Aaron has a legendary instinct for what the public wants to see." Jamie Kellner of the WB Television Network added, "It's more than storytelling; there's a look that Aaron gets with his shows. It's the glamor, the fashion, the detail that audiences, especially women, love. What Aaron does really well is that whole wealthy-family thing."

As a holding company, 'The Los Angeles Times' reported Spelling Entertainment Group Inc. also had programming from Worldvision - the company's in-house distributorship once owned by ABC - as well as Republic Pictures, a vast library of pre-1974 NBC series as well as such films as 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'Basic Instinct'.

Ten years after 'Paper Dolls' went off the air in 1984, Aaron Spelling launched 'Models Inc.' in 1994. Up against 'Roseanne' and 'Dateline NBC', 'Models Inc.' attracted between 9 million and 11 million viewers each Wednesday night. Although such numbers were considered poor ratings in the US, 'Models Inc.' continued to sell in France as the series teetered on the brink of cancellation. John Ryan of Worldvision believed, "With Spelling, broadcasters know they are buying a brand name."

Linda Gray played Hillary Michaels, CEO/owner of the Los Angeles modeling agency, Models Inc. In casting Linda Gray, Aaron Spelling offered, "Every show must have a quarterback - like John Forsythe was on 'Dynasty' - and Linda is an immediate quarterback." It was understood Linda Gray brought "marquee value to the series and its network".

"I had no idea what to expect when fame came (in 1978 on 'Dallas')," Linda Gray confessed. "There wasn't a class you could take. And we were working so hard, being a celebrity didn't really take over. Nobody knows these kids (her co-stars) . . . yet. But they know me. I'm the one up for criticism. When I went to read for 'Models' . . . people who don't really know me that well were saying things like 'A new series - what are you doing? You know how much work that will be?' But I knew it must be my time to be out there again."

In playing Hillary, Linda suggested, "I'll say something about my character with just a look. When the kids on the set come up to me and ask 'What happens?' (if the show is a hit), I tell them, 'It's your own journey.'" E. Duke Vincent maintained, "Any television show starts with a concept, and if you don't have a story you don't have anything, but probably the most important thing in television is casting, and that's where he's king. Aaron has been the king of casting for the 28 years I have been working with him, and for the 15 years before he even knew me."

Michael Idato reported in 2005, "In more spritely days, Aaron Spelling was famous for wandering down the driveway of his 123-room estate on Mapleton Drive in the exclusive Los Angeles suburb of Bel Air to wave at the busloads of tourists who came to see what the media called 'the house that Dynasty built'." Aaron Spelling stated in 1994, "They're the fans, and they're the people that built that house. I know that sounds very corny, and I'm sorry, but I mean it." Producer Jonathan Levin concluded, "Those are the people he makes shows for and that lies at the heart of why he has well-constructed shows. He has asked himself what ordinary hard-working people want out of television. And he has come up with a formula that has worked for many, many decades."

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