Numbers Coming Up Short

Bart the Genius13

“We’ve got a stowaway, sir.” – Not Peter Lorre
“I’ll pay!  How much?” – Dream Bart
“Twice the fare from Tucson to Flagstaff minus two-thirds of the fare from Albuquerque to El Paso!” – Dream Martin

I didn’t watch last week’s Zombie Simpsons episode; I did watch this week’s, but ran out of steam long before I could write a whole post about it.  Long story short, “Cue Detective” has a meandering and incoherent story (that apparently involves alien technology that fell to Earth, but nevermind), lots of exposition to explain that story (plus whatever hapless jokes got stapled to it), and plenty of filler to take up those contractually obligated twenty minutes of airtime.  If you haven’t seen it, you aren’t missing anything.  If you have seen it, well, at least you don’t have to watch it again.

I do plan to get back to Behind Us Forever and Compare & Contrast posts, but my stupid real job has been eating all my time and energy.  Un/fortunately, there are new episodes for at least the next three weeks, so I’ll have plenty of opportunities.

Before we get to the ratings for Zombie Simpsons, we should pause for a moment to note that network teevee, which has been ailing for a long time, may now be entering serious death throes:

Networks have always banked on Premiere Week as an interval of peak sampling, but Tuesday night’s PUT (or people using television) levels were discouraging. The number of adults 18-to-49 watching primep-time programming dropped 8% versus the year-ago period and overall usage in the demograhic for the last two nights is down 10%.

But the most disconcerting PUT data concerns younger viewers, who are ditching traditional TV faster than anyone could have anticipated. TV viewing among adults 18-to-24 is now down 20% versus the first two nights of the 2014-15 season, and male usage in that age range has withered by nearly a quarter (24%). While last fall was blighted by disappearing female viewers, this year it’s the menfolk who are pulling the old Invisible Man routine. Per Nielsen, male 18-to-34 PUT levels over the last two nights are down 18%.

First of all, AdAge, Jebus, run a spell checker.  Second, if that’s the best the networks can do during premier week, before people even realize how crappy most of the shows are, you’ve got to start wondering if there will even be a premier week ten years from now.  That’s a lot of valuable spectrum that’s not serving a whole lot of people, and advertisers seem to finally be getting sick of paying big bucks to reach a shrinking and difficult to measure audience.  FOX has an option on Zombie Simpsons that goes through Season 30, I wonder if it’ll outlive its medium?

With that grave decline in overall network television audience in mind, let’s take a look at the numbers for Zombie Simpsons:

TV Ratings Sunday: ‘CSI’ Finale Up, ‘Once Upon A Time’ Down + ‘Quantico’ + ‘Last Man on Earth’ – “Every Man’s Dream” was swiftly forgotten by just 3.26 million viewers.  That is very ungood.  It took Season 26 until February to post a number lower than that, and premiers have been in the 6-8 million range the last few years, so that number is basically in freefall.  Last year’s premier, which admittedly had a football lead-in, scored 8.50 million viewers, and was 3.9rating/11share among the nuts and gum set.  This year was 1.5/5.

TV Ratings Sunday: ‘The Good Wife’ premieres lower, ‘Quantico’ holds in week 2 – “Cue Detective” had a football lead-in, and fared better than the premier, but still only had “6 million” (no decimals at the link) viewers.  Football lead-ins last year were in the seven million range this early in the year, so that’s down too; and the nuts and gum numbers are 2.6/8, also down from last year’s first football lead-in.

Two data points do not make a trend, but things are looking grim for the numbers this year.  Oh, and there’s no football lead-in this Sunday.

26 Responses to “Numbers Coming Up Short”

  1. 1 The Artist Formerly Known As Rob K.
    7 October 2015 at 9:33 pm

    TV is slowly being replaced by movies, video games and hundreds of other mediums and pastimes plus the younger generation of writers is not creative, lazy and uninspired.

    Some shows like The Flash and.ABC’s comedy lineup are doing ok.

    I hope OFF gets a proper retirement. Also here’s a shot of JD whiskey I’m taking with some Russian vodka to pre celebrate ahead of time, hopefully the same night OFF goes off the Cubs will win.

    • 2 Stan
      7 October 2015 at 11:10 pm

      Lucky fucker. Alcohol doesn’t cost squat in the US (compared to Canada).
      I sincerely hope they lower prices on booze if we vote Herper out.

      • 3 The Artist Formerly Known As Rob K.
        8 October 2015 at 4:13 am

        I got this Tysarsky or whatever vodka for $3 in a small bottle, a Jack Daniels medium bottle (plastic) for $7 at Wal Mart.

  2. 10 Victor Dang
    7 October 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Never did I think one day it’d be Duke Phillips who’d be going down on his knees in the nude.

    (Sorry for this tangent, but I’d much rather be talking about anything else other than ZS, so why not The Critic, which never gets talked about much?)

    • 11 Bleeding Gums Murphy
      7 October 2015 at 10:10 pm

      I have recently watched the first season of The Critic for the first time. When I have some time, I will start watching Season 2.

      For now, I must say: I really want to love this show. I really want. But I can’t.

      It’s a lot worse written than The Simpsons, it lacks a huge amount of memorable characters, it has weird and ultimately pointless stories (Doris supposely being Sherman’s mom? And at this early in the show, when we know nothing about her? That’s pretty bad), it’s too repetitive (Jay being fired, Jay being alone, Jay being close to be fired, Jay being alone, etc), it’s too unrealistic (Jay finding the cure for Duke’s heart illness?), and so on.

      Sometimes I don’t even know if Jay himself cares about films and his job. He gives a list of his favourite movies (nearly all of them being obscured ones), yet he resigns and becomes a truck driver because… well, supposely it would be a fine experience, but the next scene is him being extremely bored, and yet he remains being a truck dricer for the rest of the episodes. I don’t mind wacky, chaotic gags, but there must be some logic behind the story and the universe of the show, and while The Simpsons were capable of making Burns block the sun in Springfield in a plausible, well written story… I don’t find that quality in The Critic’s stories.

      • 12 The Artist Formerly Known As Rob K.
        8 October 2015 at 4:18 am

        I really like The Critic, it was both clever, witty and funny. I liked the dialogue. But yes it had some nonsensical storylines.

        • 13 Bleeding Gums Murphy
          8 October 2015 at 8:20 am

          That’s exactly why I would love to love the show. I can detect the trace of The Simpsons’ DNA in The Critic. I like Jay Sherman, I love Duke Phillips, I love Doris, I like Jay’s family, but the stories kinda ruin the show. It’s one thing to make Duke cross a wall instead of opening a door (that was a funny joke), it’s another thing to make Jay a scientific and an expert in medicine and chemical products for a single episode. It’s one thing to establish Jay is ignored or disliked by nearly anyone (including his adoptive parents), it’s another thing to go as far as making his adoptive mother to humiliate him at the entire NY population by making Jay the basis of the pig character of a children’s story (that adults also liked because whatever), and yet Jay only takes it as a unpleasant but overall minor thing. Yeah, I get The Critic’s universe is more exaggerated, but there’s a limit you cannot cross, otherwise you expose yourself to harming the characterization and impact of your characters.

          Also, the huge amount of movie parodies you can see in some episodes is another indication of how weak The Critic’s storytelling is. They also used filler in The Simpsons, but they didn’t add like six or seven filler scenes in a single episode, because they used “all the tricks in the book”.

          In other words, this is after all a Jean and Reiss show. It shows it.

          • 14 Charlie Sweatpants
            8 October 2015 at 11:01 am

            I love The Critic, but Season 2 of it is noticeably better than Season 1. It helps that they introduce Alice and Penny, they use the secondary characters a lot more, and the episodes overall feel a lot tighter. That’s one of the things that makes it getting cancelled a second time so frustrating, the show really was hitting its stride.

    • 15 The Anti-Stan
      8 October 2015 at 11:24 am

      The show does get talked about, but usually in association with “A Star is Burns” and even then, only disparagingly, since a lot of people hated the fact that Matt Groening disassociated himself from the episode. There are people, however, who like it and declare that it was too clever for the nuts and gum audience (which, I’m assuming, means, white male, aged 18-49 demographic) while shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy wish they could be this funny.

  3. 16 Stan
    7 October 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Heh, funny to hear from a guy writing “premier” the invitation to use a spell checker. FFS, the word is “premiere” (and yes, it helps if you also speak French). Both of them read “premeer”, so what’s the problem?

    • 17 Charlie Sweatpants
      8 October 2015 at 11:03 am

      Well, I learned something today: http://grammarist.com/usage/premier-premiere/

      “Premiere, with an e at the end, refers to the first public performance or showing of something, such as a movie or play. It can be a noun or a verb—for example, a movie premieres at its premiere. Premier, without the e, is (1) an adjective meaning first in status, and (2) a noun denoting a prime minister.”

      Though I think my point about spellcheck still stands. Damned homophones.

  4. 19 Stan
    7 October 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Oh, and on the actual topic, I’m actually surprised the 18-24 demographic still watches TV! There are people out there literally sleeping to YouTube mixtapes, with the internet on 24/7. Why would then even need TV? I haven’t had TV since 2010 and the fuck am I getting it back for? Seriously, FOX, grow up. Go bother people on the internet now, that’s where your precious demographic is today.

    • 20 The Anti-Stan
      8 October 2015 at 11:32 am

      Yeah. Other channels (including network ones) are doing it. And then there’s Netflix and Hulu, which, while you have to pay for it, is at a reasonable price and has more variety. Plus, you get to see the network TV shows on July a day or a few days after airing on TV. This isn’t like the 1950s or 60s when you miss a show and never see it again.

      • 21 Stan
        8 October 2015 at 2:06 pm

        There’s also a 10 minute money back guarantee on some movie purchases @ Netflix. At least here in Canuckistan. If you don’t like a movie you just undo your payment before the 10-minute mark.

  5. 22 Sarah J
    8 October 2015 at 9:11 pm

    22-year old female here. In addition to the usual advantages of online streaming, network TV tends to have more limitations and restrictions. Meanwhile, original shows produced by streaming services like Netflix have more freedom, they can do new things. Even if you take out the sex and swearing, networks probably wouldn’t have been clamoring for Orange is the New Black. I doubt a network would’ve been eager to produce and promote Bojack Horseman. I feel like network TV hasn’t really produced a lot of fresh and interesting and exciting programming lately, ya know? Network TV has a lot more competition these days and they have to step up their game. They gotta make shows that get people talking, something where people flock to online forums immediately after new episodes air. When you have a show like that, people go out of their way to watch new episodes as they air.

    • 23 Stan
      9 October 2015 at 10:52 am

      22 years old… I remember traveling to Greece with friends back in 2006, we met a barman there who said “Pfff, you’re a baby” when I told him that I was 21. Now every time it crosses my mind, I’m thinking of how right he was.

    • 24 Charlie Sweatpants
      9 October 2015 at 11:03 am

      “Even if you take out the sex and swearing, networks probably wouldn’t have been clamoring for Orange is the New Black. I doubt a network would’ve been eager to produce and promote Bojack Horseman.”

      Agreed. I’d add that TV shows tend to be much better when they don’t have to insert a tiny cliffhanger every 6-7 minutes for a commercial break. It’s more pronounced in dramas than comedies, but it’s hard to build to an interesting conclusion when you’ve got to get people’s hopes up and then crush them every few minutes. Some shows can pull it off, but it makes it really easy for shows to fall into a very repetitive formula that sucks the life right out of them.

      • 25 Sarah J
        10 October 2015 at 2:20 am

        I’ve never thought about that, but you’re right. Helps shows flow better, especially with action and drama shows.

        Another benefit of streaming-exclusive shows, is that I think people are willing to watch more episodes before they decide whether or not to keep watching. This is good for shows that take a few episodes to get good. Network TV, you wait a week between new episodes. Unless you’re already interested in a show, you’re not gonna go out of your way to watch it. But something on Netflix? You might be bored and ready for a binge-watching session. General consensus is that Bojack Horseman and Sense8 get MUCH better in the second halves of their first seasons. Sense8 spends the first few episodes setting up the premise and introducing us to the characters, and it’s veeeery slow.

        This kind of thing is fairly common in high-concept sci-fi shows, which is probably why most don’t last long. On network TV, viewers are quick to write off shows that don’t grab them immediately. I’m not gonna go out of my way to watch a show every week on the chance that it will get good. By episodes 3-4, when Sense8 starts to get awesome, not many people would be watching on TV. But Netflix? Like I said, binge watching. Same goes for Bojack Horseman, the show doesn’t really get particularly noteworthy until about halfway in. More people watch the show for longer, and if it’s good, word spreads, more people are willing to watch more episodes.

    • 26 RaikoLives
      10 October 2015 at 6:25 am

      Loving my Netflix subscription, and while I didn’t enjoy Bojack Horseman, I’m glad we have a place where something like it can get made and distributed. The amazing stuff coming out of Netflix alone, right now, just proves how likely it is that it’s the future of television. You mentioned both Orange is the New Black and Bojack Horseman. Someone below mentions Sense8. I’d add House of Cards to the list. Plus the Marvel/Netflix deal giving us Daredevil, and Jessica Jones in November, plus a whole slew of other things I haven’t even seen yet because I’ve been watching all that good stuff. And that’s ONE streaming service. Add in Amazon Prime. HBO is going streaming. Sony/Playstation. What possible reason will there be to watch ANOTHER bland police procedural or boring family drama or inane lowest-common-denominator sitcom rubbish, when these services provide things for individual tastes at any time. And no fucking commercials!

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