TV Ratings

Which TV Viewers Should Count?



It’s a common and understandable myth that TV shows stay on the air by getting as many viewers as possible. They don’t. In commercial television, shows stay on the air by making money, something that relates to, but does not correlate directly to, getting as many viewers as possible. If you’re a network that airs commercials, you …

HBO Renews New Hit Boardwalk Empire; Fox Puts the Lone in Star

I say this often enough that I should make it an annual boilerplate disclaimer: when I say that I like a show, I’m not predicting it will be a hit. It’s not snobbery, and it’s not not snobbery; they’re just two entirely different issues. There are great shows that have broad commercial potential (Lost) and great shows that are by …

Ratings: He Shoots… He Just Misses!


Last night, in the what-I’m-told-was-exciting final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs (um, spoiler alert, I guess), the Chicago Blackhawks won in overtime to capture the title for the first time in half a century. But the exciting finish was not quite enough to take the night’s ratings …

NBC's Conanundrum: Is Jay the Smart Choice?

Let me take off my TV-critic hat for a minute and put on my TV-business hat. Everyone’s assumption now—a well-founded one, it seems—is that, forced to choose between Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, NBC will pick Jay. Leaving aside fairness, funniness or cosmic justice, is that the right business pick?

Short-term, I have to say: …

This Was CNN: Where Have Its Viewers Gone?

CNN is a sister company to TIME within Time Warner, so let me be unambiguous and without corporate favor when I say that its latest round of primetime ratings are in the dumpster. Bill Carter of the New York Times reports that for the first time, CNN will finish October in fourth place among cable-news networks in the advertiser-followed …

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