One Mo’ Rant: Advice for Silverman, ‘Idol’ Producers, More

Some unsolicited — and free — words of advice to some small screen big shots


Before packing up — more on that in a pending post here — MoJoe would like to offer up a few words of advice to our friends in the TV business.

As always, it’s unsolicited. As usual, there’s no charge.

CBS and Time Warner: Get a room already!

Seriously, guys, the romantic tension between you two is getting old. And not in a fun Sam-and-Diane way.

You flirt over whether to merge CNN and CBS News. You pretend to argue over the fate of the CW every once in a while.

The fact is, you two were made for each other — and everybody but you seems to know it.

Over the past 10 years, no network has been better run than CBS. But try as Leslie Moonves might, not having a broad array of cable networks is a major handicap to the Eye’s bottom line.

Likewise, Time Warner’s production company, Warner Bros. TV, is a juggernaut — easily the most successful (and probably most profitable) studio out there. Its cable assets, particularly TNT and Adult Swim, have done very well, too.

But with the power of a major broadcast network behind them, all those assets would be even stronger. And maybe CNN would be free to be the world-class news network it wants to be, rather than being forced to pander for ratings (two words: Rick Sanchez.)

Ben Silverman: Be quiet. Please.

We’ve known Ben since his William Morris days. He’s smart, creative and thinks far ahead of the curve.

But, and we say this with love: The man’s in desperate need of a muzzle.

At NBC, he was his own worst enemy — not just because of bad shows (like "My Own Worst Enemy"), but because he consistently stirred up negative PR for the network via ill-advised remarks.

Like the time he called his peers "D-girls." Or when he told the New York Times it’s hard to have a "vision" when running a network. Or when, just a couple months before he left NBC, he was quoted as saying he planned to stay at the network "to see things through."

My grandmother was often fond of saying, "Silence is golden." In Silverman’s case, it should be essential.

Ben, seriously, dude: Enough with the public appearances and endless profiles. Let your work speak for itself, at least for the next year or so.

Oh, and please change the name of your new company. Electus is just wrong on many, many levels.


Mark Burnett: Focus.

Is there anything the producer of "Survivor" can’t do? Apparently, no: Burnett seems to be working on a project for any network or website willing to pay him, from HGTV to Hallmark.

But what we really wish Burnett would do is disengage from the business of assembly line TV and instead put all his considerable talents and energies behind dreaming up a new paradigm-busting reality show. It’s been 10 years since "Survivor" launched, and the unscripted genre needs fresh ideas. Burnett could, and should, be the guy who comes through– but that’s likely to happen only if he focuses.

Past and current producers of "American Idol" : Get over yourselves.

OK, so the judges (and fate) are the real reasons why this year’s crew of "Idol" performers is so lackluster. Stuff happens, and we’re sure next season’s finalists will have more pep than Clay Aiken and Taylor Hicks (SOUL PATROL!!) combined.

But none of that explains why shows keep going over schedule. Or the maddeningly lame production numbers. Or the bizarre-o theme selections and weak mentor selections.

Nobody associated with "Idol," it seems, is willing or able to take notes, be it from Fox executives or die-hard fans. They really ought to consider listening to some more outside voices.

For everyone in corporate America, but particularly those in showbiz: Enough with the quarter-to-quarter thinking.

We get it: You’ve got shareholders. The bottom line is all-powerful. It’s all about money.

But in a time of such upheaval in TV — the very business model is being reinvented almost hourly– it seems foolhardy to be making so many decisions based only on what’s wise for the right now.

There’s no reason to outline all the examples of short-term thinking that are hurting networks; those in power know their sins.

Instead, let’s just say this: The networks that begin thinking two and three years ahead of time are almost certainly going to be the ones still around in five or six years.

Of course, whether there’ll be any reporters still around to cover them remains open to debate.