CBS Could Easily Run The Federal Government
President Obama, are you listening . . .?
I love the CBS Television Network. I really do. Have loved these folks since the great and wonderful days of Captain (Bob Keeshan) Kangaroo. I have nothing in my heart for CBS but a deep sense of respect. And if you are waiting on a punch line here, I am sorry. This is a piece about the artful management of economics as it applies to the television industry and our federal government. I love these guys and girls too. They are there in Washington, D.C., working for you and me.
Enough of that. My stomach churns when I get ‘too nice.’ But anyway, this article is entitled, “CBS Needs To Be Running The Federal Government,” and I say that in all sincerity. And protected by my First Amendment rights. I am not going to slam President Obama, Vice president, Joe Biden, or our distinguished senators or congressmen (and women), for I have to go to bed with myself and get up with myself. I like to have a clear conscience.
My point. With all due respect, Mr. Obama, Mr. Biden and our congress and senate, all need to take a free tour of CBS with a meeting with their CEO, Les Moonves and board of directors after the tour and just ask them, “Guys, how do you do it, run your operation, make money by the boxcar and not spend that much in the process?” Very wise questions indeed. And I am absolutely-sure that Mr. Moonves would be more than glad to provide this sensible question, a sensible answer. Moonves might even laughingly-respond, “Mr. President, it’s not rocket science,” and they all laugh together as working-colleagues should work.
Let’s face it. CBS knows how to make money. And CBS makes money. Lots of it. I cannot recall a time frame in which CBS has ever had to be bailed-out by anyone. And friends, if you think that CBS and the other major networks aren’t as profitable as those mega-investment banks on Wall Street, think again. With the advertising revenues (alone) from NFL, NBA, MLB, and other major sporting events on their networks, I dare say that CBS and their competitors in the television industry aren’t seeing a decline in prosperous bottom lines at end the end of each fiscal quarter.
And with “heavy-hitters” like How I Met Your Mother; Two and A Half Men; The Big Bang Theory; Criminal Minds; CSI: Miami, (New York, and Vegas); The Mentalist; Person Of Interest; Unforgettable; A Gifted Man, and the return of Rules of Engagement, and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, the coffers at CBS should be, without any skepticism, running over. Onto their expensive carpeted-floors. And that is a good thing. I like to hear about businesses, organizations, and our own United States, experiencing prosperity. To me, that was what legions of blue (and white) collar workers forged for our way of life in America. Free enterprise. Every man, and woman, with enough drive, determination and grit, can open a business, big or small, compete with other businesses and create trade among themselves while creating a solid cash flow in the process.
The thing I cannot help but to hate is losing money, laying-off employees, down-sizing, and out-sourcing. This is not a knock against our friends in foreign countries, but how would you like to see your favorite CBS shows being produced and broadcast from Thailand. Maybe Tokyo? Ever let this thought enter your mind. Well rest easy, friends. This thought has about as much chance being a reality as “I” am in winning a Pulitzer Prize.
Concerning CBS manner of operations and how they make money, I have a personal theory that I have put to a lot of thought. I have studied this financial theory about CBS for about two years now. And I think that I am onto something. Something that if our federal government would implement, we could see a drastic change in how our money, the taxpayers’ money is being spent, and what programs are actually needed, and how our government can operate on a moderate-size but still be prosperous.
My theory dates back to the days of Gunsmoke, starring James Arness as Matt Dillon. CBS made mega-bucks with this show. And shows like it. Did you ever think that the guy that Dillon shot at the opening of each show never got paid? Why? Because he was not listed in the screen credits. He might have taken home a paycheck made possible from an Actor’s Guild law, who knows. But I am trying to say that CBS, early on, knew the value of NOT over-spending and keeping the prosperous level of quality in their shows.
If you are a true Gunsmoke fan, you have noticed that CBS used maybe one or more character-actors to appear in various episodes. One show, a character actor might appear as a bank teller, clean-cut, pristeen. And the next week, he would be a lawless thug. An outlaw. Bearded out. Rough-hewn, and all without an increase in pay. See what I mean? CBS knew way back then that using one or two character actors would do as well as paying all-new character-actors for doing basically the same job.
Another prime example is the Andy Griffith Show. Did you ever notice that the famous character-actor, Allan Melvin, appeared on the Andy Griffith Show once as an Army recruiter dealing with Ernest T. Bass, while he was seen on three different shows as an escaped convict that Andy Taylor captured in the woods while camping. Melvin was also one of the bully produce farmers who scared Barney to death when Barney told them to leave town. Allan Melvin was cast as “Fred Plummer,“ an employee of the local Mayberry grocery store that Barney gave a ticket for littering and bought himself a threat from “Plummer,“ to get even with Barney. Melvin also was a top-notch gangster (thrown into the Mayberry jail) who Barney tried to con into believing that he, Barney, was a convict too, to gather valuable information from Melvin’s gangster character.
Get this. Melvin went on to play Sgt. Hacker on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. It was endless how many roles Melvin actually played. And yes, I wager that his pay was not that much by way of raises. Not that CBS was beating Melvin our any interchangeable actors out of money, no. CBS just knew that they could get the same, high-level quality of their shows by not paying for extra actors. It’s all economics. That’s all it is. And all it will ever be.
One one of the early Andy Griffith Shows, I noticed that the butcher, I forget his name, appeared on two different Griffith shows as a sophisticated businessman at the Esquire Club in Raleigh who had invited Andy and Barney to join their men’s club. And this same guy, the butcher/businessman, was a rebellious Mayberry citizen who parked by a fire hydrant in front of Barney who made a big deal out of it. As usual. I think I have made my point well enough to get you to understand why I think CBS needs to run our country.
The United States federal government could use these CBS-based ideas to help our government become a lean, green, productive machine that we could, as American citizens, be proud of. See if you agree with any of these ideas.
- Term limits for senators and congressmen. Why keep reelecting the same men and women to the same offices who seldom have a new idea of how to run our federal government on a more-sensible system. By reelecting the same people to the same offices, you mostly get the same ideas that didn’t work in the previous years of their terms.
- Decrease salaries and benefits for congressmen and senators as well as the president, vice-president, speaker of the house, secretary of state, ambassadors, and cabinet members. Have you read just how much a tenured congressman makes yearly? It will blow your mind. And with the pensions, benefits, insurance, put that with the rest of the members of the house and senate, the total amount could feed an entire rural town that was destroyed in Mississippi or Alabama by the tornados of April 27, 2011. I am serious. My question is this: Does a congressman or senator, and other high-level members of federal government really need a huge salary, plus a lifetime pension? Really? I for one, think not. When thousands of men and women are seeking jobs that the congressmen and senators helped to outsource, the same senators and congressmen vote themselves a hefty raise. Something is desperately wrong with this picture, folks.
- Like CBS’ using a few character-actors to do the same job, why can’t congressmen and senators do more than one job? These powerful men and women of the federal government could literally ‘volunteer’ to give tours of Washington tourist sites while congress is not in session. Right? It would make sense for the congressmen and senators to be seen in the public solidifying their image with the people and saving money on paying a “temp” to do the same job. Or are congressmen and senators too important for menial jobs as tour guides?
- Decrease the number of times that congress and senators go on vacations. This irritates me when I see on CSPAN, the voter’s channel, shows being broadcast from the senate floor and hear the speaker call for a vote on a certain measure and a congressman or five, are absent. On vacation. Not available for voting. My thinking is have one, maybe two, marathon congressional sessions and take care of all the government business at these two meetings. The savings on several sessions alone over a year’s time would be very noticeable.
- Did Allan Melvin and other character-actors at CBS get ‘comped’ at restaurants, hotels, and ski resorts? I think not. Melvin and his host of CBS character-actors had to pay for services, meals, rooms, out of their own pocket. Would it be possible for congressmen, senators, speaker of the house, president and vice-president and their huge entourages, to actually “pay” with their own money, instead of ours? This too would result in savings.
- CBS, each new season, would look over several new ‘pilots,’ new show concepts, and approve a few while cutting the others from consideration. Why can’t our federal government do the same? Some legislation is ridiculous. Honestly. Some bills are passed in the excess of $500,000, to study the sex life of the American Purple Mosquito, that was secured from a powerful special-interest lobby group. You know that I am telling the truth. And the so-called “study” of this certain mosquito, would take at last ten years to publish. So what, if any, are the benefits of this “study”? Why didn’t the congressman (or woman) who was lobbied, just say, “This is not a feasible investment. No thanks,” and walk away?
- Why do many long, expensive Mercedes limousines in a line when a congressman or senator or president and vice-president travel somewhere in Washington. Ever hear of a cab? Yes, the Secret Service personnel who are assigned to these important government officials can, and have, rode in cabs before. Think of the savings on gasoline, payroll for entourages, and free lunches. Amazing what one can do if they just apply a few of the CBS operational principles.
- No more FREE postage for congressmen and senators. They can use the same stamps that we Americans use everyday. And they can help bear the burdens of postal price increases each year to just mail a letter to our Aunt Josey in Arkansas. Why FREE postage for congressmen and senators? Has anyone ever taken the time to ask “why”? I can assure you that CBS pays for their own postage, FedEx and UPS delivery services. I do not think that CBS condones or promotes the ‘free lunch’ ideology to get free things just because they are CBS. Do you?
I have some more suggestions for our buddies at CBS on how they could make more money on their shows.
NUMBERS, which is now off the air, starred Rob Morrow, Judd Hirsch, and David Krumholtz, as the Eppes family. Morrow plays Don, an F.B.I. agent. Krumholtz plays Don’s super-genius brother, Charlie. Hirsch plays Don and Charlie’s dad. In each show, the episodes I watched, Charlie was the hero. He always came through in solving Don’s difficult cases with some complex mathematical jargon that average people (like me) never understood. To save more money, why didn’t CBS rename the show, ‘NUMBER,’ instead of NUMBER(S)’? Since Charlie was the main-attraction? And they could scale-back Rob Morrow and Judd Hirsch’s contracts to pay them for their moderate airtime. No need for a cast that makes huge bucks, when you can have one star with one great salary. That always bothered me why they even used Rob and Judd in this show. Co-stars mean more big bucks to be spent. Why not let just one star control the show?
CRIMINAL MINDS, is the same formula. Thomas Gibson plays Aaron Hotcher, the leader of an F.B.I. Behavioral Analysist Unit that profiles would-be lawbreakers. Hotchner is surrounded by Shemar Moore, Padgett Brewster, Joe Mantega, Kirsten Vangness, A.J. Cook, and “THE” star of Criminal Minds, Matthew Gray Grubler, as Dr. Spencer Reed, also a super-genius such as Charlie Eppes. CBS could save a ton of cash (for the show has just premiered in its new fall season for 2011) by changing the name from Criminal Mind(s), to Criminal Mind, because Grubler, “Dr. Reed,” always solves each case with ease. Scale back the screen-time of Gibson, Mantega, and the rest of the supporting cast. Let Grubler come front and center leading the F.B.I. B.A.U. team every week taking lawbreakers out of circulation.
These a only two sample-ideas that I am donating to our friends at CBS. These ideas that I have written are well in-line with their consistent operational guidelines for their hit shows. I have, personally, saved CBS a huge fee that most people with production ideas would charge a fortune to turn over to CBS or some other television giant. Not me. I love America too much to capitalize on my own ideas.
Friends, one more question concerning my adaption of the CBS formulas they have used from way back to produce their shows in relation to how the federal government conducts its business, “What would really happen, honestly, if President Obama and a group of super-sensible economists, both Republican and Democrat, were to meet with CBS officials one day and with their permission, start using CBS’ ways to operate a big business (in government) without having to be dead-locked once every six months in childish arguments over the budget?”
I rest my case.