Why Can’t Networks Find A New Job Market?

Last week ABC stalwart Grey’s Anatomy received it’s lowest ever rating for an original episode – just 9.75 million viewers. For a show that used to regularly rate in the 20 million range this is some serious erosion. But it’s not alone.

NBC has its hands full this season with a pair of misguided medical flops  – Trauma and Mercy. Both are struggling through full seasons but their continued existence is more reflective of NBC’s rating woes than any actual audience appetite. Meanwhile CBS recently launched its own ER drama, Miami Medical – quietly dumped into a Friday night slot.

Over at ABC, legal drama The Deep End came and went in just 6 weeks with its final episode gaining less than 4 million viewers. And as for cop shows – well Southland was relegated to TNT, the Law and Order franchise is relying on stunt casting to stay in the headlines (look Kathy Griffin as a lesbian!), Cold Case speaks for itself, and The Forgotten makes Christian Slater 2 for 2 on the flop front.

My point with all these new shows? All felt like reheated leftovers even before they hit our screens. Because let’s be honest here – the last thing network television needs right now is more cop, doctor and legal series. The wells have truly run dry. It’s time to give them a break. Yet if you look at the fall 2010 pilot season guess what you’ll find…!

The crazy thing is that a substantial number of the breakout hit of the last few years has been outside of these tried and tested genres. Look at 24, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Heroes (first season only of course), Glee and The Vampire Diaries. Now of course there’s exceptions – Grey’s Anatomy at its prime, The Mentalist, CSI – but it does make you question – why is TV so reliant on such overworked and overexposed careers? Why can’t network executives think outside the career box?

Now I’m not suggesting CBS start piloting a series about accountants (no offence to accountants – mine is a very nice guy!) But really – are there no other exciting, fresh, unexplored careers to base shows around?

Couldn’t someone ride the coattails of the recession (and the Wall Street sequel) and showcase a team of young sexy stockbrokers entering the stock market for the very first time? What about the worlds of professional horseracing, tabloid paparazzi or even the TV industry itself (I’ve certainly accumulated a stack of stories over the years)? Aren’t we due a new political drama – after all it’s been 4 years since the end of The West Wing? Or a rich and glossy Dynasty like soap (and no the sleepy Dirty, Sexy Money didn’t count) perhaps centering on new versus old money, or Paris Hilton like heiresses.

The point is there’s a whole world of careers out there just waiting to be mined.

So what do you think? Where do you think Hollywood should head next for its next big hit? Get pitching…