Way back, before there were internets -- there were hair nets and fishing nets, mind you -- television came along and some people predicted the newfangled box would be the death of movies. Didn't happen. And one day, thousands of years in the future, when the brand-new entertainment-system 4S-Zyzminl 4000 is introduced, some people will worry that it will mean the end of the glowing hats every human wears so that entertainment product can be delivered directly into the body via glow pulses.
Basically what we're saying is things in showbiz are forever evolving, and when one fairly major thing changes, we don't get too ruffled. Like "ER" ending on Thursday, April 2. It's been on since George Clooney was 12, practically, and we can see that the television landscape has changed. People do watch stuff online now, that's true. But "Mad Men" and "Big Love" and "Lost" and "Breaking Bad" are still triumphing on the small square-y thing in the den.
We won't quibble about ratings and shares and DVD sales and algorithms and charts and that a certain island-bound show has fought to keep its impressive audience in the past few years. What we're talking is watercooler razzmatazz. Facebook fan groups. The need to still be entertained by a quality program after a long, sometimes tedious day away from the couch and the remote.
Farewell "ER" and thanks. Your departure doesn't signal an end, just a small change in a business built on the stuff. And how we're getting our entertainment in a few years may be really different, or only a smidge different. But bet we'll be watching. Television viewership -- not hurting all that much.
We're off to the fridge for more snacks.