Better Off Ted Fulfills ABC and its 5 Percent Freaky Factor

So right off the bat, I should say I like this new show Better Off Ted. But it’s so weird you have to wonder how it got on the air. UNLESS. Unless, you think about what network the show is on; ABC. See, I’ve been thinking about shows on that station and as I look back over the last few years I see this strange trend of creating shows and canceling shows. For ABC it seems to be all about freaking people out, in a funny way off course of course they’re not NBC and their Fear Factor, but at the same time being too timid to hang in there for any length of time. The show audiences something weird and say “How’s that? Is that too weird? Oh you 3 people didn’t like it? We’ll get that show right off our network post haste!!”

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Here’s what I see; a few months ago they canceled Pushing up Daises and I wrote this comment response elsewhere on my blog

Hi Dawn. Yeah the Family Channel is part of ABC and that means they’re a big network. Big networks take shows off the air if they don’t make enough money. Let’s say a show is able to make half a million dollars in advertisement but the show cost a whole million to make. That means they’re losing half a million dollars. So that’s how they do things. No matter how much people like a show they go with the money.

And in that case I was talking about how networks make this choices based on financial outlook. But when you look at ABC you can also see another element-the TYPES of shows they decide to deal with.

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And this brings me to my 5% Freaky Factor. ABC had (and canceled) Daises, they also had Kyle XY on cable. The took Scrubs from NBC but then the show is leaving anyway so to keep their freaky factor up they put Better Off Ted into rotation, and that show is freaky enough for TWO shows, so it basically seems to fill their need to weird people out. But think back a little; remember Caveman last year? Or how about the Jerry O’Connell show Carpoolers. And YES! I will admit I liked BOTH those shows. And they killed both of them. Keep in mind; from the MINUTE you see these shows on the air you KNOW they’re gonna cancel them. They just look too damn weird. So WHY do they keep doing this?

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Better Off Ted seems to be some weird combination of Mad Men and, I don’t know, Working. Oh come on, you don’t remember 1997’s Working staring Fred Savage from the Wonder Years (yeah, yeah people love the Office and I know the British version is supposed to be the original, but take a look at Working and think about which came first in a chicken and the egg kind of way). But I’ll tell you why I think they keep making this shows so weird. They gambling. They’re hoping to hit the exact mix of Lost. They want people scratching their head, but NOT changing the channel. You could even say that Desperate Housewives, Dancing with the Stars and that Christina Applegate, Samantha Who, were shows originally intended to be quirky to the point of getting canceled. BUT, they survived the Freaky Factor and got to stay on the air.

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So when you watch ABC, and you SEE shows that are weird, be prepared for it to be canceled. Even if you like the show you’ve just got to accept that this is part of part of their strategy in their search for hit shows. They liked Sex in the City so much they made Housewives. They like Dead Like Me so much they got Bryan Fuller to give them Daises. They liked Mad Men so much that got Ted (They probably liked Arrested Development too so they brought Portia de Rossi in. But they can’t handle it. It’s almost like there are 2 factions at ware at that network. Maybe there is.