TV Ratings: 'Dancing' to ABC's Tune on Monday - CBS still wins ...
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#1 Nov 25, 2008
I really do hate CSI:Miami. It has to be the worst acting/show and is an insult to the original. I wish something great would come on that timeslot.
#2 Nov 25, 2008
2.6/4 for My Own Worst Enemy. Why, why didn't they listen to the fans and just leave Journeyman there!
It would have kept some frustrated 'Heroes' fans on track too. C'mon NBC!
Worst Week is really funny, but I only watch it on On Demand.
#3 Nov 26, 2008
Given the season that NBC is having, I'm willing to bet that, had it been renewed, "Journeyman" would be doing a 2.6/4 too, give or take a few fractions of a ratings point.
I fail to see how any NBC show in the 10:00 hour would make a viewer who is frustrated with "Heroes" any happier. You can feed me a great dessert, but if I had to eat cauliflower to get to it, I'd still be pretty pissed.
Funny, I would watch "Worst Week" only on demand, too. Fortunately, nobody has broken into my home and demanded that I watch it...
#4 Nov 26, 2008
Good points Alan. Shows on the decline generally keep declining. The only upside with them is that they can only decline to zero!
Funny how it tool over a year for the audience to start figuring out that Heroes had no clothes. That's the power of good advertising in a ratings-depressed environment.
Of course quality almost always trumps hype.
#5 Nov 26, 2008
It's two weeks in a row now that no mention of the cliffhanger that had Alan wondering if Judith's pregnancy was his fault or Herb's. Come on. This would have been Alan's primary focus ever since the topic came up. Is Chuck Lorre losing it?
#6 Nov 26, 2008
THE BIG BANG THEORY was great last night! It is an awesome sitcom. Funny how Z2it neglects to mention that it had its highest rating *ever* this week.
#7 Nov 28, 2008
Rena, I completely agree with you about Heroes. But I have to disagree with your theory that ratings indicate the quality of a show. I mean, CBSs's identical programming and American Idol get great ratings, but are they the best that TV has to offer? I'm just curious because I always read your posts and you don't seem to think that a show is good unless it gets high ratings. I've never known anyone to have that opinion.
#8 Nov 29, 2008
Well, there's plenty of posts that say that the public has no taste and like crappy shows.
I completely disagree with that.
Programs don't get good ratings because they're crap.
Now I don't like American Idol, never watched more than a few minutes of it because that sort of show puts me right to sleep, but clearly, for what it is, it presents quality entertainment for a large number of viewers. It's clearly cleverly thought out and well executed, for what it is, which is a genre I happen not to care for.
Same thing for Desperate Housewives and Gray's Anatomy which also make me doze instantly but from what little I saw are well-made and cast.
Ratings are a very good way to judge the quality of shows (in my view) if you know how to look at them.
Not every show is being pushed the same by its network. Not every show has the same lead-in. Not every show has the same competition.
But if you know how to account for all these factors, ratings speak loudly to quality.
Pushing Daisies, for instance, has a vocal fan club that keeps screaming that it's great TV. I could not disagree more. I was a fan of the previous projects of the creator, but Pushing Daisies had few of the writing qualities of the original and it's look and direction indicated a decision to go after good reviews and appearing hip to their Hollywood buddies rather than making something a large audience might enjoy.
Consequently Pushing Daisies' ratings went down all the way to a cancellation.
Had it been on NBC , Ben Silverman may have pushed it again and again and renewed it in spite of mediocre ratings (Ben Silverman owns the company that produces The Office - what a coincidence!)
Similarly, Samantha Who? gets ratings that if you only look at a weekly ranking look pretty good, but given how big its lead-in is, it's essentially a bomb and I doubt it would get decent ratings outside of that one time slot.
NBC tried a bunch of shows between Friends and Frasier for years that made the top Ten and yet were canceled because they lost so much audience compared to the lead-in and lead-out it was obvious they were bombs.
Today, a Ben Silverman would likely call those "huge hits" and renew them to save appearances.
I hope this explains a little what I mean.:)
#9 Nov 29, 2008
By the way Craig, that was a great question. Thanks!:)
#10 Dec 3, 2008
First, thank you very much for the long post above. You've been an active and vocal participant here for a few months now, and it was time for a fuller explanation of how you judge television (so thanks also to Craig, for soliciting said response).
The short version appears to be that popularity equals quality.
I suppose that's a valid view to take. It's a business-centric one, and it's clear that you have either some standing in the industry, or a desire for same. Given the cost of producing scripted television, you really need a mass audience to make it cost-effective - a reality that NBC especially seems to be ignoring. And, like you, I would be hesitant to be dismissive of the "quality" of a popular program simply because I was disinterested in it or didn't care for it.
However, I think it should be noted that most people don't equate popularity with quality. They can go in hand in hand (those who disbelieve that are called elitists), and there's usually some relationship between the two. But they're not quite the same.
Confusing the debate is the truth that popularity is reasonably objective (thank you, Nielsen!), while quality is mostly subjective. Quality can be discussed in a knowledgable and dispassionate way, but that's usually not going to happen in these quick-hit posts in a forum such as this. It typically boils down to whther the poster likes the show or not, which is the most subjective level of criticism (but the easiest).
Again, thank you for clarifying your beliefs so that we can all better understand what you have to say.
#11 Dec 3, 2008
You're very welcome.:)
As I said, ratings are an indicator, if you analyze them in context (something that people are too quick to forget about).
I always disliked the "elitist" idea that only the cognocenti know what makes a "good" or a "bad" show and that as a corollary viewers just don't know what's good for them and should be told in no uncertain way.
The idea that anything that is popular is automatically bad (which a lot of critics seem to espouse) is also abhorrent to me.
I also observed that quality filmmaking tends to attract big audiences (again given an average promotion etc...) To wit the CSI franchise is usually gorgeously made and intelligently directed and it has been very successful for that reason (I actually heard someone once say it was successful because of the special effects gimmicks which is absurd!)
The networks sadly seem to equate quality with buzz and hype and that is why we are at this very sad point in the history of network TV (there are other reasons of course such as the price of shows which has doubled after inflation over the past 25 years while the audience was cut in half!)
#12 Dec 3, 2008
I look at it this way--stretching all the way back to the days of the Ancient Egyptians, people have needed something mindless and unimportant to help them wind down after a long, stressful day. Where you were in history often determined what that mindless distraction was, and they were not always to everyone's liking. I'd imagine that throwing folks to the lions in Rome was considered high-brow entertainment by some at the time, while most considered it for what it was: murder for sport.
These days, the majority of things that are popular tend to rub people in certain areas of society the wrong way. This may be because it is institutionalized brutality (such as professional "wrestling" and ultimate fighter matches), or because it seems to have no real purpose beyond the fact that it's there (Dancing With the Stars, American Idol, etc). The point is that wildly-popular shows on television tend to be so because they don't require a lot of thought, they are simple to watch and enjoy, and at the end of the day, you don't have to spend much time thinking about them. Sure, this may breed mediocrity, but when you're worried about losing your house to foreclosure, losing your husband to a nasty illness, having your child be injured by a shoddy product, and so on...a little insignificant, mindless entertainment can be just the thing to take the worries away for a short time.
Sure, quality is subjective (which is why I like Pushing Daisies, but Rena isn't that big a fan, for example). So is the lack of quality. I slam popular shows all the time, but at the heart of it all, I do understand why so many people enjoy watching them. They are, for better or worse, necessary. Civilization was founded on the premise that you can only hold the hounds at bay for so long, so you might as well enjoy yourself when and while you can. If this means curling up with a great novel like To Kill a Mockingbird, sitting with the family to watch American Idol, or beating up a friend at the latest Need For Speed racing game, so be it.
I gripe, but I understand. Hope that all makes sense.:)
#13 Dec 3, 2008
I tend to look at it more from the point of view of the art of filmmaking (and a commercial art at that).
Filmmaking has its own language that is hard to put into words, as it is a melding of writing, performing, music, lighting etc... Some producers (like a Don Bellisario or a Stephen J. Cannell) breathe this language (or so they seem) while others can barely decipher it (David Eick, Rob Thomas anyone?)
Those that know what makes a great piece of film that the public will enjoy tend to find success.
And yes, I do think film is rather pointless if it's not meant to be enjoyed by at least a fairly wide audience.
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