‘These Jokes Are Too Witty, Too Good’: 40 Network Notes That Illustrate How Dumb TV Executives Are

“Our research shows that women respond well to violence. Take out the lifeguard and put in the rape scene.” — NBC Executive.

I was reading an interview with Kevin Kline the other day, where he and the interviewer, Mike Ryan, were discussing Wild Wild West, the Barry Sonnenfeld 1999 sci-fi western. In the interview, Kline related two notes that Sonnenfeld had received from executives during production of that movie. In the first one, an executive had told Sonnenfeld that “the higher the budget is, the less complex the characters should be,” and in the second note from another studio executive, Sonnenfeld was asked, “Could you take out the nuances?”

Those are things actually said by real people in charge of the entertainment industry, folks. But honestly? They have nothing on some of the executives who are running television studios these days. Want proof? There is a fantastic Twitter account, Network Notes, that collects notes from television studio executives. They would be hilarious, if they weren’t also so depressing.

I took the liberty of collecting many of my favorites below, just so you can see how unbelievably moronic some of the notes can be. I also highly recommend that you follow Network Notes, so that you can see firsthand some of the things that are being suggested to the creatives that run the shows we watch. It is baffling.