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Friday, April 12, 2002

Roll the credits (Out the Door)

It seems that the Discovery Channel wants to eliminate credits at the end of their shows. They say that too many viewers are leaving as the credits roll, looking for entertainment elsewhere.

What goes unsaid in the article is what will fill this suddenly freed time. Does anyone really think that they will offer another 30 seconds/1 minute of show time? Don't kid yourself. They will fill this time with commercials. Now, I am not entirely naive about the television business. I understand that dropping credits will allow them to remove the breaks between the shows, starting one immediately after the other, as we have seen done on other networks. The added commercials will then be internal to the show, when the viewer already has and investment and will be less likely to leave. Unfortunately, this doesn't make it right, or even wise.

While I am all for businesses making money, doing so at the detriment of the people who produce their shows is wrong. Let us show a bit of respect for the hard work that goes into a production. Networks that continually exhibit a lack of respect for their show producers may just find themselves without any decent programming at all.

I hope that the producers for Discovery have enough respect for themselves and their workers to start imposing "credit guarantees" in their contracts. Television workers have the right to be credited for their work, on-screen, in readable type, every time. Consigning workers to anonymity to gain 1 more minute of ad time is unfair, greedy and just one more step in increasingly desperate moves by television networks.


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