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In defense of network television in the Peak TV era

  • Noting that SNL was the only network show to win primetime Emmys this year, Robert Lloyd says: "Well, Emmys schmemmys. Making television to win awards is a recipe for television that looks like it was made to win awards. Do you imagine the gang at NCIS fret much about their lack of academy gold? Or do they sadly console themselves with regularly being named the most-watched series in the world? There is no social advantage in declaring oneself a fan of Blue Bloods, yet there it is, embarking on its 10th season. Broadcast television, however it arrives — by cable or Wi-fi or, old school, riding the waves of the electromagnetic spectrum — continues to offer something valuable. In a time when whatever does not swing for the fences is accounted a failure, as if only homers brought in runs, it has the quality of being ordinary. That’s not to say dull — though of course it can be dull — but rather common and familiar, useful in the way of a screwdriver or a blanket. Broadcast! It’s the original TV, legally bound by regulations and restrictions. It’s shaped by a business model that requires filling a weekly grid of original programming, from 12 prime-time hours on the low end (the CW) to 22 on the high (CBS), that can draw a mass audience more or less year-round. And it’s free: When you cut the cord or let your subscriptions lapse, you can grab it right out of the air."