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How the PCAs Prove That TV Is Broken

The People's Choice Awards aired last night. Supernatural was up for two awards---Best Sci Fi and Best Network Drama. It won both.

Here's what I learned from the broadcast and how it was handled.

The current television model, as we understand and consume it, is woefully broken.

Nothing proved that more than the fact that Supernatural, a big winner of two categories---particularly the Network Drama one---were not announced live. Not only were the not announced live, no one from the cast or crew received a nomination to the ceremony. This is shameful on CBS's part---the network that broadcast the awards show. Ironically, CBS is a 50% share owner in Supernatural's network, the CW, but chose to snub it instead.

This could be for many reasons. Its network, despite being a child of CBS. Its genre. Its ratings mark. The night it airs on. Any number of these could be one to latch onto and choose. Hell, it could be because it beat out a CBS show in the running---The Good Wife. Whatever the reason, it exposes an undeniable truth about what exactly is broken about the current television model.

The awards show themselves did that alone---leaving aside the snub for now. It was a two hour show devoted more to product placements and glad handing a select few (Adam Sandler and Jimmy Fallon come to mind) rather than the so-called People's Choice. Less time was devoted to the actual awards, and letting the winners share that with their fans---well all save Sandler's acceptance speech that droned on with out end and turned quickly into nonsense. Did anyone really enjoy hearing him babble about his grade school teachers---none of which he could remember the names of? I didn't think so.

Instead, we spent an awful lot of time looking at CVS products, hearing about hair dye and what dress to wear. Let's be honest, all awards shows delve into this silly nonsense, but it seemed like an endless barrage on the People's Choice. A show supposedly devoted to the fans voted on by the fans should have had more to do with what the fans wanted to see. If they insisted on showing less actual awards, at least spot light FANS.

The skits also pointed out glaring problems in the televison model. The seating chart skit ate up unnecessary time and masked the promotion of the Twilight franchise under a banal veneer. As obnoxious as this skit was, the skit with Jimmy Fallon pointed out precisely what is wrong with the model. He starts out by stating that television is crying out for a reinvention. It is. Where it goes wrong is when his “companions”---a robot, deer, and tree---babble about what they like to watch. Reality is upheld as the new post modern sitcom. What's even worse is all the shows cited are almost exclusively CBS productions, highlighting the favoritism of the show.

Network Television IS crying out for a reinvention. It is facing more and more competition than ever before. Video games, cable, and most importantly, the internet, all divert viewers attentions. It's a sad fact to see the issue scoffed at and turned into the butt of some joke. At almost no other time---save perhaps its invention---has television faced more peril. It must adapt or die. “Television shows” will continue, but what medium we consume and encounter them could change, leaving it behind. A television could be rendered little more than a glorified monitor.

Ratings is the name of the game, and the current system is sorely in need of an upgrade. Nielsen pretends that it is over thirty years ago, when recording devices and the Internet did not exist. The network presidents make their decisions based upon the numbers they receive from them---and it is inadequate in every facet. The shows that have the most ratings on their respective networks got the most mention at the People's Choice---How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men for CBS, The Vampire Diaries for CW, and New Girl for Fox. Most glaring was the New Network Drama and Comedy going to two more CBS shows.

The other truth the People's Choice Awards exposed is the sheer hatred for the internet on behalf of the Networks. The winners were chosen by voting either on a mobile internet device such as a phone or on a desktop/laptop computer. While this may make it seem as if they embrace the technology, having the people's choice in Supernatural snubbed shows how they show no concern for the “people's choice.”

It seems, in many ways, that they lulled people into believing that their opinion mattered. The broadcast proved otherwise. If anything, this exposes the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) movement the networks are waging currently. By ignoring a major category winner---going as far as to NOT invite the cast---proves that they hold the Internet in contempt.

SOPA is sold as “protecting” copyright, but its real design is to control media for the public. The Interent gives its users the freedom to peruse any content they like---be it porn, academic information, books, or news. When one logs on, they decide where to go, when to go, and how long they will stay at a certain page. They control what they see and how they see it. This goes against the current model. A television show airs at a certain time, on a certain day, on a certain channel. Before the internet and recording devices, television viewers had to adhere to these time slots or miss their shows. No more.

Seeing the PCA debacle unfold last night made their stance on the current state of television clear. THEY know better than WE the people, and therefore we should sit down and shut up. Be happy that Supernatural won, but don't dare demand they get on air recognition. It is shameful that they would do this, as without us they would cease to exist. And if SOPA should get passed, expect them to take away what little power is left to the people to control their media. It will consolidate and become even more homogenized.

In terms of fandom, I also learned THIS: there are a million outside forces attacking our little show. The PCA snub proved this. No one respects our show, our boys, or its genre.

Constructive criticism of the show is fine---healthy---and provides deep discussion.

However, it seems at times that we the fans ourselves attack it. Some of the anger may be justified or otherwise, but at times it boils over into sheer hatred. Why are we doing this when so many others do it for us already? Sure, SHOW is not perfect, but damn it, it's OURS.