FOX gives its TERMINATOR series a full season PICKUP and my thoughts on network thinking in general!
Despite suspect ratings (less than six million weekly viewers) FOX has given a full season pick up to its TERMINATOR: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, ordering 9 more episodes to give it a full 22 episode season. I respect the network’s faith in the program as I think it’s a high quality show that deserves a bigger audience. Having said that, I also believe network’s (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX) have to be much more realistic going forward with their ratings expectations. I really think the days where networks expect all programming to pull in ten to fifteen million viewers or more a week are long over.
Except for a hand full of shows like CSI, GREYS ANATOMY, NCIS and, of course, AMERICAN IDOL, most shows airing on the four major networks are lucky if they can attract nine million viewers. Many are floundering at the six and seven million range and some even lower. The quality competition from HBO, SHOWTIME, FX, TNT, LIFETIME and A&E have put a severe dent in their audience and so has the internet. That will only get worse, not better. The competition is fierce and will only get fiercer.
Although the four majors have started to double air some of there programming, especially on Saturday nights, I’m sort of surprised they haven’t done more of it. Unlike decades ago when people had to get home at 8 PM sharp to watch HAPPY DAYS or WELCOME BACK KOTTER, shows can be now be recorded on DVR and Tivo. Believe it or not, there wasn’t even a VHS recorder or download capability when Happy Days and Welcome Back Kotter aired back in the 70’s. So if you missed it, you were out of luck. It has to be increasingly frustrating for networks to try and spin and rotate their programming every time they don’t get the desired ratings which, in most cases, is unrealistic to begin with. So let’s hope other networks follow Fox’s lead and keep quality programming on the air and keeping ratings expectations in check! It’s about time!
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