I will begin this post by admitting I have no idea what I’m talking about.
Oh sure, I know what I like. I know what interests me. That, I know.
But I have no idea how Nielsen ratings work. I don’t understand the whims of TV execs who decide which shows should stay on the air and which shouldn’t. It seems to me as the number of channels to watch has grown so has the unpredictability if your show will survive another season, let alone another episode.
A few days ago, on msn.com, they had a “cover” story about the Fate of Your Fave TV Shows. Apparently, I had a lot of time on my hands. Because I actually clicked through all 92 slides. Not once, but twice. The first time because I was curious. The second time? I simply had to crunch the numbers.
I made a little chart. Two columns: returning and canceled. Then I divided the paper in half. The top half were shows I had heard of. The bottom half where the ones I hadn’t.
I expected the bottom right hand square to be chock full of shows that I hadn’t heard of. After all, they were being canceled because no one was watching them. Most of all, me. With my high sensibilities and excellent taste I should be the judge of what is on television and what is not. Right?
Of the 92 shows highlighted, I had heard of 60% of the shows listed. Sounds about right. I watch about 60% more television than I should.
Of the 92 shows highlighted, I hadn’t heard of 40%. Again, about right. I wish this number was higher but I can’t lie. I enjoy watching television. (There. I said it. I feel so much better now.)
What surprised me is that the number of shows that were canceled, those that I had heard of and hadn’t heard of? The numbers were neck in neck. Twenty percent were canceled. And 20% of the shows that I had never heard of were returning for another season.
This figure ticked me off.
How in the world did The Cleveland Show (never heard of) and Bob’s Burgers (never heard of) beat out smart, interesting programs like The Good Guys (watched and loved) and Detroit 1-8-7 (watched and loved)?
I understand 30 Rock and The Office continuing their careers (love them both). But hasn’t Desperate Housewives had its day? And what about Cougar Town? And Celebrity (train wreck) Apprentice? Are you kidding me?
Skins (never heard of) and Traffic Light (never heard of) and Brothers and Sisters (heard of and it was definitely time) were canceled. But you’re bringing back Being Human (never heard of) and Happy Endings(never heard of but it must be the karma of the show title) ?!?
No rhyme. No reason.
Just the whims of a bunch of suits, sitting around a glass table throwing darts at the television schedule.
That’s how I see it, anyway.
I just have one request.
If I could have the final word on the subject, oh Producer Gods? You’re bringing back Two and A Half Men. Fine. But please say it will be without Charlie Sheen.