Does TV industry budget cutting worry you?

By Danny Tyree, Special to the Katy Times
Posted 6/22/23

Maybe it’s a good thing that my teenage dream of becoming a TV programmer never materialized.

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Does TV industry budget cutting worry you?


Maybe it’s a good thing that my teenage dream of becoming a TV programmer never materialized.

Analysts have regarded the over-the-air free TV networks as dinosaurs for years, but now even the cable channels and streaming services are watching over their shoulders for asteroids.

Oh, the new Golden Age was nice while it lasted—with companies trumpeting ambitious five-year plans for special-effects-heavy prestige projects, offering new life to niche programs dumped by the traditional networks and luring big-name movie stars over to the small screen. (“I don’t care what his asking price is—I want Charlie *&^%$ Chaplin!”)

Even deep-pocketed executives now acknowledge that show biz is still a biz. The reality of rising labor costs, a glutted market for channels and services, password sharing and binge-and-unsubscribe viewing patterns are leading to drastic changes.

Things are tough all over. Disney+ unceremoniously stopped production of several high-profile series and buried the reruns. “Blue Bloods” won renewal only after the actors accepted pay cuts. “Superman and Lois” will receive only 10 episodes in its fourth season. NBC is seriously considering surrendering the third hour of prime time to its affiliates. (“Great! What else are you giving away—your used Odor Eaters and your ex-mother-in-law?”)

Speaking of Odor Eaters, I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop, revealing new austerity policies.

Will the mentors on “The Voice” be replaced by a warm handshake and a See ‘n Say toy? Will “Dumpster Diving with the Stars” and “The Hiding-His-Face-Behind-His-Hands Singer” grace our screens?

Could the high cost of costume designers and animal trainers make “Bridgerton” unrecognizable? Will Lady Whistledown confine her gossip to the fact that everyone is suddenly going all Lady Godiva—without the horse?

Will the hit show “Wednesday” force the titular character to leave Nevermore Academy and take only online classes? Will the special-effects crew decide to streamline Thing as Middle Finger?

Product placement in programs will doubtless become even more jarring, with the emergence of soap operas such as “The Young and the Restless Leg Syndrome.”

I can well imagine NBC advertising “Law and Order—and would you like to leave an 18 percent tip with your order?”

“Netflix and Chill” will probably morph into “Netflix and turn up the thermostat. We’re not cooling off the entire neighborhood!”

Remakes and reboots remain a popular life preserver for broadcasters, so don’t be surprised if we get a new version of “The 1950s test pattern—with most of the original cast!” (I hear the same penny-pincher has a pitch for converting all the conflagrations on “Fire Country” into the 24-hour yule log.)

Gameshows are cheaper to produce than dramas, but even they face reconfiguration. Get ready for “Let’s Make A Deal: You Get to Meet Wayne Brady and We Get to Sell Your Blood.”

PBS is not immune to economic realities. “Masterpiece” may be renamed “Some Unrecognizable Scrawls I Hung on the Refrigerator Door to Keep My Six-Year-Old Happy.”

Brrr. Yes, I really dodged a bullet thanks to my career obstacles. In an alternate timeline, I could be pulling my remaining hair out over network belt-tightening.

As it is, I’m enjoying a less stressful job and preparing for Social Security and Medicare and… and…

Yikes! Maybe belt-tightening is inevitable. Maybe my younger self should have persevered with his dreams!

I’ll bet his/my “Who gave J.R. a group hug?” mystery would have captivated millions!

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”