‘Network’ (Diana): “I don’t want conventional programming on this network”

NETWORK by Paddy Chayefsky

From: Movie

Type: Dramatic

Character: Diana Christensen, the Vice President in charge of Programming at UBS. Hard and determined.

Gender: Female

Age Range: 30's

Summary: Diana waxes about how terrible the programming of the network is.

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DIANA: Look, we’ve got a bunch of hobgoblin radicals called the Ecumenical Liberation Army who go around taking home movies of themselves robbing banks. Maybe they’ll take movies of themselves kidnapping heiresses, hijacking 747’s, bombing bridges, assassinating ambassadors. We’d open each week’s segment with that authentic footage, hire a couple of writers to write some story behind that footage, and we’ve got ourselves a series.

Listen, I sent you all a concept analysis report yesterday. Did any of you read it? (apparently not) Well, in a nutshell, it said the American people are turning sullen. They’ve been clobbered on all sides by Vietnam, Watergate, the inflation, the depression. They’ve turned off, shot up, and they’ve f—ed themselves limp. And nothing helps. Evil still triumphs over all, Christ is a dope-dealing pimp, even sin turned out to be impotent. The whole world seems to be going nuts and flipping off into spacelike an abandoned balloon. So this concept analysis report concludes the American people want somebody to articulate their rage for them. I’ve been telling you people since I took this job six months ago that I want angry shows. I don’t want conventional programming on this network. I want counter-culture. I want anti-establishment.

Now, I don’t want to play butch boss with you people. But when I took over this department, it had the worst programming record in television history. This network hasn’t one show in the top twenty. This network is an industry joke. We better start putting together one winner for next September. I want a show developed, based on the activities of a terrorist group. Joseph Stalin and his merry band of Bolsheviks. I want ideas from you people. And, by the way, the next time I send an audience research report around, you all better read it, or I’ll sack the f—ing lot of you, is that clear?

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