Freeze! Put down the remote, and give me $2.99, scumbag!

Our gills popped right out with Extreme Fish Shock at yet another mini-digital revolution today. Our hyperventilation was caused by Fox‘s announcement that it was offer shows like “The Shield” and “24” for download to DirecTV subscribers before they air on the plain old F/X cable network. inside-24-bauer-gun.jpg

Our excitement is two-fold: One, we live for “The Shield” – we find CCH Pounder undeniably appealing. Maybe it’s her voice; perhaps, the fishy eyes. But whatever. We digress.

The other reason for out piscean joy is that we love to watch a good poo-storm, and it’s likely the cable operators are just going to go bat guano over this. I mean, wouldn’t you? If suddenly, your “premiere” episode has been watched by a third of the country two days before it airs?

This comes barely a two months after Disney made waves with it’s iPod groundbreaking show download deal, and two days after it pulled out all the stops. But the Mouse was always careful to make sure not to anger its affiliates, offering “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” for download only 24 hours after its affiliates have aired it. So too, with Fox, which is holding back “Prison Break” and “24” until after they air on Fox.

But for how long? The reality of this is only just setting in: TV stations are dinosaurs, and they’re going to die just as quickly and horribly. Most of the country gets it’s TV from cable or satellite. Local broadcast TV is good for nothing, except local news, and even the local news is universally derided as a joke: Water-skiing squirrels in the sticks; murders and car chases in the cities.

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So where does that leave network TV affiliates? Nowhere good. NBC’s Jeff Zucker recently defended the move to sell NBC shows on iPods by pointing out to me that by far, NBC is the largest owner of NBC stations. Maybe so, but NBC isn’t just in the TV station business. It’s developing new ways of monetizing its entertainment, and if it can make more money killing, rather than protecting TV signals, it will.

Fox’s deal with DirecTV just barely pulls the fig leaf off, and tells it like it is: We don’t care what happens to your ratings, you pathetic analog swine. You’re the past; downloading is the future.