The Murphy Brown effect and ABC’s Last Resort

Clarke Hayden: “Money respects money. Even more so in a bad economy.”

The Good Wife Waiting for the Knock 2012

A few months ago I was talking to Joe Mangiacotti of Out with Joe telling him about the TV show Last Resort about a rogue group of US submariners who steal their sub after disobeying an order to fire.

When I told him the pilot ends with the sub firing a nuke warhead at the US he was incredulous saying something along the lines of:

Do these people really believe that Americans are going to watch and support a TV show where soldiers are firing on their own country?

Yes they really did, but via live at five they don’t anymore:

Freshman dramas Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue will not move forward at ABC.

The network has opted to cancel both underperforming series, despite picking up two additional scripts for both.

This should be no surprise.  Anyone who has followed movies over the last few years has seen picture after picture depicting US troops through the liberal mindset crash and burn losing tens to hundreds of millions for their studios.

Yet the same types who were sold on throwing their money away on those movies somehow bought the idea that it would sell in the more competitive Television market with 100’s of other choices just a click away?

Why did they think it would be different?  Because their entire world lives within the bubble of the Murphy Brown effect.

Ladd Ehlinger explains:

For those too young to remember, Bush the Elder and his Vice-President, Dan Quayle, were both pilloried by the popular sitcom starring Candice Bergen week in and week out for months on end. But it was not just “Murphy Brown,” it was a huge chorus of pop-culture voices all singing the same tune, that Bush and Quayle were stupid, or evil, etc.

So when I say “Murphy Brown effect” I refer not just to the sitcom, but to the entire pop-culture chorus.

And that effect drove the four most important words from these the hollywood reporter article:

…the critically acclaimed drama starring Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman, is averaging 7.3 million total viewers and a 1.7 in the demo. Thursday’s episode notched its lowest-rated hour to date, attracting 5.8 million viewers and a 1.2.

…the critically acclaimed drama.

Media is all about opening doors to the right people. It’s the reason why so many idiots are willing to lose fortunes making Tina Brown and Arianna Huffington richer. As long as the critics come from that same Murphy Brown bubble, Hollywood will continue to market to those fools in the mistaken belief that it will make them.

It is the other side of the Murphy Brown effect.   Ladd is right about how it tilts elections:

Until conservatives bigwigs recognize the fundamental power of pop-culture, and start investing in the arts (movies, television, music, etc.) to counteract this trend, they will continue to remain irrelevant, continue to lose their country, and continue to lose elections.

But that same effect blinds filmmakers not only to their errors like Last Resort but the possibility of profit wealth and fame from a conservative slant.

Just imagine if we had enough people in media who could positively buzz a conservative show to anything resembling critical acclaim and the money to back such ventures. Suddenly conservatives on the west coast would not worry about their next job if they spoke out or approved a script because there would be an outlet that could deliver profit and audience to their endeavors.

Every day we don’t fight the culture war on the turf of the arts, we are Israel letting Hamas shell us without response.

The arts are the ground where we must fight.