Burden of Proof... and
the Proof of Burden - January 26
I am prepared to recant
almost everything I have said in this column per "The
Bachelor: Paris"... and I have, of all people, Heather
Graham to thank.
Graham... The chick from "Austin Powers 2." The chick
from "Boogie Nights." The chick from "Lost in Space" who
WASN'T the chick from "Party of Five."
The story goes like this.
After thirty some-odd years of "Monday Night Football",
Monday nights on ABC took a far more feminine tone with
mainstay "Wife Swap" joined by sitcoms "Emily's Reasons
Why Not" (which will probably go down as the most
oft-used one-liner in 2006 unless another Idol sex
scandal surfaces) & "Jake in Progress", and the new
season of "The Bachelor." The result, per last week's
column: 5.3/8 & 6.2 million viewers. In the adults 18-49
demo... only 2.8/7.
The next week, "Emily"
and "Jake" were replaced by Dr. T and the women (yes,
we've heard it before, I'm going to use it anyway
dadgummit) a rerun of what will go down in history as
"Allie's Song (Rotten Eggs)" on the Bachelor soundtrack
was broadcast. Good for fourth place behind three
powerhouses (the Golden Globes, the CBS laugher block,
and Fox's "24"). A new episode of "The Bachelor" tied
the previous week's numbers in the overnights.
Then, a miracle happened.
ABC brass soon realized that perhaps the most perfect
lead-in for "The Bachelor" is ... Hello, "The Bachelor"!
The end result, a 5.9/9 for the new episode. While it
was in third (or for the 10p hour, last), it managed to
perk up a bit. So is it a case of audience wobble, or
has ABC actually come to its senses regarding lead-ins?
I mean, it was even enough for third place in the
demographic, which actually saw a raise in both the 9p
and the 10p hours for "The Bachelor".
HOWEVER... with numbers
still below the year-ago levels for "The Bachelorette:
Jen Chooses No One", I still stand by my assertion that
Mike Fleiss should never come anywhere near a TV again.
Hey, I did say "Almost."
Another Tenth for GSN!
Moving on, more growth.
This time coming from cable.
Thanks to our good
friends at Buzzer: The Game Show Blog, we know that GSN
has inched from a 0.3 to a 0.4. While it's still nowhere
near the points that we saw pre-April of 2004, I'm sure
that GSN will take all the 0.1s they can afford. Hell,
they'll probably want more just to add to the
collection! That's another 22,000 viewers and more
people watching the Network for Games than Oxygen, WE,
Discovery Health, Toon Disney, OLN, and Noggin/The N.
What does this mean in
the long run? Absolutely nothing. What's 22,000 more
viewers? Hardly a blip. It's enough to give hope, but
still, as a contrast, the population of Fayetteville,
NC, the state's fourth-largest city, is approximately
121,000. That's HALF of what GSN's audience is, which
is, if you think about it, about half of what it used to
be. Makes you wonder if we can throw in Raleigh, just to
get the viewership up a bit. That'd be something.
So here we are now,
waiting for the next round of GSN premieres and looking
forward to the next 222,000...
CW... CW Run... Run,
As you may know if you
read this column enough, I work in a lab at a hospital.
Why is this relevant? Because a while back we had a
little scandal regarding a neighboring for-profit
hospital. Our main defense while we pushed for a merger
instead of outright competition... "Why have two good
hospitals when we can have one great one?"
Apparently Dawn Ostroff
and Les Moonves came to the same conclusion, as the best
WB and UPN will be joined in holy television matrimony
under the moniker of "The CW". That means that come this
fall "Beauty and the Geek" and "America's Next Top
Model", two of the best games in primetime today, will
be on the same network.
The absolute best-case
scenario would be as follows...
To date, the WB has had a
2.2 rating this season. UPN, narrowing with a 2.3. Put
them together, and you have a 4.5, still not enough to
catch fourth-place Fox, but it's a good start. But lo,
the Numbers Game isn't even REMOTELY this simple. In
some slots you might see a synergistic effect, but in
others, quite the opposite. We'll have to see and gauge
when the final rollout is announced.
But what we do know is
this. It's a simple game of economics. We knew from the
start that the broadcast dial could never sustain six
major networks. Prophecy #1 fulfilled. We knew that both
networks were gunning for the coveted 18-34
demographics, but would never branch out from that.
Prophecy #2 fulfilled. We knew that money wasn't coming
in as it used to for these. Prophecy #3 fulfilled.
Finally, we knew that simple lesson back from
high-school civics... the fewer bodies to a pie, the
greater the share.
Hence, we now look
forward to what the CW has to offer and if indeed it
gets a larger share of what is currently being offered
by both of its parent networks.
The weekly rant, or
Detective Conan, Case Closed, anyway you say it, we sill
miss it on Adult Swim.
We've all heard that age
old saying: "Opinions are like asses. Everyone has one
and mine is better than yours."
And then comes comedian
Jim Meskimen, opining on an episode of "The Fresh Prince
of Bel-Air" that we all are entitled to our own version
of "the truth."
So what happens when
"truth" becomes "opinion" and vice versa? Then I have to
go out and play the game show news world's equivalent of
"Mythbusters"... and it really sucks because I don't get
the luxury of Kari Byron to look at.
Case #1: the editor of a
website to remain nameless, whilst reporting on the
return of "The Apprentice", referred to the "Deal or No
Deal" return with what may well be the king of all
back-handed compliments: providing the best lead-in to
"The Apprentice" in two years, yet still not being able
to collect on the 14-some-odd million viewers it did
during its initial run.
Sure that may be the
case, but consider this... Reruns of the show on CNBC
met or bested Bill O'Reilly's show in primetime, after a
week of top finishes against established fare such as
... well, whatever was on CBS at the time. That's a
healthy sampling, and if NBC continues with what got
them there, then they should have no problem sustaining
the hit mileage that it did on Christmas week, even if
they don't collect on the amount that say, your precious
"American Idol" or "Survivor" does.
And if it does, even for
a week, then I will be the first to send Mr. Editor a
heaping helping of crow. We as brother webmasters must
remember that it is our job, first and foremost, to
inform based on fact, not our interpretation of fact,
just to make a long cover story. Leave that to aside
columns like this one, please.
As Bill Watterson said in
"Calvin & Hobbes": "Virtue isn't any better than vice...
it's just different." Which brings us to the virtue and
Case #2: Richard Hatch...
Guilty of tax evasion. And after he used all form of
excuse out of it, from the in-court "I am the world's
worst bookkeeper" to the out-of-court "I'm the picture
of gamesmanship and my competitors are dirty rotten
cheaters and CBS would pay me off if I didn't sing to
the pulps about it."
Did we see any proof of
this? No. All we heard what what the lawyer wanted to go
with regarding all the evidence provided by the
I've watched enough
episodes of "The People's Court", "Judge Judy", "Judge
Joe Brown", hell, even "Night Court" to know that in a
case such as this, the burden of proof falls onto the
defendant. After all, that's what the defendant is there
for. That's where civil court and criminal court differ.
Richard had every opportunity to prove his claim, and he
didn't. Instead, he just took his story and ran with it
for... a safety. Two points, people of the United States
So what's the moral here?
Same as every round of this here Numbers Game... If you
have an opinion, you better have the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God, to
back it up.
Chico Alexander is
Adam Savage to Gordon's Jamie Hyneman, if you haven't
noticed by now. Please send season 2 DVDs to email@example.com.