TV Ratings: CBS Laughs It Up Monday - All four of the network's...

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Kaley Cuoco of 'The Big Bang Theory' Fast National ratings for Monday, Dec. 15, 2008 CBS' comedy block racked up more strong ratings Monday, with all four shows setting season-high numbers. Full Story
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Rena Moretti

Pasadena, CA

#21 Dec 17, 2008
Thorny wrote:
Product placement is a red herring, in my opinion, but I guess it's because I've trained myself to ignore it unless it's so blatantly-obvious that it's impossible to miss (like a fire-engine red, neon-infused T-shirt that says DRINK COCA-COLA OR BE DAMNED TO HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY, MWA-HA-HA-HA!!!...or something like that). People who critique certain video games are often complaining about product placement, without realizing that in sports like racing, endorsements are how many racing teams are able to participate in the first place. With TV shows and movies, I generally figure that it's a part of reality that certain characters would drink things like Coke, or eat Godfather's pizza, or use Dawn dishwashing detergent. This is why I call it a red herring: until people point it out, a lot of times it goes unnoticed; but when it is pointed out, it automatically becomes a culprit, presuming that advertisers are trying to control the minds of the viewers (which may be true, but that's a different post). So it's not the product placement itself that is the problem, in my opinion; it's when people keep saying, "Ooh, look, look, there it is!"
It's like that old philosophy course joke where the professor tells his students to NOT think about a purple elephant...betcha you are now.:P
The problem is when product placement controls the scripts.

Product placement is not noticeable unless it controls how scripts are written (or in the case of music when that song that really doesn't fit is shoved onto the episode where an original song would have made the show better - but oftentimes the inclination of some producers to play record mogul is also at fault).

The new James Bond movies, for instance, are great examples of how not to do it. The languishing shots of commercial logos and sometimes entire scenes that are essentially ads make these movies hard to watch for me (and I've missed most of them consequently and won't buy them on DVD).

CSI NY had a particularly galling one a while back where the whole episode was articulated around selling you ringtones. It was gross, and come to think of it, I stopped watching that show shortly thereafter.

One of NBC's many faults is that Ben Silverman thinks the more the better when it comes to product placement. It's the "Silverman Doctrine", a strategy that keeps failing because it doesn't respect the viewers.
Dan

West Babylon, NY

#22 Dec 17, 2008
Rena Moretti wrote:
<quoted text>
I could not disagree more. NBC's comedies are, on average, fairly poorly made. The Office in particular is a case study on how not to shoot a TV show.
Most of all, they're not all that funny, which is the main reason they're not all that watched, IMO.
Well My Name is Earl used to get high ratings, pretty much with nothing helping it and it even helped The Office out a bit. When it comes to single camera comedies, I don't think there supposed to be funny, I just think there are some clever jokes put in. 30 Rock is a well written show but it was never really watched in its first 2 seasons. Kath & Kim isn't that great and is further proof that good shows from other countries should not be remade here. The CBS sitcoms are the classic Multicamera setup and there more "laugh out loud". Shows like The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother are well written and targeted toward younger viewers, which is why they do well. Also besides Dancing with the stars (which is over now) theres not much competition during that hour (which may explain why the numbers for the comedies have been going up in recent weeks).
Rena Moretti

Pasadena, CA

#23 Dec 17, 2008
Dan wrote:
<quoted text>
Well My Name is Earl used to get high ratings, pretty much with nothing helping it and it even helped The Office out a bit. When it comes to single camera comedies, I don't think there supposed to be funny, I just think there are some clever jokes put in. 30 Rock is a well written show but it was never really watched in its first 2 seasons. Kath & Kim isn't that great and is further proof that good shows from other countries should not be remade here. The CBS sitcoms are the classic Multicamera setup and there more "laugh out loud". Shows like The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother are well written and targeted toward younger viewers, which is why they do well. Also besides Dancing with the stars (which is over now) theres not much competition during that hour (which may explain why the numbers for the comedies have been going up in recent weeks).
I couldn't agree more on the remakes of foreign shows.

The only reason they're made is that they come with a built-in excuse for when they fail.

Imagine Jeff Zucker reporting to the GE board: "How could we guess Kath and Kim would fail, it was a hit in England..." ;)

Of course the reality is that the failure should have been apparent to all from very early on.
Dan

West Babylon, NY

#24 Dec 18, 2008
Rena Moretti wrote:
<quoted text>
I couldn't agree more on the remakes of foreign shows.
The only reason they're made is that they come with a built-in excuse for when they fail.
Imagine Jeff Zucker reporting to the GE board: "How could we guess Kath and Kim would fail, it was a hit in England..." ;)
Of course the reality is that the failure should have been apparent to all from very early on.
It should have been apparent but I guess NBC wanted to try out whatever they could fresh off the writers strike. "Kath" was actually supposed to have been on the 2007-2008 schedule but NBC didn't want it to air then. Ben Silverman then took over and now the show airs on Thursday. While The Office, My Name is Earl, and 30 Rock will likely be renewed for the 2009-2010 season, Kath & Kim will likely be axed (Probably along with every other new show NBC has aired this season)
Rena Moretti

Pasadena, CA

#25 Dec 18, 2008
Dan wrote:
<quoted text>
It should have been apparent but I guess NBC wanted to try out whatever they could fresh off the writers strike. "Kath" was actually supposed to have been on the 2007-2008 schedule but NBC didn't want it to air then. Ben Silverman then took over and now the show airs on Thursday. While The Office, My Name is Earl, and 30 Rock will likely be renewed for the 2009-2010 season, Kath & Kim will likely be axed (Probably along with every other new show NBC has aired this season)
The strike has really been used as an excuse for everything, from dumping writer deals that should never have been signed, to canceling badly performing shows like Bionic Woman, to explaining away a schedule full of returning shows that don't perform.

Variety yesterday published a ridiculous article heralding how great NBC did last week when CBS won almost every hour of prime time and NBC's only performing "show" was NFL football.

The problem with those articles is that they show Zucker and company are still trying to spin a good story out of their bad year (while canceling 5 more hours of TV!)
Dan

West Babylon, NY

#26 Dec 18, 2008
Rena Moretti wrote:
<quoted text>
The strike has really been used as an excuse for everything, from dumping writer deals that should never have been signed, to canceling badly performing shows like Bionic Woman, to explaining away a schedule full of returning shows that don't perform.
Variety yesterday published a ridiculous article heralding how great NBC did last week when CBS won almost every hour of prime time and NBC's only performing "show" was NFL football.
The problem with those articles is that they show Zucker and company are still trying to spin a good story out of their bad year (while canceling 5 more hours of TV!)
They probably just made that article because NBC finally did better than it usually does and thats a big surprise. Its like when 2 kids bring home report cards and 1 always gets As and the other always gets Ds and the one who gets Ds finally gets a C+. People think thats amazing because its an improvement. The strike definitely messed up some networks for the worst. It didn't really effect FOX or CBS since both networks only renewed 1 new scripted show from their season last year (Big Bang Theory and Terminator). CBS is doing really well and FOX is doing decently. ABC and NBC really got screwed over the most by the strike since most of their freshman shows were cut short and now have returned to low ratings. While the CW's ratings are bad, they really didn't get affected by the strike, they just ordered additional episodes of all their well performing shows and moved on.
Rena Moretti

Pasadena, CA

#27 Dec 19, 2008
Dan wrote:
<quoted text>
They probably just made that article because NBC finally did better than it usually does and thats a big surprise. Its like when 2 kids bring home report cards and 1 always gets As and the other always gets Ds and the one who gets Ds finally gets a C+. People think thats amazing because its an improvement. The strike definitely messed up some networks for the worst. It didn't really effect FOX or CBS since both networks only renewed 1 new scripted show from their season last year (Big Bang Theory and Terminator). CBS is doing really well and FOX is doing decently. ABC and NBC really got screwed over the most by the strike since most of their freshman shows were cut short and now have returned to low ratings. While the CW's ratings are bad, they really didn't get affected by the strike, they just ordered additional episodes of all their well performing shows and moved on.
You said CW had "well-performing shows"!!! ;)

Seriously, the decision by ABC and NBC to return their failing shows from last year is not a function of the strike. It's a function of their executives making what I consider a very obvious bad choice.

I never for a second thought that any of those shows would magically do better if you re-launched them essentially unchanged.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm glad NBC did one more season of Life, and that was the one exception that I thought may actually have had potential. Sadly, I was wrong on that one, but bringing it back was dubious decision. Bringing back Chuck, Friday Night Lights, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money or Sarah Connor were IMO clearly dumb decision.

Part of the reason CBS is doing well this year (after last week's good ratings they're essentially even for the year) is that it cut all its losing shows quickly and replaced them.

For some reason, NBC thinks that languishing with shows that nobody watches is good management. It's really not.

About the print articles, I have noticed, especially in the trades, a pattern of trying to spruce up NBC's and FOX's performance by accompanying anything they do, no matter how poorly performing with positive notices. I think it has to do with the PR deployed by those two networks that journalists would be better inspired to ignore.

But, as I said before, the prospect of not getting an immediate call-back when you call the networks is apparently enough for most journalists to check their brains at the door.
Dan

West Babylon, NY

#28 Dec 20, 2008
Rena Moretti wrote:
<quoted text>
You said CW had "well-performing shows"!!! ;)
Seriously, the decision by ABC and NBC to return their failing shows from last year is not a function of the strike. It's a function of their executives making what I consider a very obvious bad choice.
I never for a second thought that any of those shows would magically do better if you re-launched them essentially unchanged.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm glad NBC did one more season of Life, and that was the one exception that I thought may actually have had potential. Sadly, I was wrong on that one, but bringing it back was dubious decision. Bringing back Chuck, Friday Night Lights, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money or Sarah Connor were IMO clearly dumb decision.
Part of the reason CBS is doing well this year (after last week's good ratings they're essentially even for the year) is that it cut all its losing shows quickly and replaced them.
For some reason, NBC thinks that languishing with shows that nobody watches is good management. It's really not.
About the print articles, I have noticed, especially in the trades, a pattern of trying to spruce up NBC's and FOX's performance by accompanying anything they do, no matter how poorly performing with positive notices. I think it has to do with the PR deployed by those two networks that journalists would be better inspired to ignore.
But, as I said before, the prospect of not getting an immediate call-back when you call the networks is apparently enough for most journalists to check their brains at the door.
When I said "well performing" I just meant the shows The CW wanted to keep around (Gossip Girl, Reaper, The Game) as well as the three veteran shows that were actually doing well (One Tree Hill, Smallville, Supernatural). And Thats why CBS is smart, if shows don't perform well, they dump them and move on, which is a smart choice because if they had kept Moonlight, it would have likely performed as badly as The EX List. ABC kept Daisies, Practice, and Money plainly because in the fall, the shows ratings were decent as well as because they didn't have time to develop new shows. NBC kept Life, Chuck, and Jungle basically because they thought the shows were good creatively and that they might have the potential to improve. I never thought any of these shows would do amazingly well but still I didn't think they would perform as terribly as their actually doing.
Rena Moretti

Pasadena, CA

#29 Dec 20, 2008
Dan wrote:
<quoted text>
When I said "well performing" I just meant the shows The CW wanted to keep around (Gossip Girl, Reaper, The Game) as well as the three veteran shows that were actually doing well (One Tree Hill, Smallville, Supernatural). And Thats why CBS is smart, if shows don't perform well, they dump them and move on, which is a smart choice because if they had kept Moonlight, it would have likely performed as badly as The EX List. ABC kept Daisies, Practice, and Money plainly because in the fall, the shows ratings were decent as well as because they didn't have time to develop new shows. NBC kept Life, Chuck, and Jungle basically because they thought the shows were good creatively and that they might have the potential to improve. I never thought any of these shows would do amazingly well but still I didn't think they would perform as terribly as their actually doing.
The idea that ABC didn't have time to develop new shows is an indictment of ABC's way of thinking I believe.

There are plenty of writing and producing talent around that ABC will not talk to, even in an extremis case as the strike.

Examples of that lack of imagination and open-mindedness are exemplified by Rob Thomas or David Eick getting constant calls from various networks in spite of their unbroken series of bombs, or my favorite of all time: Chris Carter in the days when X-Files was falling creatively saying there just wasn't any good writers for X-Files in twon (apparently his "town" was whomever was represented at CAA!)

Regardless, the narrow vision that most of Hollywood has came to bite ABC back this year.
Dan

West Babylon, NY

#30 Dec 22, 2008
Rena Moretti wrote:
<quoted text>
The idea that ABC didn't have time to develop new shows is an indictment of ABC's way of thinking I believe.
There are plenty of writing and producing talent around that ABC will not talk to, even in an extremis case as the strike.
Examples of that lack of imagination and open-mindedness are exemplified by Rob Thomas or David Eick getting constant calls from various networks in spite of their unbroken series of bombs, or my favorite of all time: Chris Carter in the days when X-Files was falling creatively saying there just wasn't any good writers for X-Files in twon (apparently his "town" was whomever was represented at CAA!)
Regardless, the narrow vision that most of Hollywood has came to bite ABC back this year.
ABC could have easily tried to develop new shows for this season but they'd rather bring back the new shows to try and relaunch them, which turned out to be a big mistake.
Rena Moretti

Pasadena, CA

#31 Dec 23, 2008
Dan wrote:
<quoted text>
ABC could have easily tried to develop new shows for this season but they'd rather bring back the new shows to try and relaunch them, which turned out to be a big mistake.
Completely agreed.:)

There is that nagging idea among current executives that a little more PR is all that's needed to make their shows successful.

They go to great lengths to avoid looking in the mirror of how they develop and pick shows.

It's very bad news if your work for the PR departments because you get blamed for bad shows that don't get ratings, when in reality, the PR departments do work very efficiently to hype everything under the sun. It's not working because the shows are bad, and every bad show that you hype diminishes the efficiency of the next wave of hype.

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