Brain Drain Watch: Nickelodeon: 2.47
Yesterday, I reported on the wasting of talent-- specifically, mine, but in the context of my generation at large. Today, I'd like to delve a bit deeper. Follow me, dear readers, as we explore the underbelly of the greatest children's media empire not controlled by the Olsen Twins.
This empire, Nickelodeon, is discouraging truly creative people from joining its ranks, antagonizing business contacts, and just being asstastic overall. And Atlas will try to show you why this could be a horrible sign for not only the kiddies, but Wall Street as well.
You know what would be fun--if bloggers could disseminate stories that sent stocks plunging. Like if Viacom's stock just plummets when the markets open as analysts question their corporate culture. I don't think bloggers are quite that powerful, yet, but they are if other media outlets back them up and catch on to a story. But I digress.
I Hate You
Let's take a quick look at Viacom's tentacles [ed. A/A, via Wikipedia]:
Viacom Inc. essentially has operations in five segments: Cable, Television, Radio, Outdoor and "Entertainment". The Cable Networks segment consists of MTV, VH1, BET, Nickelodeon and Showtime Networks Inc. The Television segment consists of the CBS and UPN, the Company's TWO nationwide broadcasting stations, plus its tv production and syndication business. The Radio segment owns and operates 183 radio stations through Infinity Radio. The Outdoor segment, through Viacom Outdoor, displays advertising on various media--that's billboards, mostly. The "Entertainment" segment includes the activities of Paramount Pictures, Simon & Schuster, Paramount [Theme] Parks, and the Company's movie theater and music publishing operations.
So Viacom is a behemoth. Does this seem like an inordinate amount of control over the media market? Is that just me? Maybe it's just me, but it's also me and a jury of my peers in Kansas City, Missouri, according to Newsday.
Anyway, if Nickelodeon is symptomatic of the corporate culture of Viacom, then it could be one big, sick, monopolizing media giant. A Midwestern rep for a theater coined the term I will be using to refer to the people at Nickelodeon-- "Nazi Sluts from Hell."
In having to deal with their extravagant demands, my Midwest contact, whom I'll call "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", declared that it was enough to make her hate everyone in Los Angeles. And she knows and loves me, so that was a tough prejudice for her to create. But it's not just a witty, random assistant in the Midwest that was put off by the ways of the Nick aka- Nazi Sluts from Hell.
There's more than one talented, truly artistic, highly-educated [read: USC] animator in Los Angeles that was put off by the corporate culture they found there. I'll be re-creating a fictional [but ultimately truthful] conversation I had with two disaffected ex-Nazi-Sluts-from-Hell grunts. I'll call them Jesse and Chester, after the heroes of "Dude Where's My Car?", no wait, just Ashton & Seann William. There we go:
Atlas: "So how's the job at Nickelodeon?"
Ashton: "Oh man, I totally quit. Nickelodeon f**king sucks."
Atlas: "Really, why?"
Ashton: "They're just tools man, everyone. It just. . . sucks."
[Seann William enters from the bathroom, buttoning fly]
Seann: "Wait, dude, what sucks?"
[Ashton looks confused, looks to me]
Atlas: "Nickelodeon. . . dude."
Seann: "Dude, Nickelodeon does f**king suck. I told Ashton not to work there, but he was all 'Dude, Spongebob!'"
Ashton: "Dude, it was so not like that at all. I didn't even work on Spongebob."
Atlas: "Dudes, chillax. Seann, why didn't you like Nickelodeon?"
[Seann sits on the couch, inspects bong, then, thoughtfully:]
Seann: "I dunno, it was just, like, what am I doing here? It's not like 'Everyone wears suits', it's like they ARE suits. And they're assholes and they're making me do stupid sh*t and after awhile, it was just like 'No thank you corporate bullsh*t world.'"
Seann, Ashton, thanks for the chat, guys. It was really informative.
Seann and Ashton may be idiots, but they're also talented. I'm serious. Ashton's drawings are just, mesmerizing. Arresting and absolutely stunning. Seann is smarter than he sounds, especially when he's around Ashton. Well, Ashton and marijuana.
Anyway, they both could really be someone useful/productive/awesome-- and they are still going to be, Nazi Sluts from Hell or no Nazi Sluts from Hell. Ashton's now working as an editor in a postproduction studio doing postproduction-y editing things. He's not exactly happy, but let's just say he ain't exactly poor, either. Seann's actually going back to school-- to USC's fledgling video game design program. I forget the fancy name they have for it. It might actually just be 'video game design'.
The point is, Nickelodeon's totally heinous corporate culture drove away two kids who, despite their flaws, could have done very great work in the right creative environment. And they also managed to alienate even a thick-skinned, go-with-the-flow assistant like Tess. Sure, maybe Nickelodeon will only take people like me, creative types who can face mountains of BS and still soldier on. But there are consequences to corporate actions and it'll show when you're trying to produce cutting-edge kids' programming. I may be wrong, you Nazi Sluts from Hell, but if I'm not, you're going to drive away all the hot talent and all the cool kids. And then you'll be a left with a bunch of suits trying to 'create original programming'. And that, well, that would be funny to me. But for you, Nickelodeon, it'd be a shame, a very unprofitable shame.
TECHNORATI TAGS: Viacom/Sumner Redstone/Seann William Scott/Ashton Kutcher/Nickelodeon