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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.

Heather... fricking... 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, W, 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 vice of...

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 plaintiff.

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 of America.

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


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