NBC/Universal's plan to crush the writers' union with a parade of (horrible) reality, and non-scripted shows started paying off last week, with the debut of American Gladiators. In reality, this is the second run for this show - the first in the 1980s - but the show drew strong to moderate ratings, averaging around 11 million viewers on the its first two nights. (We'll see how the show does this week.)
I'm sad about the success of this show for a couple of reasons: first, it just looks awful. And no that good kind of awful, either... just plain bad. The second reason I'm sad about this Gladiator victory is that it gives the big bad studios more ammunition in their war with the writers (and soon, actors and other guilds). I, like many people I know, am already tired of the repeats and horrible gap-filling shows this strike forces on the air. Gladiators is just another example of why we need strong, thoughtful (or at least entertaining) writing behind network programming. Unfortunately for us, the people behind the programming are feeding us slop like this.