88 posts in this topic

18 minutes ago, ChitHappens said:

BET and OWN already passed. Folks are begging Netflix now. 

 

Yeah, I just saw that. It looks like they are saying that they passed on it because it's too expensive to produce. If  BET/OWN feel like it's too expensive to produce then I guess a network like TV One would be out as well. Some other suggestions I have seen in addition to people suggesting Netflix/OWN/ BET, are channels like Lifetime, USA, HBO, STARZ. Somebody even suggested the History Channel. I don't know which one of those networks might have the budget to take this show on, but I hope one does. 

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On 5/30/2017 at 7:48 PM, ChitHappens said:

BET and OWN already passed. Folks are begging Netflix now. 

 

On 5/30/2017 at 8:10 PM, xtr said:

 

Yeah, I just saw that. It looks like they are saying that they passed on it because it's too expensive to produce. If  BET/OWN feel like it's too expensive to produce then I guess a network like TV One would be out as well. Some other suggestions I have seen in addition to people suggesting Netflix/OWN/ BET, are channels like Lifetime, USA, HBO, STARZ. 

 

 

According to a Q&A during an interview with BET's CEO Debra Lee, BET was and is still interested in Underground but claimed that an agreement could not be reached.  Lee also said that she does expect that Underground will land somewhere, although she's not sure where.

 

It was a very lengthy interview posted on You Tube.  I was thinking of posting it in a separate thread because it talks about a variety of issues.

There was also the issue of time-shifting viewing and how that affects networks. There were a few things that I didn't know occurred and I'd love to discuss them (want to avoid the trolls though:ph34r:).

 

Anyone interested in that conversation, let me know and I can start a thread or something.

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Confirmation that cost was indeed why OWN does not plan to pursue Underground.

 

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Edited by DramatistDreamer

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Well they better start cutting costs if they wanna be picked up. I am afraid that I think that Underground might be coming to an end...

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$5 million an episode is insane. Surely, there must be a way to cut those costs significantly?

 

I've noticed that these cable network that started investing in scripted shows a few years ago are now bailing on the idea - first it was A&E getting out of the scripted game with Bates Motel ending and now it's WGN.

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Period pieces are indeed expensive and the further you go back in time, the more it will cost to re-create locations, events and an overall accurate look/feel for the time period. Can they reduce cost without cheapening the quality, is the question.

 

Honestly, the only networks where you might have the numbers to match the cost is a broadcast network (ABC, NBC, FOX, etc.) but even they are pinching pennies because no one is pulling in the numbers that networks used to get about a decade ago. There is too much competition out there among networks, so the viewing audience is split.

 

The only other solution I can think of is bringing in more production companies to share the cost/raise money (some films do a multinational agreement) but this can get very messy and creative control often gets compromised. 

 

What I've noticed these days is that networks seem completely comfortable with only having a show on air for a few seasons, regardless of whether it's a hit. The years of long running series seem to be over for the time being.

 

Maybe I'm cynical but I don't think these networks (especially cable) are above leveraging a show to bring eyes to the network, only to dump the show with the belief that somehow viewers will stay for the next thing.  

I'm curious as to whether WGN will suffer down the road after canceling their two most popular shows.

In other words, does anybody think viewers will refuse to watch the network after this? I think this is certainly possible.

 

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7 hours ago, DramatistDreamer said:

I'm curious as to whether WGN will suffer down the road after canceling their two most popular shows.

 

 

 

I thought they got rid of the two shows, Underground & that other one because the station were being brought. The new owners probably want to take it into a different direction.

 

The other option are HBO, Showtime, Stars in Black, Encore In Black, Max, & them. Can they afford it??

Edited by MoTheGreat

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I think people are forgetting that this show had between 400-600k on average for "normal" episodes. That's a poor result, especially as I think it's not a strong international seller either. But people should've seen this coming with them ending Salem after three seasons and Manhattan after two the year before. I think them getting out of original programming has been brewing for a while and from what I can understand they'll basically invest in cheaper unscripted programming.

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8 hours ago, MoTheGreat said:

 

I thought they got rid of the two shows, Underground & that other one because the station were being brought. The new owners probably want to take it into a different direction.

 

The other option are HBO, Showtime, Stars in Black, Encore In Black, Max, & them. Can they afford it??

 

 

I don't see HBO (which has GoT) taking on another big budget series.  Starz has Power, which probably gets higher ratings for a lot lower budget.

We'll see if there are any takers.  

 

Debra Lee of BET seemed certain that the show would 'land' somewhere.  

Perhaps Lee is still hoping to score the show on the cheap, in some kind of "Fire Sale".  If that happens, expect the production values to come way down!

 

@te. Yeah, I read that Sinclair Broadcasting bought out the network. Is this true?  

Sinclair is a more conservative based network of businesses.  

Being that Fox News is struggling right now (although that could be temporary and less about audience erosion),  conservative shows are not currently getting the ears and eyes that they once did.  

So even with the less-than-jaw-dropping numbers Underground was pulling in, the loss can still make a small impact to a budding network that may be depending on an ancillary audience for ratings.

 

It'll be interesting to see what happens after this network transformation. 

Edited by DramatistDreamer

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11 hours ago, te. said:

$5 million an episode is insane. Surely, there must be a way to cut those costs significantly?

 

 

 

10 hours ago, DramatistDreamer said:

Period pieces are indeed expensive and the further you go back in time, the more it will cost to re-create locations, events and an overall accurate look/feel for the time period. Can they reduce cost without cheapening the quality, is the question....

 

.

In other words, does anybody think viewers will refuse to watch the network after this? I think this is certainly possible.

 

 

Yeah $5 million is very expensive. I wonder how they may attempt to cut costs to save this show. They may have to change the way they tell stories on this show in order to bring the costs down some. Here is a suggestion I have regarding their storytelling that could help with the cost of the location shoots/re-creating locations:

 

I think they need to have Rosalee/Noah reunited under one roof.  They can put an end to Rosalee/Noah constantly being captured/set free/ and recaptured. It is probably very costly to shoot scenes with them constantly being taken/ spread around in various places. They should free Rosalee quickly from Cato so she can be with her family. I think it's time to have Rosalee/Noah "settle down". They can have Rosalee/Noah assisting Georgia or someone else in helping protect and hide runaway slaves. Or have them go up North to help/welcome slaves who have escaped.

 

I think they need to be in a central location (like a safe house on the Underground Railroad or up North) where they can raise their son/James but still help/welcome runaways. They can be shown raising their family and listening to the stories/plights of runaways who have escaped plantations. They can even use flashbacks from certain runaways telling their stories about being on a plantation. They can use the same plantation site(just alter some things to make it look different for each story) to help tell these backstories, so they aren't using a lot of different locations sites.

 

They can still show other main characters Cato/Elizabeth/Ernestine doing different things (though they should find ways to cut costs using their stories as well). But at least put Noah/Rosalee together in one central location. This could help them save money on costs.

 

Also, I do believe that some people will stop watching WGN because of this. I saw people on Twitter say they weren't going to be watching the channel anymore. I really only watched it for Underground and a times a Chicago Bulls game.

 

Edited by xtr

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@xtrWhat also affects costs are shooting schedules.  

 

Filming scenes at night take more resources than shooting during the day, therefore night shoots are more expensive.  

If we're talking about slaves escaping plantations and migrating to areas that are free, realistically, that process if more likely to occur at night.

 

Also any scene shot during twilight or daybreak (aka sunrise or sunset) is far and away going to cost the most money because of the limited time that one has before the light changes.  If something goes wrong and you miss that light or subtle change of light, you likely have to wait until the next day to do it all over again- remember "Time is Money".

 

Exteriors are much more costly to film than interiors because you are at the whim of the environment (if it rains, a heatwave or if you need snow but there is none), the weather is a factor in when, how you shoot and how your product will look onscreen afterward.

Interiors are a much more controlled environment, with less variables and far less likely to spontaneously go awry but with a show about runaway slaves, I'd assume that producers will want a lot more exterior scenes included in the narrative.

 

With a period piece, the costs factors are actually a lot more complex than they may seem at first thought.

Edited by DramatistDreamer

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