Happy new year! I rung in 2014 at Quartz with — what else? — this list of five resolutions that the networks should make for the coming year to thrive in this strange new world of streaming, stacking and binge-viewing. Among them: Plan for life after talent competitions.
For the past decade, talent competitions like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars have dominated the TV landscape, but across the board, almost all of those shows are showing signs of fatigue. Idol, Dancing, America’s Got Talent, and The X Factor’s ratings were all down sharply this season (only relative newbie The Voice is still robustly chugging along), despite various attempts at shuffling formats and judges.
Even with the ratings drop-off, most of these shows are still solid performers, but they are definitely closer to the end of their run. Given the vast amount of real estate they occupy on their respective networks, it’s time to come up with contingency plans for when these shows do take their final bows. Otherwise they’ll be repeating the mistakes of ABC and NBC, whose respective schedules took years to recover from overreliance on the likes of Who Wants to be a Millionaire and The Jay Leno Show. It could be argued that they still haven’t recovered.
Resolutions are easy to make, but very hard to follow. I’ll check back in with this story at the end of the year and see how many of these the networks actually stuck with.