Today, Daily Variety reported that the new version of V not only won wide critical acclaim, but also did great in the ratings. In a brief, separate article, they report that the show shut down for a month, and that a new showrunner has been brought in. Those two articles create an interesting contrast…one Variety doesn't bother to explore because that might actually require the reporter do some work beyond retyping a press release. What's missing here is the context and detail that would make this a meaningful, interesting, and newsworthy story. What went wrong with V? Why did ABC bring in a new showrunner? If ABC had trouble with the creative direction of the show, does the wide critical acclaim and high ratings suggest that the network may have made a mistake by benching the series and retooling it? What were the creative, financial, and strategic reasons behind the network's actions? That's the story that a credible and relevant Daily Variety would be reporting. Instead, we get the straight-forward ratings in one article and a short, rewritten press release in another.
8 thoughts on “Why Daily Variety is No Longer Relevant”
The Hollywood Reporter didn’t add much in the way of context. The net was dissatisfied with the first four episodes and replaced the showrunner. The premiere was produced by the former showrunner. If the first four eps do well, V will return in March with ep 5, helmed by the new showrunner. As to why there was a switch, no interviews were conducted. Not very investigative journalism! Where are this generation’s Woodward and Bernstein!?
I haven’t seen V yet…but if the first 4 episodes are terrific, it begs he question “was ABC right to retool the show? Have they made a grave miscalculation?” On the other hand, showrunners are often replaced for reasons beyond their creative handling of the show.
Realistically, Lee, no Hollywood trade has ever investigated a story like this. If this were a beloved hit series in its third or sixth year, then yeah, that would be a story. But a new show changing its showrunner has never been something that any media outlet would devote its resources to covering. For the record, Joe Adalian at The Wrap provided slightly more info than The Reporter, as usual:
“Warner Bros. TV recently changed showrunners on the series after ABC executives expressed concerns over the creative direction of the series,” he wrote as part of his main story focusing on the positive ratings. That’s about all you’re likely to get.
I have to disagree. Electronic Media (aka Television Week) routinely did more indepth reporting on stories like this (before, during and after I worked there as a reporter). Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter were also more meaty back then…though not as in-depth as EM or the Los Angeles Times which, at the time, really covered the TV biz well (Michael Cieply, Morgan Gendel, etc. were just a few of the reporters on the beat). The trades today are just an embarrassment. There’s no real journalism being done here any more.
Supposedly, the problems started when ABC decided to push V up from a six episode midseason run to a four episode fall debut. This obviously caused some production issues (rewrites, reshoots, etc.) that the showrunner (incorrectly, IMO) took the hit for.
Lee, have you ever picked up a copy of Weekly Variety? I thought their coverage of the local TV news woes was pretty good.
Yeah, I take it back: Electronic Media (later, Television Week) did do a better job covering TV than anyone else before or since. I worked there too, after you, and sadly saw the size of the staff and the paper dwindle along with the editorial budget. Now, as you know, they publish only an electronic edition with a skeleton crew.
The LAT, even with the excellent former staff you cited, probably wouldn’t have covered this story in any more depth than the Reporter did, and not nearly as well as The Wrap is doing now. Adalian (formerly of Variety and Television Week) has added new details here:
As a HUGE fan of the original V, I enjoyed the premier of the new version. I certainly hope the change in the showrunner doesn’t ruin what looks like is going to be an exciting bit of science fiction.