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The ratings game

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NBC’s Entertainment Chair gave a speech to TV Critics the other day. In it he said the following:

“Did you see the ratings?,” he asked about the show, which was often pulling a mere 1.0 rating in the adult demo on Friday night. “That rapid fanbase going crazy on the net didn’t come to the show. Chuck‘s time had come. Chuck is over, let’s alert the masses.”

Note: I copied this from Entertainment Weekly. I believe that “rapid” might actually be “rabid,” but I don’t know.

While Robert Greenblatt did give the awesome news that “Community” will finish out the season in the spring (yayyy!), but isn’t promising a renewal for a 4th season, I’m still annoyed that Executives aren’t looking at the other places their fans are viewing their shows.

So “Chuck” fans didn’t show up to watch the end of the show. Number one: you aired it over the holidays. If you expect viewers to watch it during it’s first airing then they may not be around to do it. Holidays = shopping, parties, and generally doing other stuff than watching TV. And number two: maybe those fans all watched on your website. Or maybe they purchased it through iTunes, Amazon, or somewhere else. Maybe they DVR’d it (although sometimes those numbers get included into the ratings).

Look, I get that “Chuck” was probably costing more money to produce than it was bringing it. It clearly hasn’t been a runaway hit that I’m sure the network wanted. But, how much longer do we have to wait for Executives like Greenblatt to take notice of the other places their viewers are.

I refuse to feel guilty for not contributing to watching “Community” as it airs if it’s lack of viewership that cancels the show. NBC was still getting my money (first through Amazon and now through HuluPlus).

Netflix: ignoring customers? doing what’s best for them? both?

Thanks to Kurichan on Flickr


Netflix apologized for the price hike, but then followed up by announcing a split in service. Traditional mail DVDs will remain as Netflix, but streaming service will now belong to a new website called Qwikster.

My first reaction to this news is….why? I can’t figure out the reasoning behind this move. Is this just an attempt at rebranding? If it is, well, “Qwikster”? Really? That is a truly terrible name. That isn’t a name that grabs me. Who did your market testing? Who did you run that name by?

Netflix…Qwikster…whatever…is pretty determined to wean us all off of DVDs. First there was the price hike and separating of plans. That caused quite the stir two months ago. And it resulted in losing half the company’s market value. Now the company is forcing people to use two different websites if they want both services. It’s pretty inconvenient – the opposite of what you should be striving for as a business. But like I said, Netflix really seems set on forcing people into the streaming age.

The problem? (and many people have pointed this out) Netflix’s catalog on the digital side is kind of lacking. I’ve complained about this before. Once I’ve gone through the stuff I’ve wanted to watch I’m left with the crap we’ve added to the queue but don’t totally have a vested interest in watching. So I have that “there’s nothing on TV to watch” feeling.

I can applaud Netflix for wanting to drag people into the 21st century where we should be pushing our technology forward. But maybe they should have timed it better; timed it for when they had a totally kick ass catalog of stuff that they could have pimped out. After they’ve made deals with all the major networks and studios and said “CHECK THIS OUT BITCHES! You want the latest ‘Harry Potter’? GOT IT! You want to watch lame ass shows like ‘The Mentalist’ or something? GOT IT!” That’s when people would have switched over to all digital. Also by then maybe more people would have had the capability to watch streaming more comfortably in their households.

Just because my husband and I have a PS3 and can stream Netflix (er…Qwikster?) to our TV doesn’t mean everyone can. Actually, my in-laws really do want to stream Net…Qwick…whatever on their TV but can’t because of compatibility issues. I forget if it’s the laptop or the TV that’s missing a component, but basically the two can’t talk to each other. So they miss out. Just because you can stream the service to a computer doesn’t mean people want to sit at their desks and watch. That’s not comfortable or convenient. People don’t watch TV that way, and they won’t want to pay for that. Especially when a large amount of people still pay for cable AND this service. They’ll drop the extra service first.

Head honchos missing the point again

So what should this list mean, if anything, to the broadcast nets that air them? Not much, unfortunately. Says one high-powered suit at the Big Four: “Though it’s a nice list that indicates enthusiasm for a show, right now the live ratings mean a lot more.” Translation: ABC would prefer that you McDreamy fans watch the show when it actually airs — not on Saturday nights when you’re dateless and alone. Top 10 most Tivo’ed shows on TV
Once again the head honchos miss the point. People aren’t watching these shows when you air them. They’re watching shows on their own time via DVR, TIVO, online (*whisper* illegal downloads). How is it that these suits aren’t opening their eyes to this fact? Their audiences aren’t revolving their lives around the TV schedule. They’ll save up a week’s worth of shows to watch and blast it out on a Saturday afternoon. Or maybe watch a DVR’d ep of “Glee” while something else is being recorded. We no longer have to rush around watching the clock to make sure we get our asses in front of the TV so that we don’t miss our programs. Catching a show a few days later on Hulu isn’t a big deal. Even waiting a few months to watch it on DVD isn’t a big thing.

This kind of ties in to what I was talking about the other day. Old men who are forcing us to relive their 60s nostalgia are also the same ones not able to see the big picture. Watching a show when it airs isn’t a necessity for the majority of viewers anymore.

Putting women in their place in the new Fall TV lineup

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Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., the executive director for Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, suggests that, particularly in dour financial times, male viewers — not to mention the overwhelmingly male decision-makers at the networks — might be looking to retreat into less complicated, more comforting times.”In times of economic and social upheaval and difficulty, nostalgia and a longing for an era when life seemed simpler tend to bloom,” Lauzen said.

Ugh. This sounds very similar to a certain political movement spouting ideals very similar to sentiments like this. I hate to break it to them, but you’re looking at this time period through rose colored glasses. It never existed like you’re remembering it.
“As women continue to gain economic, social and political power, there is always some sort of backlash, a desire to put women ‘back in their place,'” Lauzen adds. “These programs may reflect that type of wishful thinking.”
And that’s exactly why I have no desire to watch shows like the upcoming “Pan Am” and “Playboy Club.” Jiggle TV is what this article has taken to calling it.Christine Baranski asks the very good question, ‘Really? Haven’t we gone past that, well past that?’It’s sad that the percentage of women writers has declined in the past year. So is the new trend to have white men recycle shows originally produced by white men decades before? I’m already bored.

The Morning After on Hulu did a Fall TV Preview week last week and I have to say that I was pretty underwhelmed by the choices. (TV Guide also has a list of some new shows).

Look, I get wishful thinking for a time past. I’m part of a generation that petitioned Nickelodeon to put shows like “All That” and “Clarissa Explains It All” back on the air! Nostalgia is rampant with us. Us twenty somethings (and thirty somethings too) know what it’s like to be out of work, to have a hell of a time finding a job. Or if we find a job, it’s not the one we want. Or maybe we’re underpaid. Maybe we’re still living with our parents. Life,basically, isn’t working out the way it was supposed to. We’re looking back at a time (for us it’s the 90s) when life was good. The economy was great! TV was entertaining and made us laugh all the time! Since we were kids at the time we (probably for most of us) had a sense of security and comfort. There was a routine to it. The terrorists weren’t out to get you. The banks weren’t going to foreclose on you. The world wasn’t a mess.

The problem as I see it is that we (the twenty somethings and thirty somethings) aren’t controlling the studios. It’s the old men who still hold the power. And so, it’s their nostalgia we see over the air waves.

WTF/FTW Friday

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I wasn’t sure if this is pure win or pure crazy. So I decided it’s both.

It’s like they took actors from all the best shows ever. I spotted people from Firefly, Community, True Blood and many others.

I give you….Knights of Badassdom!