NBC looking for women viewers?

I recently saw an interview with Dick Wolf, creator of Law & Order. He said that at the end of the third season, NBC president Warren Littlefield gave him a cancellation notice a year early (meaning the show would be canceled after the fourth season ended). Wolf asked why, and Littlefield explained that the show didn’t have to be canceled: if Wolf added women to the cast, it wouldn’t be. According to Wolf, Littlefield said no women were watching the show, and he felt adding S. Epatha Merkerson’s character would bring them in.

Okay. Keep in mind this same interview referred to Chris Noth as taking a “sabbatical” from the show, when in fact he was fired. Redressing history much?

Let’s examine why I find this story unlikely. First, I was working in film shortly after all this happened. It was a bit of a joke, how much of a “women’s show” Law & Order was. If there were male viewers, I never met one. Second, I never heard of any situation in which NBC or any other network actively sought female viewers instead of male. Third, Chris Noth was fired under the protests of a large female fan base who considered him the hottest thing in pants. Reason? They thought Benjamin Bratt would be more attractive to Generation X women (like me), with his character cheating on his wife and getting a divorce. Don’t ask me the logic there.


  1. scarlett says

    Speaking as a media/mass comm student, women don’t appeal much to advertisers well. You know why? Because they tend to make their buying choices based on something other then the advertiser’s pitch – what I’ve liked in the past, what my friend’s like, etc
    Imagine this scenario:
    TV is promoting McDonnalds. Male thinks: I feel like takeaway. I’m going to McDonalds.
    Scarlett thinks: I feel like takeaway… but I don’t like McDonalds. I like friend chicken. I’m going to KFC.
    McDonalds has achieved nothing by appealing to me, other then throwing business in its competitor’s way. Women tend to base their buying decisions on personal choice or other recomendations.
    Ergo, women suck as an ad market because they can’t be bought by a thirty-second promotioon… or they’re much harder to buy at least.
    And the most pliable advertising audince? urban young men. Hence why shows which rely on advertising market that demographic.
    I’ve always concluded that this makes urban young men the stupidest of the demographics and the only reason why the capitalist universe evolves around them being that they ARE so stupid (why should I rob from the street-wise sophisticate when I could rob from the retard a block down?), but I’m a media, not mass-com student, and I never looked at it deeply enough to give an informed opinion.
    Not that that stopped me before

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