How Amazon Aims to Upend the TV Creation Process

Amazon Studios

Amazon Studios

On January 26, 1979, “The Dukes of Hazzard” television show premiered on CBS on the East Coast. The show was poorly reviewed and, worse still, the TV ratings were just okay. As the legend goes, the president of CBS, who was in New York that night, saw the show for the first time and was appalled by its lack of quality. He immediately called his executives in Los Angeles, telling them to yank the show for the West Coast runs. But he was too late. It was already showing in Chicago (and the greater Midwest), and what happened next is show-business history. Unlike the East Coast, the ratings in Chicago and the Midwest were good. Really good. Then Colorado and California followed with even bigger ratings. The CBS president smartly backed down, and the “The Dukes of Hazzard” went on to run for six very lucrative seasons.

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