Saturday, November 24, 2007
Jericho: Live TV Ratings
"It's a case in point of how Hollywood's definition of a hit TV series is radically changing. Though still the primary focus, "live" TV ratings are no longer the sole barometer of success. As viewing habits change, programmers are struggling with how to factor in DVR use, Web viewing, sought-after niche audiences and online chatter when weighing shows' health.
"In the new world we live in, that kind of cultural permeation — the awareness that's greater than the numbers indicate — speaks to the potential for growth of the show," says Gossip executive producer Josh Schwartz.
The pattern followed last year's surprise resurrection of CBS drama Jericho, which was granted a seven-episode reprieve (due early next year). In a campaign to save the show, dedicated fans sent cartons of nuts to network executives — who were nonetheless more impressed by the 5.3 million episodes that were streamed online."
"The WGA action hit the late-night talk shows first and hardest, with virtually all of them, deprived of their nightly ration of political jabs and other topical jokes, going to reruns immediately. "Saturday Night Live" suffered a similar fate.
News and reality series, whose writers are not covered by the WGA contract, have not been affected. Most daytime soaps, whose scripts tend to be written far ahead of their air dates, will reportedly not be affected for several months.
The situation for prime-time comedies and dramas is more complicated.
"The Office" was scheduled to air a new episode this week but then is likely to go into reruns. Other popular series, including "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy," "CSI," "Heroes," Law & Order: SVU" and "House," have between three and eight unaired episodes.
"Jericho," which is due to return at mid-season with seven new episodes, has produced all seven and isn't likely to be affected. But another show previously scheduled for a mid-season debut is in limbo."
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