iOS app Android app

Evan Shapiro
GET UPDATES FROM Evan Shapiro
 

Blog Entries by Evan Shapiro

Can You Spare Some Change?

(2) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 8:17 AM

Earlier this week, Participant Media announced that next summer, we will launch a new cable network dedicated to entertainment that inspires change.

To celebrate, here are my Top 8 Things To Change in 2013:

#8. Analog. Yes, the Internets are fun. But they are also addicting and distracting. What about...

Read Post

What's the Matter With Kids Today?

(183) Comments | Posted November 19, 2012 | 11:02 AM

There is a perception among many in my cohort and among my elders that the generation currently coming of age -- aka Millennials -- are an entitled bunch of slacker know-it-alls who expect to get medals for just showing up. For numerous GenXers and Boomers, this disdain goes beyond stereotype...

Read Post

We Have Watched 2,100 Years of 'Gangnam Style'

(134) Comments | Posted October 2, 2012 | 10:00 AM

News Flash: People are wasting a lot of time online. No, really, it's true.

While this may not be news to some of you (especially anyone with a "FarmVille" account), the sheer magnitude of the amount of wasted time may surprise even the most jaded among you.

Millions of...

Read Post

TV Made Me Gay

(175) Comments | Posted July 24, 2012 | 12:11 PM

You know what happened to me this weekend? I watched a show on TV -- a rerun of Glee, actually.

And suddenly, this weird feeling came over me. It started in my fingers, a kind of tingling sensation. It went up my arm and into my chest. Then, through my...

Read Post

TV: An Intervention

(96) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 9:45 AM

I've complained numerous times in this space about the endless claims from media pundits that "TV is dying." Despite pronouncements by experts like David Carr and miscounted viewership by Nielsen, I can assure you, TV IS NOT DYING. That said, despite a current heyday of creativity and originality -- Television...

Read Post

Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, Sometimes

(203) Comments | Posted May 18, 2012 | 9:35 AM

(There's even a song.)

The question is not "Is Lena Dunham racist?"; it's "Is Lena Dunham any more racist than the rest of us?"

Recently, there's been a firestorm over the lack of diversity on Lena Dunham's HBO zeitgeist-apalooza, Girls. I will not rehash what has previously been hashed -- but if you missed it: Jenna Wortham wrote this critique of the blandness of the characters and casting of Girls; then the Twittersphere went apeshit; then Molly Lambert informed us that it's not Dunham who's racist, it's all of TV.

So, now you're up to date -- except for one thing: It's not TV that's racist, it's us. I've said this before, but it bears repeating: TV (especially right now) is far more of a reflection of who we are as a society, than who we ought to be.

TV, like the United States, is incredibly diverse. However, like our country, it is also quite segregated. You may not like it, but TV is a mirror image of America in the 21st century.

Segregation in America peaked in 1960. For the next 20 years, the country grew more diverse and more integrated -- at a rapid rate, neighborhoods less likely to be "all white," "all black" or "all anything." However, in 1980, that progress began to slow.

From 1980 through 2000, even though the country on the whole became more diverse, the rate of integration for all neighborhoods across the country declined greatly. And, a study from Brown University shows that from 2000 to 2010, the rate declined even more rapidly -- all but coming to a complete stop. In fact, by some respects, integration of races by neighborhood even regressed in the last 10 years.

The average white person lives in a neighborhood that is 77 percent white. While that's an improvement over 1980, when they lived in areas that were 88 percent white, it is surprising (and disappointing) to see how little progress we've made in 30 years. Black families -- the most segregated American minority -- overwhelmingly live in predominantly black neighborhoods, and segregation for Hispanics and Asians has actually begun to increase. To a certain extent, the more diverse we become, the more likely we are to each live in our own ghetto.

So, no, it did not surprise me to see Lena and her besties living in a 'white girl ghetto' -- even in New York diver-City; or to see The Game have an all-black cast; or to see Jersey Shore have an all-guido cast. Despite all our protestation and our diversity, we are segregating ourselves and TV is reflecting that back to us.

No, we don't have to like it. But, as the slogan goes: It's not TV, it's America.

Listen to 'Everyone's A Little Bit Racist' From Avenue Q:

Read Post

Sex Is Bad

(220) Comments | Posted May 1, 2012 | 10:28 AM

Violence > Sex.

Google the words 'News for World Peace.' Go ahead, I'll wait. Do you notice something odd about the results? When you search for World Peace online, the first TWO pages of results are for The Artist Formerly Known as Ron Artest, and his now...

Read Post

It's the Television, Stupid

(137) Comments | Posted April 19, 2012 | 10:25 AM

On April 7, Mike Wallace, the lion of the TV news magazine died. Wallace was more than a news man. He was a former actor and game show host who found a way to seamlessly blend news and entertainment into a combination that was far more than a sum of...

Read Post

How Trayvon Martin Became a Missing White Girl

(474) Comments | Posted March 28, 2012 | 10:01 AM

When a young white girl goes missing in America, it immediately becomes a national story. Nancy Grace dedicates her show to every aspect of every missing girl, regardless how long a case drags out. These girls, their parents and everyone associated with them gets a magazine cover, or two, or...

Read Post

Jason Russell: Role Model

(38) Comments | Posted March 22, 2012 | 9:17 AM

I am embarrassed to admit it: before my daughter posted the KONY 2012 documentary to her Facebook page two weeks ago, I had no idea who Joseph Kony was.

We monitor our kids' social graphs pretty closely, so when our 13-year-old posted the link to the...

Read Post

The 8 Most Important Things to Happen to TV in the Past 5 Years

(97) Comments | Posted March 8, 2012 | 9:15 AM

As I've mentioned previously, I teach an undergraduate class at NYU on TV Management. This week, our mid-term assignment is due -- a 10-20 page paper in which each student must propose and defend their choice for the single most important thing to happen to TV in the past five...

Read Post

Where Do the Huxtables Poop?

(169) Comments | Posted March 1, 2012 | 8:12 AM

Have you been watching New Girl? It's a pretty good show. They're funny -- especially Schmidt. She's adorkable. The unresolved sexual tension thing is not bad.

My one knock is this; where the hell are those perky hipsters supposed to be living? Not what city -- although that's...

Read Post

TV > Film: For Curing a Case of the Cubas, There's Nothing Better Than TV

(16) Comments | Posted February 22, 2012 | 8:15 AM

In case you hadn't heard, the Academy Awards are on ABC this Sunday. Regardless of what you think of the nominees, it is clear that the film business is at a crossroads. Fewer people went to the movies in 2011 than any year since Al Gore invented the internet; our...

Read Post

Unresolved Sexual Tension: Secret Weapon of the CBS Crime Drama

(130) Comments | Posted February 15, 2012 | 8:13 AM

In addition to my day job, I teach a class at NYU on the Television Industry. Each class, in addition to a specific lesson plan, the students and I usually touch on the top shows of the week -- what they watch, what America watches; the overlaps and the disparities.

...

Read Post

Who Shot JR? Who Cares?

(138) Comments | Posted February 7, 2012 | 9:30 AM

Let me make one thing clear: I really liked the remake of Battlestar Galactica. Seriously, I did. OK? Now that that's out of the way, here is this week's hypothesis:

TV Remakes Are Bad Mojo.

It's not that I think producing series that have already been made...

Read Post

America Ain't Got Talent

(121) Comments | Posted January 31, 2012 | 8:20 AM

Once Upon A Time, in a dark, fearful period of our nation's history, America had absolutely no amateur talent shows on TV. Shocking, right? But this isn't a fictional horror story -- there was actually a time, in our not too distant past, when there WERE NO TALENT SHOWS ON...

Read Post

15 Film Festival Darlings That Would Have Been Better as TV Series

(30) Comments | Posted January 27, 2012 | 9:10 AM

It's been quite a week. It started in Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival, where, in three days, I saw seven great films, a pop up performance by Eddie Izzard and 30 inches of snow. Then Sunday, to Miami, via Dallas, for NATPE (the annual conference and sales market for...

Read Post

GlenVegas Glen Ross

(6) Comments | Posted January 18, 2012 | 9:11 AM

This past week I went to The Consumer Electronics Show (aka CES) in Las Vegas. "Why would a TV executive go to CES" you ask? Good question.

First, there were almost as many TV executives in Vegas for CES as there were in Pasadena for the Television Critics Association...

Read Post

Nobody Knows Anything

(10) Comments | Posted January 11, 2012 | 9:35 AM

Those three words are why I work in TV. Nobody Knows Anything.

William Goldman introduced that phrase in his book, Adventures in The Screen Trade -- IMHO, the best book ever written about the entertainment business. He originally used them to say that in Hollywood no one...

Read Post

Too Hipster For TV?

(104) Comments | Posted January 4, 2012 | 8:44 AM

For the past two years, I've been lucky enough to be a small part of a show called Portlandia. The series -- created by the prolifically talented Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein and returning on Friday for a second season -- has been described by many a stinging...

Read Post