Friday, March 22, 2013
Girls and The Bible
The HBO show Girls, starring and written by Lena Dunham, has gotten a huge amount of press and glowing reviews for its hipness and cutting edge comedy. From what I can gather, most of the hype stems from the fact that Miss Dunham, who is relatively average looking and neither thin nor particularly well-proportioned, appears nude with semi-frequency. Apparently this is courageous and exhibits (I use the verb advisedly) her healthy body image.
Well, OK, whatever. The truth is that very few people watch the show, only 600,000 tuning in for the season finale according to Nielsen. So the hype is pretty over the top.
Meanwhile, the History Channel show The Bible, had more than 13 million people tune in to its premiere.
Now, put aside any moral component to the contrast between a comedy about twenty-something women in a city dealing with problems largely arising out of promiscuity and a dramatization of the Bible. As a Catholic and father and conservative, I might prefer the latter. (Or I might not... my TV tastes tend to be guided by something different than my faith, since I like shows like Dexter and Breaking Bad and The Sopranos and Game of Thrones and Shameless.)
But put that aside. Here's my question:
Do the mainstream TV networks like ABC, CBS, NBC (a dying entity), HBO and Showtime really not like making money? Do they prefer smaller audiences?
More importantly, do they think their shareholders prefer making less money?
Because they sure act like it. If they really wanted to make money for their shareholders, they'd be hiring Christian writers to come up with Bible and Christian-themed TV shows, miniseries and movies that uncynically present stories that would appeal to churchgoers.
I think you could make an argument that the unconscious regime of censorship of Christian-themed programming on the major networks is an ongoing breach of fiduciary duty by the officers of those corporations. They are acting as if they care more about whether they get the approval of the Hollywood and New York liberals they have cocktails with than making money for their shareholders.