Imagine the Hallelujah I Would Shout If People Understood “Hallelujah” and “Imagine”

Last night the nation witnessed a moving ceremony hosted by President-elect Biden and VP-elect Harris at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the over 400,000 people who have lost their lives to the pandemic. This is my entertainment blog so I will refrain from making political commentary about that event. But I want to talk about the choice of music.

We were treated to a very moving rendition of the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah”. And as moving and has touching as the performance was, like most performances of that song it was completely inappropriate for the occasion.

Did you ever really listen to any of the words of the song other than the refrain “hallelujah”? It is not a hymn for a solemn occasion. It’s a song about a bad romantic breakup and a romantic rival. Listen to the damn words! What is God’s name does that have to do with honoring people who died in a pandemic or any of the other solemn occasions in which we’ve heard this song performed?

Can you imagine what Mr. Cohen might feel to have written such a beautiful song with a specific message in mind and then to hear that song performed by people who are clueless as to the meaning of the words he wrote.

By the way the version sung last night came from the Jeff Buckley version of the lyrics which is different from the original Leonard Cohen recording. I’ve heard the Cohen wrote as many as 80 versus but only recorded four of them. In live performances he used various versions of the lyrics.

While we’re on the topic of misuse of solemn songs let’s talk about John Lennon’s “Imagine”. While its message of peace, love, and understanding is indeed appropriate for many solemn occasions and has been appropriately used by performers during times of national tragedy such as 9/11, it surprises me the extent to which that song is used in a religious context and in a patriotic context.

Did you not listen to those lyrics said “Imagine there’s no heaven”, “Imagine there’s no countries… Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too”, “Imagine no possessions.”

Is that patriotic? Is that a religious hymn? Is that appropriate in a capitalist economy?

Don’t get me wrong it’s a beautiful song. The message of peace, love, understanding, brotherhood of man… All very laudable goals. But on the other hand you could argue its communist, anti-capitalism, anti-consumerism, anti-religion. And people sing it like it’s a hymn.

Being wary of copyright infringement I will not reproduce the entire lyrics of the song is here but here is a link to another site that has the complete lyrics of these songs.

Read them. Words matter. Pay attention to them and use them appropriately.

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Is Broadcast TV Dead? — Part 3 the 2020 Emmy Nominations

Last year I posted 2 blogs asking the question “Is Broadcast TV Dead”. I looked at the fact that little or no broadcast TV shows were nominated for other Golden Globes or Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Is Broadcast TV Dead?

Is Broadcast TV Dead? Part 2.

Today the Emmy nominations were announced. Here are the results.

Streaming 66 nominations. Premium Cable 30 nominations. Basic Cable 20 nominations. Broadcast TV 30 nominations.

Although that looks better than the Golden Globe Awards or the Screen Actors Guild Awards for which I previously reported, the Emmy awards have many more categories including guest actors and actresses as well as reality shows. Broadcast TV earned 18 of its 30 nominations in those categories. Keep in mind that streaming and premium services generally do not produce reality or competition shows. Broadcast TV was completely shut out from Made-For-TV Movies and Limited Series.

Broadcast shows were led by SNL 8, The Good Place 5, This Is Us 3, black-ish 2, How to Get Away with Murder 1, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Modern Family 1, other reality competition shows 4, variety shows 2.

NBC crushed the competition with 20 nominations, ABC had 6 and CBS and Fox had one each.

Showtime got a nomination for Don Cheadle as Lead Actor in a Comedy for “Black Monday” however all 31 other premium cable nominations went to HBO. Cinemax no longer produces original programming. Starz, The Movie Channel, and Epix were shut out.

Netflix crushed streaming competition with 36 out of 66 nominations. Hulu had 13. Amazon Prime had 10, eight of which were for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. Disney+ add 2 for “The Mandalorian”. Apple TV+ had 5 for “The Morning Show”.

On basic cable, Pop TV had 5 nominations for Canadian produced show “Schitt’s Creek”. BBC America had 3 all for “Killing Eve”. FX 2, Bravo 3, VH1 had 2, Comedy Central 2, TBS 1.

I counted at least 4 series which were nominated in their final year: “The Good Place”, “Modern Family”, “Schitt’s Creek”, and “How to Get Away with Murder”.

TV ratings and award nominations do not seem to show any correlation. For example hit reality series “America’s Got Talent” did not get nominated. On the other hand most of you have ever heard of Pop TV and “Schitt’s Creek” yet it got 5 nominations.

Here is a link to the complete list of nominees provided by TV Line.
https://tvline.com/2020/07/28/2020-emmy-nominations-list-awards/

Here is a table I created summarizing the breakdown between streaming, premium cable, basic cable, and broadcast TV

Category Streaming Premium Basic Broadcast
Outstanding Drama 5 1 2 0
Lead Actor Drama 2 2 1 1
Lead Actress Drama 3 2 1 0
Supporting Actress Drama 3 3 1 0
Supporting Actor Drama 3 4 1 0
Guest Actress Drama 2 2 0 2
Guess Actor Drama 4 1 0 1
Outstanding Comedy 3 2 2 1
Lead Actress Comedy 3 1 1 1
Lead Actor Comedy 2 1 1 2
Supporting Actress Comedy 3 1 1 3
Supporting Actor Comedy 4 0 1 3
Guest Actress Comedy 2 1 0 3
Guess Actor Comedy 2 0 0 4
Limited Series 4 1 0 0
Made-For-TV Movie 4 1 0 0
Lead Actress Limited Series or Movie 4 1 0 0
Lead Actor Limited Series or Movie 3 2 0 0
Supporting Actress Limited Series or Movie 5 1 0 0
Supporting Actor Limited Series or Movie 3 3 0 0
Reality Show Host 1 0 3 2
Reality Competition Show 1 0 2 2
Variety Sketch Series 0 1 1 1
Variety Talk Series 0 1 2 2
Totals 66 32 20 28

So we ask again “Is broadcast dead?” The answer is “Probably not but it’s not looking good.” HBO and Netflix continue to broaden their nominations with Netflix surpassing HBO for the first time 36-31. If you want to watch the top award-winning TV shows you are going to have to pay for it.

Is Broadcast TV Dead? Part 2.

A few days ago after the Golden Globe awards I posted this blog asking the question “Is Broadcast TV Dead?” The reason I asked was that no broadcast TV shows were nominated let alone actually win. I made a chart breaking down the awards between streaming services, premium cable such as HBO, Showtime etc., basic cable such as FX, BBC America etc., and broadcast TV. The grand totals for the Golden Globes were as follows:

Streaming 31 nominations, 5 wins. Premium 18 nominations, 5 wins. Basic Cable 8 nominations, 1 win. And as mentioned Broadcast TV 0 for 0.

Last night the Screen Actors Guild awards were presented and the results were only trivially better. Broadcast TV only earned one nomination for Actor in a Drama Series for Sterling K. Brown in “This Is Us“. He lost to Peter Dinklage for “Game of Thrones“. Click here to see a complete list of nominees and winners. Here is a chart I put together showing how the nominations were split up among various kinds of media. A “w” in a column designates that’s the category for the winner.

Category Streaming Premium Basic Broadcast
Ensemble Comedy Series 3w 1 1 0
Ensemble Drama Series 3w 2 0 0
Actor Comedy Series 4w 1 0 0
Actress Comedy Series 4w 0 1 0
Actor Drama Series 3 1w 0 1
Actress Drama Series 4w 0 1 0
Actress Movie or Limited 3 1 1w 0
Actor Movie or Limited 1 3 1w 0
Totals 25 9 5 1
Wins 5 1 2 0

As you can see only one nomination for a broadcast TV show and it did not win. Nothing for a traditional live audience sitcom in the comedy category. Even basic cable was only represented by 3 networks with only 3 shows nominated.

The only conclusion that we can draw from this information is that if you want to see quality television, you are going to have to pay extra. So we have to ask the question: Is broadcast TV dead? If things don’t change they will be.

Is Broadcast TV Dead?

Those who have followed this blog in my postings on Facebook know that I used to post entertainment news about once a month but I been so tied up with other things in my life I haven’t had a chance to do that. Among the things I haven’t followed very closely for this year’s Golden Globe awards. When the awards aired last night on NBC I had not even looked at the nominations prior to watching broadcast. As I watched something disturbing became evident to me. Click here to see a complete list of nominees and winners. Here is a chart I put together showing how the nominations were split up among various kinds of media. The categories are Streaming: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple+. Premium: HBO, Showtime etc. Basic cable: FX, BBC America. Broadcast: NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX. A “w” in a column designates that’s the category for the winner.

Category Streaming Premium Basic Broadcast
Drama Series 2 2w 1 0
Musical or Comedy Series 4w 1 0 0
Limited or TV Movie 2 2w 1 0
Actress Limited or TV Movie 3 1 1w 0
Actor Limited or TV Movie 2 2w 1 0
Actress Drama 3w 1 1 0
Actor Drama 1 2w 2 0
Actress Musical or Comedy 4w 1 0 0
Actor Musical or Comedy 4w 1 0 0
Supporting Actress 3w 2 0 0
Supporting Actor 2 3w 0 0
Grand totals 31 18 8 0
Winners 5 5 1 0

As you can see not a single nomination for a broadcast TV show. Nothing for “This Is Us” or any other broadcast drama. Nothing for a traditional live audience sitcom in the comedy category. Even basic cable was only represented by 2 networks FX and BBC America with only 3 shows nominated: Fosse/Verdon, Pose, and Killing Eve. Streaming services and premium cable split the wins at 5 each but streaming was nominated nearly 2 to 1 over premium cable.

The only conclusion that we can draw from this information is that if you want to see quality television, you are going to have to pay extra. So we have to ask the question: is broadcast TV dead? If they don’t change they will be.