We start this week with
an analysis as to why reality show programs are slipping ratings wise.
The Los Angeles Times
reported about a Horizon Media analysis of Nielsen Data. They compared
the first two months of this season to last year in a year-to-year
Hardest‑hit is Fox's
"Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?," which has shed nearly half its
share of the 18‑to‑49‑year‑old demographic since last year (from a 2.5
rating to a 1.3). Among all viewers, "5th Grader" is off 35%, to 5.5
Almost as bad is
NBC's "Deal," with the Wednesday edition plunging nearly 29%, to a
mere 8 million viewers, compared with last year. The Friday airing has
performed even worse, falling 38%. ABC's "Dancing" is down 9% —
despite Cloris Leachman's unlikely tenure on this fall's edition — and
CBS' "Survivor: Gabon" has dropped one‑tenth compared with last fall's
The author Scott
Collins claims that overexposure, age of certain shows and the economy
are factors in the ratings drop. I will give you a couple more that
Mr. Collins didn’t tackle:
1. THE WRITERS
STRIKE. The Writer’s Strike which ended long ago, is still being felt
today. Ratings are down across the board, not just on the reality
schedule. And with a potential actors strike still looming on the
horizon, people are not willing to invest time or effort on these
2. BAD SCHEDULING.
The reason why 5th Grader lost ½ of the 18-49 share is that
Fox moved the show from Thursday where it was doing quite well. Same
with “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.” Fox had a Thursday night game show
block and blew it.
Now it’s time for a
capsule review catch up.
First off, THE MONEY
AND THE POWER (MTV) debuted, as 50 Cent determines which one of the
members of Team Money or Team Power gets his $100,000 investment in
their business idea. There are a lot of things wrong with this show.
First off, the show brings nothing new to the table. This is an
Apprentice Clone pure and simple.
But what really is
offensive about this show is the incredible racial stereotypes that
permeate the first episode. First off, the teams had to get off
Roosevelt Island in New York City–chained together like slaves. And
then a woman named Precious told a Korean Contestant to “go do my
nails.” I thought, in this new world of racial harmony that MTV would
get away from these type of insults.
But the show did
nothing for me. It was just there.
We flip to REDEMPTION
SONG (Fuse). Originally titled Shame 2 Fame, this surprisingly good
show stars Chris Jericho of the WWE (and a successful rock star on his
own). The premise: 11 women, who have had histories of personal trauma
from drugs to bad personal decisions get one last shot at a Geffen
The thing that makes
this different is the execution. Chris Jericho is a good host. And the
vocal coaches and judges are not there to make friends. They are there
to judge. And the first challenge was brilliantly executed. First they
had to sing their way into the house for first choice of beds, and
then they were warned that they would perform ANYWHERE or ANYTIME. And
after they were tempted with booze...they had to perform for the first
time. Great stuff.
This is a show that
should have been average. It is way more than that.
Next we go to Sci-Fi
and two shows that are absolutely fantastic.
First is CHA$E. The
concept is simple. Ten Runners are dropped off in a location and have
to get to another location and win $25,000. Sounds simple right? They
have not get caught by the “Hunters”, who are a cross between Matrix
Agents and Terminators. In the meanwhile they have to solve puzzles to
get power-ups, money flags and deflectors which send the agents in the
everything that a Sci-Fi viewer would love...computer games, alternate
reality gaming and science-fiction elements. The Hunter view-cam is a
bit cheesy...but I will forgive it as the execution is just killer
Secondly we have
ESTATE OF PANIC. Steve Valentine hosts this show where 7 contestants
face their fears to get a lot of money in a haunted house. What makes
this show work, is that Steve Valentine is very very creepy. This is
the first time since Fear Factor where people are facing their fears
in a way that is very entertaining. The haunts are creepy and it’s
good Sci-Fi Fun.
With Season 7 winner
and runner up David Cook and David Archuleta dropping their albums,
it’s now time to talk Season 8. January 13 is the return date of
American Idol. As we speak right now, Hollywood Week is being taped
and the top 24 is being determined.
The big news over the
summer was the introduction of a 4th permanent judge (which
was the way they did it on Pop Idol in the UK). Kara DioGuardi came on
during the audition process. And she does have some street cred in the
industry. DioGuardi's songs have appeared on more than 100 million
records. Her songs have been recorded by Grammy award‑winning artists
including Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Celine
Dion, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Santana and Pink. Over the last
four years, she has been awarded 10 BMI Pop Awards for having written
the most performed songs on radio. From her catalog of several
hundred songs, over 264 have been released on major labels worldwide;
and over 165 have appeared on multi‑platinum selling albums.
But the questions
–Will they hold to
the promise of getting to get to know the contestants better?
–What does this mean
for Paula Abdul?
–Will the ratings
–What will the talent
pool be like?
We will have to wait
and see when January 13th rolls around.
Speaking of Idol, we
have the total amount raised by Idol Gives Back 2. According to Yahoo
News, "American Idol" has allocated more than $64 million in grants to
six U.S. and international charities from contributions to its "Idol
Gives Back" fundraising event.
The Charities are:
The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Malaria No
More; Children's Health Fund; U.S. programs of Save the Children;
Children's Defense Fund; and Make It Right, a campaign headed up by
Brad Pitt to help New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina.
"The fact that
'American Idol' has the ability to inspire millions, create hope and
change lives is simply remarkable," said "Idol" creator and executive
producer Simon Fuller in a statement. "We are extremely thankful to
our viewers, sponsors and outstanding talent who continue to motivate
each and every one of us to contribute to those who need it the most."
Personally, I can’t
stand this show. But they are putting their money where their mouth
is. And I can’t fault them for that.
And on the sad
American Idol news tip, a 30 year old woman who auditioned for
American Idol in 2005 was found dead in front of Paula Abdul’s home,
in an apparent suicide.
Paula Goodspeed had
made many attempts to contact Abdul through threatening letters and
packages. And two months ago, according to E! News, she tried to
commit suicide by overdosing on pills. She knew of her obsession, but
was not at the house either time. She was taping segments for
Hollywood week for Season 8 of AI.
This was just a sad
Whoops! TV Week
reports that Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and the host of
the Apprentice Clone, “The Benefactor” was charged with Insider
According to the
complaint, filed in a U.S. District Court in Texas, Cuban was charged
with selling 600,000 shares of Internet search engine company
mamma.com stock based on information he had that the public did not
concerning a stock offering and Cuban avoided losing $750,000 by
selling the stock in advance of the public announcement of the
offering. The SEC wants billionaire Cuban to return the $750,000‑with
interest‑‑as well as pay a civil penalty, though it was not specified.
Both Cuban and his
attorney responded via statements on Cuban’s Blog. "This matter, which
has been pending before the Commission for nearly two years, has no
merit and is a product of gross abuse of prosecutorial discretion. Mr.
Cuban intends to contest the allegations and to demonstrate that the
Commission’s claims are infected by the misconduct of the staff of its
Enforcement Division," said attorney Ralph C. Ferrara, an attorney
with Dewey & LeBoeuf in Washington, according to the blog.
Said Cuban: “I am
disappointed that the Commission chose to bring this case based upon
its Enforcement staff’s win‑at‑any‑cost ambitions. The staff’s process
was result‑oriented, facts be damned. The government’s claims are
false and they will be proven to be so.”
This one isn’t going
away anytime soon.
And another legal
case that isn’t going away anytime soon is the Lifetime/Bravo Project
Runway court battle.
Yahoo News reports
Lifetime cable TV network has counter‑sued NBC Universal, Bravo and
The Weinstein Company over the rights to the TV program "Project
Runway" in the latest legal action that has left the hit show in
The suit, filed in
federal court in Manhattan late on Tuesday, seeks exclusive rights
over the fashion design contest starring model Heidi Klum that had
been scheduled to jump to the Lifetime Network from its cable TV rival
As reported earlier,
Bravo is trying to fill the hole with “Fashion House.”
One lawyer spoke
anonymously to Yahoo
what I know about courts, it could be well into the early spring
before anything is decided. “Barring an out‑of‑court settlement — and
insiders say there are no such negotiations taking place — “Project
Runway” seems unlikely to be back on the air for months at best.
–Mark Burnett teams
up with No Good TV. He also is teaming with the Sacramento Kings to
tape “Rebuilding The Kingdom”.
–Fear Factor Pinoy
premieres in the Philippines.
–Deal or No Deal hits
the iPhone as well as the Price is Right.
–The People’s Choice
Award categories have been announced for Game Show and Reality Show:
Favorite reality show: "American Idol" "Dancing With the Stars" and
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Favorite game show: "Jeopardy!"
"Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" "Deal or No Deal."
–Wheel of Fortune
started giving away $5,000 a day with an extra SPIN ID on November 17th.
–MGM and Fremantle are
producing YouTube content.
–Joshua Leming’s album
which was rumored to be blocked by 19 Entertainment, will be released
by Warner Music Group in January.
–Chris Moyles of BBC
Radio 1 hosts “Quiz Night”, a celebrity game show.
–Jeff Stelling is
rumored to be the new host of Countdown. And Carol Volderman taped her
last appearance on the show November 14th.
–Jeopardy will debut
it’s new full HD Set at the Consumer Electronic Show tapings in January.
–“The Newlywed Game” is
now casting for the New York City shoot.
–Deanna Pappas of the
Bachelor helps plan dream weddings on “Get Married!”, whose second
season premieres January 5.
Password comes back for Season 2 on December 21st.
–Ace Gordon of
Survivor: Gabon was charged with disorderly intoxication, obstruction of
an officer and resisting arrest without violence this past Sunday in
–Michael Flatley is
doing “Superstar Dancers of the World” for NBC next year.
–Noel Edmonds of Deal
or No Deal UK fights against the TV Licensing fee.
–In an incredible bit
of corporate synergy - Miley Cyrus (a/k/a Hannah Montana) and the star
of the new Disney movie “Bolt”, will perform on ABC/Disney’s “Dancing
with The Stars” finale.
–Don’t Forget the
Lyrics comes to Singapore.
–Beauty and the Geek
may be going to MTV.
Jason's true beauty can be found in
his collection of suits. He can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .