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Sorry Fans, Don't Look to DirecTV to Save Your Shows Anymore

by Chris Harnick, posted Nov 22nd 2010 4:30PM
Damages, Friday Night LightsTwo critical darlings may be enough for DirecTV. After saving 'Damages' and 'Friday Night Lights,' the satellite broadcaster will no longer be answering desperate "save our show!" pleas.

According to Variety, DirecTV's 101 Network -- which can be seen by 19 million subscribers -- will refocus on original programming after 'Damages' launches in 2011.

"In the future, I think we're going to move away from that model," Chris Long, senior vice president of entertainment and production, said.

"There's probably 75-80 pilots out there a year that get squashed or shelved or never make it to network television or HBO, AMC or anyone else," Long told Variety. "What I like to do is go look for a diamond in the rough, maybe content that wasn't applicable for network television, maybe the financing couldn't work."

In 2008, DirecTV and NBC struck up a deal to keep 'Friday Night Lights' on the air by having both companies finance the show. In 2009, after FX announced the end of 'Damages,' DirecTV swooped in to save the Glenn Close drama. Season 4 will now air on DirecTV's 101 Network next year.

Long's plans for DirecTV see the satellite service changing the business model commonly used for producing an original series. Instead of the broadcaster paying 70 percent and the studio taking 30 percent, Long said DirecTV would come in for a percentage, but bring in outside distribution for overseas and also cover costs via product integration.

Clearly DirecTV has seen the success of 'The Walking Dead' on AMC and the overwhelming rise of niche cable shows becoming the norm in the world of TV. Long said DirecTV won't abandon acquiring programs from other countries or bringing in episodes from networks such as HBO and Showtime to promote subscription. But what's so wrong with being thought of as the great TV savior?

Saving 'FNL' certainly changed the way viewers looked at the 101 Network, putting it on the map for some. However, creating its own content along the lines of 'Damages' and 'FNL' could also sway some viewers to pay for DirecTV services.

Long is absolutely right in saying there are pitches out there the deserve a home, but aren't suited for network TV. Many of the hit cable shows on right now would never be able to flourish on network TV. Zombies and tons of blood and guts every episode? Vampires and wild sex? Can't picture those on NBC.

Still, it's strange to come out and say they won't be playing savior anymore. Saving 'Damages' and 'FNL' gave DirecTV cred among hardcore TV fans and industry players. Why can't DirecTV be the saving grace of both small, niche struggling shows while bringing its own original content to the table?

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Nate

Direct TV does not have the amount of HD channels as DISH Network plus DISH offers most of all the same channels for a cheaper rate! They offers there HD channels free of charge and superior equipment that can give there customers TV everywhere (the 922 DVR is also 3D compatible) and holds 100 hours of HD programming. You will save so much money by switching from Direc TV to DISH Network its not even funny just for connecting 3 HDTV's Direc TV charges almost $300 and with DISH Network you can get 3 HD receivers for free and installation is free! A co-worker at DISH told me about DISH Network great offers and the main reason I switched is they offer my favorite movie channels in HD like HBO Comedy, HBO Signature, HBO Latino, HBO Family, Turner Classic Movies, EPIX and many more that you wont find with Direc TV. Check it out www.dish.com.

June 16 2011 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rabidterriersfan

Surely, Chris Long and others at DirecTV will be revisiting their decision now that FX has announced cancellation of TERRIERS. This is another quality show that deserves a break.

Developing original programs is fine, but why not bring in a more viewers prior to those shows airing?

I have watched shows on 101 previously; will be watching Damages in January and hopefully TERRIERS in the near future.

I've been a DirecTV subscriber for over 10 years and have no plans to change that.

December 07 2010 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris

Does this mean I will see more Supreme Court of Comedy and less shows like Friday Night Lights? Do not like, do not like at all!

November 22 2010 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cdotalex

Dam I was really hoping for them to swoop in and save "Lonestar"

November 22 2010 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zach

Friday Night Lights... 1000 times yes. Save it Directv over and over again. I'll be a fan of yours for a long time (and I'm a subscriber) for doing it. Never watched Damages and can't really comment, but I hope that didn't steer them that way. If Fringe doesn't survive the Friday move, I was hoping Directv could work something out like that again for them. That has the same quailty FNL does that no one watches. But you can't really fault them for coming to this conclusion. Hopefully they choose the right projects (never got into their others) and will be successful. But you never say never and if a show like Fringe comes available, you definitely have to look at it.

November 22 2010 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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