'America's Got Talent' Epic Finale Reminds Us Why Linear TV Is Here To Stay | Forbes

Nelson Granados Discusses the Value of AGT in Filtering Talent

September 21, 2017  | 3 min read
As the world turns to the internet to watch content on-demand, many predict the long-term demise of traditional TV with scheduled, linear programming. But Tuesday night's epic finals of America's Got Talent (AGT) on NBC should remind us why linear TV is here to stay. Season 12 of AGT may come through as one of the best talent shows in history.
 
All 10 final performances were lauded and celebrated by judge Simon Cowell, which in itself is historic. Even FoxNews, owned by 21st Century Fox, a top competitor of NBC, recognized the epic nature of the event.

Filtering talent and content

You can't do justice by trying to describe the talent and performances on this AGT finale. I simply urge you to watch it online or watch the replay on linear TV on Friday night! Singer solo performances captured the lion's share of the night, with five acts. Their performances were incredible, but their stories are out of this world: Kechi, a plane crash survivor from Houston who was spared from hurricane Harvey while rehearsing in Los Angeles; Mandy Harvey, a deaf singer with perfect pitch; Angelica Hale, a 9-year-old prodigy who survived kidney transplant; Evie Clair, who sang a tribute to her dad, who died from cancer a few days ago; and Chase Goehring, a self-taught singer-songwriter, representing all passionate artists who just won't succumb to rejection.
 
There were three comedic and performing acts with more inspiring stories: Preacher Lawson, the 2015 best comedian in Florida, who Cowell predicts will be signed within eight weeks; Sara Carson, who was saved from depression by her dog Hero, and who lived in her car before performing with Hero in AGT; and Darci Lynne (my daughters' favorite), a 12-year-old singing ventriloquist with comedic talent. Finally, two group dance performances that are very unique: Diavolo, which uses giant props to add suspense and danger to dancing routines, and Light Balance (my personal favorite as a tech geek), a hi-tech neon and LED dance group with amazing visual effects.
 
Media and entertainment executives are wrong when they say there is limited talent out there. What has been limited is the industry's ability to find and filter top talent. Without the advent of reality talent shows, it is quite likely these 10 amazing acts would have never seen the light of day. For consumers, the value of top productions like AGT is that they find and filter the talent for us so we don't have to press a button or spend hours browsing YouTube when we want to be entertained.

The value of quality production of live events

The other value of TV studios is their mastery to package content. The stage production of the AGT finale was incredible, with flying dogs, rocking ships and great visual effects, the kind of entertainment that consumers are willing to pay for and wait for every week. I sometimes wonder if it's just me and my generation since we have been hooked on TV programming for almost five decades.
 
Can Gen Z's, who have been raised in the on-demand world of streaming services, value weekly or daily TV routines? If not, is linear TV doomed? My 8- and 11-year-old daughters grew up loving Netflix, YouTube, and other platforms to watch on mobile devices their favorite shows whenever and wherever they decide; for them, on-demand typically beats the comfort and viewing quality of a big TV screen. But throughout this AGT 2017 season, they bite their nails weekly in anticipation of Tuesday night's family event.
 
Realizing how they have quickly become creatures of habit for this weekly TV entertainment, it reminds me why linear TV is here to stay. It won't be easy. On-demand consumption is bound to take over for non-live programming like series and movies. TV networks need to come to terms with this trend, and then focus strategically on quality live content, like this AGT 2017 season, news, and sports.
 
The silver lining for TV executives is that, amidst the onslaught of on-demand streaming services, we all thrive on the masochistic anticipation of a quality event, like tonight's announcement of the AGT 2017 winner. I can't wait. [Update: Singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne won!]