By DAVID BAUDER and LYNN ELBER, Associated Press as published by the Youngstown Vindicator
If there is a high point to Netflix’s status as the “cool kids” taking over television, it may be remembered as an emotional Chuck Lorre accepting a best comedy Golden Globe last month for “The Kominsky Method,” his show on the streaming service.
Lorre is one of the most successful comedy producers in TV history, with an estimated net worth of more than $600 million after producing shows including “The Big Bang Theory,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Mom” for CBS. Yet he’d never won an Emmy or Golden Globe, and odds are he still wouldn’t if “The Kominsky Method” had been on broadcast TV and with a more mundane actor than Michael Douglas.
Despite the humbling moment, leaders of traditional TV networks insist they’re fighting back, and may even sense an opening. Their very survival may depend upon it.
“I think it has created an opportunity for us to say we’re providing a unique platform,” said Paul Telegdy, co-chairman of NBC entertainment with George Cheeks.
Many experts would see that as whistling into the wind, because isn’t streaming the place to be? Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have seemingly bottomless wallets and a stranglehold on how a new generation wants to consume television. For the first time, streaming services made more scripted shows than either broadcast or cable networks last year. Big-name producers Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, and even Barack and Michelle Obama, have agreed to make shows for Netflix.
Streaming feels like the future, while CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox evoke a time when you needed to get off the couch to switch channels and maybe adjust the rabbit ears for better reception.
Even with ratings a fraction of what they were in the glory days of monopoly, the broadcast networks say their chief advantage is the opportunity to offer creators a large audience. Networks are still the only distribution system capable of delivering a perfect picture to virtually every home in America, said John Landgraf, FX Networks chief.
While network execs are jealous when streamed shows scoop up awards, “my family has never heard of them,” NBC’s Cheeks said.
Networks are arguing to creators lured by a less-restrictive environment at Netflix that they risk getting lost in an ocean of content. The streaming service offered a staggering 500-plus original shows last year, according to estimates.
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