A Tale of Two Davies...es
- September 8
In 1999, you take a risk with a network where you were
formerly working. That year, a summer game show, one you
didn't create, but had a BIG hand in bringing to the
United States, launches. It's an immediate hit, the
likes of which your TV network has never seen before. It
takes off and becomes a staple on your network's
Six years later, you try
the same thing again with the same network, but this
time, you apply a sacred formula - one where the
contestants can either win or lose everything - to a
project that you were pitching in hopes of setting off
more sparks. Only this time, the result isn't as was
planned... Your bomb is a giant in-joke, and one that
relatively few got.
(Same could be said for
last year on a different network, but that's another
ball of wax totally).
That's right. You are
Michael Davies. Hi, Michael!
Why should you be
concerned, though? After all, your cash cow, "Who Wants
to Be a Millionaire", is still raking in the audiences
hand over fist. But lest you be the "one trick pony" of
the game show world, you had better listen up. And
What Was Right...
It's a very simple
formula, one bestowed upon you by no less than living
legend Monty Hall. "On every great game show, there is a
moment where the contestant can win or lose everything."
Obviously he was an expert saying this, as people have
won or lost everything on his various editions of "Let's
Make a Deal". Certainly forty-plus years of playing the
game show confidence-man can attest to that. And
certainly people have won or lost everything on the six
seasons of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", with a
seventh due to start on Monday.
... and What Went
On "My Kind of Town,"
Davies' summer attempt this year, there was only one big
moment... per episode. And in that big moment, there is
no real loss. You win, you win and go home. You lose ...
you just go home. No drama...
To compound that, it
takes all of 50 minutes of necessary filler to get
there. And in an age of reality TV, people with shorter
attention spans want a little more bang for their buck.
First show... August 14.
If you're watching, you're doing so a) out of morbid
curiosity, or b) thinking that Desperate Housewives was
on. In either case, you were one of seven million
viewers that looked and did any one bodily gesture of
curiosity (scratching head, rubbing chin, etc.). The
show itself scored a 4.2/6 in the overnights for fourth
place, and a 2.9/8 among adults 18-49 for second. A
million and a quarter viewers got tired of waiting for
Desperate Housewives to start and changed the channel.
Second show... August
21. The erosion continues in the overnights, although
ABC posts a key demo win. As for the show itself, it
averaged 3.6/6 at 9p for third place... barely clipping
"Family Guy's" heels. A slight dip, but when you're
starting at the bottom, even the smallest of cuts is a
Third show... August 28.
By now, we get it. We know about the joke. We know about
the filler. We know about the punchline. The end result,
3.4/5... Not very funny, as we begin to trail off in an
eerie cosine. You know the kind.
That brings us to last
week. Same share, lower rating. It's a 2.3/5.
The bottom line is... we
got the joke. We just didn't find it entertaining
enough. And it sure as heck didn't help that we had to
wait all but the final 10 minutes to get to the
punchline. I don't know about you, but I want my humor
fast and often.
And that's why
"Millionaire" works. The drama never ends until it ends,
and you only have to wait just so (unless you're staring
at the eyes of, oh, Chris Tarrant, in which case you
have to wait until the second Ice Age) for resolution.
And after that and
"Studio 7", you might want to go back and think about
In Other Numbers
- If I may channel Mark
Twain a bit, reports of the death of "Rock Star: INXS"
have been greatly exaggerated. Here are the numbers for
the last performance show: second in the overnights
(4.2/7), second in viewers (5.98 million), and top of
the heap for adults 18-49 (3.1/9). Apparently the closer
we get to crowning Michael Hutchence's successor, the
more people are interested. A modest success... and you
can't say that about "The Cut", really, which wasn't
that much of a success to begin with.
- After taking opening
numbers by storm, it seems that "So You Think You Can
Dance" has leveled off. Last week, the show proper
ranked second in the overnights (5.8/9) and first in
viewers (7.86 million) and 18-49 (2.9/9). While it's up
from last week, it's only slightly so. So Fox may have
itself another winner if it realizes that "Dance" is
what it is, a summer plug... an entertaining one, but
Remember, all stated
numbers are in terms of time slots. New season of the
quizzers start Monday. Here's hoping there's a release
on those numbers before next Thursday. Until then,
remember, the numbers never lie.
still thinks that Chapel Hill, NC is his kind of town.
E-mail him some of that Carolina blue love at firstname.lastname@example.org.