Ed Driscoll

Do You Get the Feeling that TV Executives View Paddy Chayefsky's Network as a User's Guide, and Not a Warning?

What was satire in 1976

Fantastic! The Death Hour! I love it! Suicides, assassinations, mad bombers, Mafia hitmen, murder in the barbershop, human sacrifices in witches’ covens, automobile smashups. The Death Hour! A great Sunday night show for the whole family. We’ll wipe f**king Disney right off the air!

…Is now reality in 2012: “BBC Three has now officially announced Way To Go, a black comedy series about three ordinary guys who find themselves forced by an extraordinary set of circumstances into setting up an assisted-suicide business.”

Of course, considering what has been the reality behind the scenes at the BBC for decades, they probably view Paddy Chayefsky’s script as laughably tame stuff.

Oh, and speaking of Network as a user’s guide for 2012 TV executives, “MSNBC’s proud advocates on [NBC’s Meet the Press:] Rev. Al Sharpton and Andrea Mitchell.”

When Meet the Press debuted in 1947, it began as a television spin-off of the American Mercury, a magazine originally founded by H.L. Mencken. Hopefully he and the late Tim Russert, who hosted the show for nearly two decades before passing away in 2008 are having some belly laughs in the beyond over what the show — and network — has morphed into.