Net on the lookout for breakout
Despite heading up a studio that boasts more than a dozen new fall series, Warner Bros. TV prexy Peter Roth declared the season absent of a sure-fire winner.
“We need breakout hits,” he said, blaming a lack of originality from the broadcast nets for the modest numbers. “Frankly, the reason we’re failing so much is because it’s all the same.”
During the Museum of Television and Radio’s first monthly Industry Forum Luncheon, Roth addressed issues revolving around the development process and the challenge of “life after ‘Friends.’ ”
He noted that the sameness pervading programming on the broadcast nets does not, as is often argued, give cable the edge. Acknowledging Warner Bros.’ own envelope-pushing cable venture — FX’s “Nip/Tuck” — he maintained, “language, ‘pushing the envelope,’ nudity — that’s all nonsense. Ask yourselves if that’s really the reason you watch something?”
Roth, who has “Two and a Half Men,” and the upcoming “Skin” under his watch, dared industryites in attendance to develop programming that was relevant and “dared to be different.”
Studio prexy also championed multiplexing shows, pointing to the success of Fox’s slow-to-start sudser “The OC.” Skein debuted to so-so numbers but swung upward when the net began triple-pumping airings.
“I am all for multi-plays,” he said. “Credit goes to Barry Diller and Dick Wolf for having the foresight to having thought of it.”