Thursday, July 17, 2008

Emmy loves her cable…

The continual erosion of the viewing base from conventional television networks to the cable offerings seems to be moving at a rapid pace.

As evidence that television viewers are moving their eyeballs from the established networks to the more risk taking options on cable, look no further than the Emmy nominations released today.

Two shows Mad Men and Damages have once again rattled conventional televisions cages, as they become the first cable based programs to be nominated for best series, it marks the first time that the once dominant over the air networks have faced competition from the cable world in the ongoing weekly series category.

HBO and Showtime also cast large shadows again this awards show season, with Showtime's John Adams, the sweeping historical series from the network capturing some 23 nominations for the September awards show, which will celebrate the 60th anniversary of televisions recognition of excellence.

In the lead actor male category, Cable programs accounted for four of five nominations while cable programs accounted for three of five lead female actor nominations.

One surprise was the continuing refusal of the television academy to recognize The Wire, the cable favourite that wrapped up its journey through Baltimore's crime ridden docks, schools and streets earlier this season. The much acclaimed program received only one nomination, only the second of its five year run, a remarkable snub for a show that was so respected by television critics.

The Wire, like the Soprano's before it, was indicative of the timbre of programming that attracted viewers away from mainstream television on Sunday nights, offering up a gritty realism that conventional television just couldn't accept or produce.

The shift in audience loyalties has been a progressive movement, partially in response to the offerings of the commercial over the air networks which seem to be offering less and less of an enticing mix as they push endless options of reality shows and participatory variety shows as the basic fodder for their programming nights.

On cable on the other hand some finely written and produced dramas and comedies are taking hold of the audiences, providing a mature theme in many instances but one that carries with it well conceived plots and outstanding acting from some of the stars of the day and those that may soon be.

The shifting sands of television have been examined in a number of articles, a few of which we provide for your interpretation, providing of course you’re not busy watching television today.

Los Angeles Daily News-- The requisite Emmy analysis essay

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