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Last Comic Standing 3: Late October 12 Finale Update and Overall Thoughtsby Dale Sherman -- 10/12/2004
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Comedy Central finally updated their television schedule on early October 12. It now shows the Last Comic Standing 3 finale airing Saturday, October 16, at 8:00 pm EST. As we had mentioned in our last update, the program is to be a half-hour instead of the full hour previously announced. It will be followed at 8:30 by a repeat of Comedy Central Presents featuring Rich Vos.
There is now no mention of an Episode Nine in the schedule for October 23 and 24 (and, as stated above, that should have been taken down off their site a couple of weeks ago). The finale will be repeated on Comedy Central at 11:30 am on October 17.
With Comedy Central airing the finale on October 16, it still leaves open the question of what NBC plans to do tonight (October 12) and the promised announcement of the winner during the Father of the Pride marathon. Our sources indicate that NBC still plans to go ahead with the announcement even though the full half-hour finale won’t air until four days later. In fact, as of 2:30 pm EST on October 12, NBC’s official site for LCS3 states that people should watch the marathon “TONIGHT” to find out the winner.
This begs the question – what in the world is NBC thinking?
Here are the facts: NBC requested a nine-week run of episodes for a reality series called Last Comic Standing. The series for that particular season was setup on a “talent show” type setup – each week the participants performed for the home audience and the viewers then voted for their favorites; as the weeks wore away, more and more contestants were voted off the show until only four remained. Seven weeks of programming was broadcast leading up to a cliffhanger ending on the final vote. Who would be the winner of the contest?
Then someone at NBC decided that the resolution of this series that they invested money and time into, and that they asked viewers to invest time into, was not worth broadcasting. Instead, repeats of their cartoon show that have been doing so-so in the ratings were felt to be a more attractive option. Then to satisfy viewers of the reality show, a quick announcement will be made at SOME POINT (no one knows when yet) during the cartoon marathon as to the winner of the reality show.
To use an analogy, this would be like NBC deciding to run Gone With the Wind, only to end it while Sherman is still burning down Atlanta in favor of putting up a card on-screen that says, “Scarlett gets back to Tara and everything was fine. The End.”
Then they show cartoons.
Hardly a fitting ending to the movie now is it? It certainly is not a way to keep viewers tuned into NBC’s other reality programs. Why should viewers bother with The Biggest Loser if there’s a good chance NBC will just yank it off the air before we find out the winner(s)? Why watch The Apprentice if we’re going to eventually just get an announcement during a Saturday Morning Cartoon show as to who won? (Although the idea of Donald Trump appearing in cartoon form to announce is enticing, come to think of it.)
Keep in mind, this is NBC – the network that once cut off the end of an important pro-football game in order to show Heidi. So anything is possible.
In dismissing the end of LCS3 for repeats of their heavily-invested cartoon show, NBC is sending the signal, “we’re so desperate for ratings that we don’t care about our viewers. Invest seven weeks of your time to follow this limited-series called LCS3? So what? We feel that these repeats are more important.” Compound that by denying their sister cable network involved in the show, Comedy Central, the right to announce the winner themselves, and it surely looks as if NBC wants to have their cake and eat it too. “Here, you can film your little finale, but we’re going to spoil it on Tuesday night so no one will bother watching your show on Saturday. Nyahhh-nyahhh.”
Of course, one could argue that at least NBC is giving viewers who do not have access to Comedy Central a chance to know the winner of the program. But why not just give the show the dignity of at least a half-hour of programming on the network to do so instead of just throwing away any possible ratings jump the show could have had by announcing it as an after-thought during the marathon.
Furthermore, it hurts the show NBC is trying to promote. Again, the attitude of “we’re so desperate for ratings” sends the signal that Father of the Pride MUST be tanking in the ratings. Does NBC really expect to obtain holdover viewers from LCS3 to boost ratings? The very viewers that they just snubbed by canceling the reality show because of “low ratings”? How do they expect this LCS3 announcement to help gain viewers to Father of the Pride? And if you don’t expect LCS3 viewers to be watching, why bother giving away the winner when it will be announced in four days on a complete show? All this maneuver does is turn people away from Father of the Pride instead of promoting it (especially when we will be getting repeats of episodes aired less than a month ago).
One can try to find some logic to NBC’s thinking here, but the final analysis really comes down to one thing: Someone at NBC got worried about the heavily-invested cartoon show they had and thought they could pull this other series in order to do a one-off promotional gimmick for the show. In not knowing their own programming they fumbled, and every attempt to pick up that ball and run with it has gone astray.
What will NBC win in the end? Annoyed viewers and probably a further ratings slip for Father of the Pride. Hardly the type of thinking to run a network with.
You can e-mail Dale about this column or his other projects at email@example.com. You can also click here to buy his book, The Urban Legends of Rock and Roll: You Never Can Tell, or any of his other books.
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