October 7, 2009

Second Ratings

I know, I know, recent ratings talk is not terribly funny. But when you care as much about television as I do, you also have to care about ratings and over the years, caring has turned into a genuine fascination with them.

Today I'm here to talk about what constitutes a "failure" where ratings are concerned.

Two days ago EW.com's Hollywood Insider blog declared the premier of Three Rivers a disappointment with 9.2 million viewers while Bones is one of the feathers in Fox's cap with viewership that hovers around 9 or 10 million each week.

But CBS is the clear ratings winner overall on television with more of it's shows achieving double-digit ratings each week than any other network. ABC is a strong second with nearly all of its shows sporting "respectable" ratings as compared to their competition. Fox, after a couple of decades as the ugly step-child in the network television family, has used American Idol and House to catapult itself into fairly respectable ratings that definitely give NBC a run for it's 3rd place money.

The highest rated show on The CW so far this season is The Vampire Diaries (with around 3.8 million viewers - shocking the shit out of me) while the shows they've long considered their success stories (like One Tree Hill and Supernatural) hover in the 2.5 million range. They were quick to shit-can The Beautiful Life and it's 1 million viewers but they seem to be giving Melrose Place and it's 1.6 and falling a wide berth.

NBC's overall ratings have been in free fall for the past couple of years so their shows rarely if ever break 10 million any more (excluding Sunday Night Football which brings in about 15 million viewers each week). Instead they hover in the 5.5 to 8.5 million neighborhood. Which makes you wonder if that's going to make The Jay Leno Show and it's ever fluctuating ratings (back up to 6.2 last night) seem like a bigger success than it would have on a network with more to offer.

I have no conclusions to offer here, just thought I'd make note of the interesting dichotomy of the ratings game. Even if I am the only one here who actually thinks it's interesting.

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