On Basic Cable, TV’s Alternate Universe
(Wall Street Journal) — As a longtime producer on CBS’s popular crime series “CSI,” Josh Berman got used to submitting scripts to network executives and changing them according to their dictates. But when he pitched his own series to cable, Lifetime “just said go for it,” and its executives have mostly left him alone ever since, he says. The show, “Drop Dead Diva,” about a model who dies and comes back to life as an obese attorney, isn’t driving water-cooler banter the way some broadcast hits do, but it’s doing just fine. The show has a devoted audience and turns a profit, and its presence helps Lifetime as it negotiates for higher fees from cable operators. The majority of the show’s 3.1 million viewers are women ages 18 to 49 for which advertisers pay a premium.