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If We Want Quality Black Entertainment, Support Quality Entertainment

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

Media, Entertainment Businesses are Not Non-Profits


Recently, when quality television shows aimed at the African-American community have received the axe, calls for boycotts have come from some who cannot understand why good shows get canceled, while stereotypical reality shows continue living on in perpetuity.


The simple answer to that question revolves around money.


The purpose of the media business or the entertainment industry is not to provide positive images of Black life.


The job of the entertainment business is not even to make good, quality content per se.


The purpose of the entertainment business and the media business is just like any other business on the planet.


The purpose is to make profits, period.


The entertainment business is based on simple supply and demand economics.


Those businesses will only give us more of what we support.


So, while it is unfortunate that shows like “News One Now” from TV One and “The Quad” from BET cease to exist, instead of calling for boycotts of the networks that tried to give us quality Black content, those boycotts should be aimed at trashy reality shows that depict African-Americans in a negative light.


And the media, the whipping post for everything wrong in the world, should not be blamed for the lack of support of quality programming.


That blame rests with you and I, the consumers of media content.


If the African-American community wants programming, which features us in a positive light then stop supporting the negativity of reality shows and music that promotes violence, drug use, drug sells and misogyny.


According to Variety, “The series (“The Quad”) initially kicked off in February 2017 with a two hour pilot movie. Season 2 of the series averaged a 0.2 rating in adults 18-49 and 553,000 viewers per episode in the Nielsen Live+Same Day numbers, down around 30% in both measures from the first season.”


While “The Quad” was well written, well acted, much needed and my favorite television show, producing a scripted series is extremely expensive compared to reality shows or talk shows.


If the shows are not bringing in a profit, the show has to get canceled unless the network just wants to go out of business completely.


After the cancelation of “News One Now” on TV One in 2017, many people criticized the fact that TV One continued to play reruns of sitcoms like “Good Times” and “The Cosby Show,” but canceled important programming like “News One Now” and “Save our Sons.”


The reason that TV One continues to show reruns of old sitcoms is simple.


Those old sitcoms are cheap and all networks need is to pay a licensing fee to air them, and not spend any money on preproduction, production or postproduction.


If the African-American community wants quality content, we simply have to support those shows and not just offer lips service.


Talk is cheap, but quality television production is definitely not cheap.


It costs a lot of money to hire writers, producers and directors.


It costs money for those sets, sound stages, clothing, makeup and music licensing rights.


It costs money for the cars and buildings that can be seen on a television show.


However, it does not cost as much money to have a non-scripted show with reality stars or those who desire to be reality TV stars.


Hollywood, like any other industry, will only give us what we support, not what we say we want to support.


It is time to support what we really say we want because if we do not, Hollywood will not hear our desire for quality programming.

This article was published on Friday 13 April, 2018.
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