A New ‘Vast Wasteland’?

NBC’s plans to drop expensive programming from the 8 o’clock hour came under fire
from a Hollywood group opposing changes in the feds media ownership
laws. According to B&C’s John Eggerton, the Center for Creative
Voices in Media, a group that includes producers like Steven Bochco and
Stephen J. Cannell among its members, wrote in a statement to the FCC
that “with GE/NBC taking advantage of FCC rule changes to eliminate
independent producers and take over for itself the production of
programming, NBC’s own in-house studio has developed and produced few
successful 8 p.m. scripted shows….[A]dmitting failure, NBC will
forego scripted programming in the 8 p.m. hour, and replace it with
game shows and so-called ‘reality’ programming –some of the very
programming that Newton Minow cited when he described television as a
‘vast wasteland.'” Monday was the last day of an initial period for
interest groups — or anyone, for that matter — to get in comments
about the possibility of loosening the rules. Meanwhile, Variety’s Bill
Triplett has several academic groups arguing that the FCC should be tightening the rules, as consolidation already has led to less diversity.

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