Sunday, January 13, 2008

Writers strike, ratings and uh... whining and snark.

Viewers aren't doing striking writers any favors, turning out en masse for NBC's new unscripted shows American Gladiators (14th place, 12.1 million) and The Celebrity Apprentice (19th place, 11.1 million).

Crap. I mean, this should could actually be used as torture against the Iraqis, it's so abjectly terrible. Plus, you know, that nobody is going to die. At least with the Anna Nicole Smith reality show you knew there was a good chance that somebody was going to croak. I would have prefered it to be her BEFORE she killed her kid, but still...

More not-good news for scribes: Celebrity Apprentice averaged 44 percent more viewers on Thursday than the Office-Scrubs comedy hour.

Well, the fact of the matter is... Celebrity Apprentice is awesome. It's as good as the first one was - where you cared about the characters and wanted to watch them compete. I know this sounds like bullshit coming from me, but Celebrity Apprentice is appointment television for me... and would be, quite frankly, even if there wasn't a strike.

Gene Smimmons. Holy God, he's awesome to watch.

Even more not-good news for scribes: In Chuck's old time slot on Monday, American Gladiators averaged an estimated 10.9 million viewers, or 2.2 million more than the comedy-spy series.

Meh. Not a fan of Chuck.

And the hits just keep on coming...A brand-new (scripted) Cold Case (20th place, 11 million) on CBS lost 1 million viewers from its unscripted Amazing Race lead-in (15th place, 12 million).

Cold Case? That show's still on?

A new (scripted) episode of ABC's Desperate Housewives (fifth place, 19.8 million) was treated like the rare find it was; the debut of ABC's new (and scripted) Cashmere Mafia (21st place, 10.6 million) was jettisoned by nearly half the Housewives audience.

Thank God for that, and thank God for the second half. Cashmere Mafia? Eat me. It's so desperately trying to be Sex In The City... the only thing it's missing are the previous show's haggardly stars, but good news! The movie is on it's way! Here's the thing - people aren't going to tune into shit just because it's ON. (Okay, Gladiators not withstanding, but I believe there to be a curiousity factor involved in that. Lets see how that turd floats up this week.

Good (and more bad) news for scribes: The CBS game show Power of Ten (49th place, 6.5 million) tanked in its prime-time return, sunk by the (unscripted) NBC game show Deal or No Deal (12th place, 12.3 million) and the (unscripted) ABC reality show Wife Swap (30th place, 8.4 million).

This entire paragraph might as well be in Latin. I have no idea of any of that stuff.

Sort of good news for scribes: Viewers seem very tired of Grey's Anatomy (54th place, 6.1 million) and Ugly Betty reruns (65th place, 5.1 million).

To be honest, and I love Grey's, I'm pretty tired of it this season. Could Meredith be more unlikable? And unwatchable in HD?

On the other hand, they're pretty okay with previously viewed CSIs (ninth place, 13.3 million) and pretty apathetic about all-new episodes of Women's Murder Club (37th place, 7.8 million) and Las Vegas (42nd place, 7.1 million).

Las Vegas never kicked ass, and the formula of "four women who get together and (fill in the blank) while talking about being women" seems to be dying a hackneyed and deserved death.

Perhaps Fred Thompson should have kept his prime-time job. The 18th season premiere of NBC's Law & Order (seventh place, 13.5 million) won Wednesday night, while the Saturday night Republican presidential debate on ABC (40th place, 7.4 million) got its teeth kicked in by the Democratic one (26th place, 9.4 million).

Fred Thompson should have kept the gig where he could have slept in and nobody called him lazy. And kept his Hollywood job where being A LITTLE smart in politics made you REALLY SMART.

Roger Clemens was a performance-enhancing interview subject for CBS' 60 Minutes (sixth place, 18.2 million), which posted its best numbers in two months.

Another example of steroids making things better.


Alex Weitzman said...

I'm not terribly surprised. This is America. Did we actually expect people to TURN OFF their televisions?

The question will be whether outcry is big enough, whether viewer habits start changing, or whether the studios start getting frightened of the actors and the Ides of June.

Anonymous said...

The fact is, people don't "need" television the way they used to. The average viewer has about a million options beyond what is being broadcast daily.

Like many others, I wish I had new shows to watch, but I'm also using this time to catch up on entire series that I simply never had time to watch before that are out on DVD.

I wish the writers luck insomuch as I'm in favor of people getting as much cash for their sweat as possible (even if it involves no sweat at all) but I think they may have overestimated their 'place' in the grand scheme of things.

The folks who really 'pay' Hollywood to entertain them are accountants, plumbers, factory-workers, etc. When it comes to this strike, I don't think there's a lot of sympathy from the "regular-joe" camp.

Or that's how I see it. Maybe I'm wrong.

- Innocent Bystander

Anonymous said...

American Idol is indeed crap, but it draws the eyeballs and likely helps pay the bills on Fox's animation, too. It's alllllll connected. Let's see what Steve Jobs has to say. Hopefully he can yank the guilds into this millennium already. He and the studios likely have already done it. We just don't know the details yet.