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Numbers Revisited - October 26

I recently ran across a quote on the Op-Ed page of Raleigh's News & Observer by paper founder Josephus Daniels...

"I advise and enjoin those who direct the paper in the tomorrows never to advocate any cause for personal profit or preferment. I would wish it always to be ‘the tocsin’ and devote itself to the policies of equality and justice to the underprivileged. If the paper should at any time be the voice of self-interest or become the spokesman of privilege or selfishness it would be untrue to its history."

What exactly am I getting at? Well, it's simple.

This site is on the verge of turning seven years old, and first off, thank you for allowing us to have seven years. Anyway...

I would like to thank that part of the beauty of both this column and of what we do here at the 'net is that it is dynamic. After all, a favorite game show grows more tired every day to someone, and a failure in the US is a success somewhere else (ie: Dirty Rotten Cheater). This is all truth. Citing another tagline, "That's the way it was, that's the way it is, and it's always changing and it's always the same".

Being true to our history also involves looking back at history and seeing how things changed (and how things stayed the same), so now, before the storm that is November sweeps, let's go to what was news in the scope of what is news today. Hence and therefore, friends, I give you... "Numbers Revisited'.

2006: The Battle For Monday Revisited.

The beginning of this year, I republished a quote from a reality TV news site of an editor slyly putting in his own two cents in a story.

"While Deal Or No Deal may be unlikely to deliver the 12.7 million viewers that it averaged during its December broadcasts when it begins airing weekly on Mondays, the show is still likely to provide the best lead-in that The Apprentice has had since Friends left the airwaves in May 2004."

Not only did it deliver, it surpassed in its initial showing on Monday, getting up to 14.7 million viewers in the second installment of that series premiere. But I already said this before.

But not even I could fathom that one day, the return of the game show in primetime of the every-seven-years-or-so would score 17.44 million viewers in one night, becoming the eighth most popular show in any given week. I mean, on any given Monday, you're looking at about 15 million viewers, not a small feat by any means.

And now comes news that the ill-scheduled Thursday show (which averages about 11 million viewers every Thursday opposite powerhouses "Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI") is moving permanently (for now, heh) to Friday. Wise choice, NBC. And it only took you, what, six months and repeat performances to 11 million, impressive by Friday standards to come to that conclusion?

Meanwhile, "The Apprentice", which saw viewership drop substantially, is being held until midseason, moving to Sundays after football. Say what you will, Mr. Trump, but NBC isn't exactly giving you the business here. Or maybe it is, but it's being incredibly shrewd about it. Talk about karma.

Dancing Queens Revisited

When "Dancing with the Stars" began last year, it was THE hit of the summer, with ABC execs citing its broad appeal...

"Dancing with the Stars has broad appeal, offering viewers dazzling costumes, dancing, celebrity gossip, behind-the-scenes training and contemporary music performed by a live 15-piece band. The format has already been an international hit in several countries."

If you were a skeptic, you probably thought that it wouldn't work. But the first returns saw 13.48 million viewers watching. That's a hit even by regular season standards. In the summer... it was a monster.

Second season... it started with 19.1 million.

Last week, if there was a third-year curse in reality shows, "Dancing" didn't feel it. It scored 21.25 million viewers, becoming the second-most-popular show this week.

ABC is wise to let this show rest before another season. Then again, a nationwide tour of the show isn't exactly resting the name, keeping it fresh on the people's minds before casting begins on the fourth edition. Whenever that may be.

The Meredith Effect Revisited

Last week, we tried to tie the recent success of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," scoring its best ratings in a couple of years now, to Meredith Vieira being on Today.

This week, the show scored a 3.1, up from the usual upper 2s it was scoring over the summer, AND it's up 11 percent from last year.

Now comes this from Mediaweek.

"Buena Vista's underrated Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ended the week of Oct. 15 with the largest year-to-year growth of any first-run syndicated strip. Millionaire averaged a 3.3 in households -- up 18 percent from one year earlier. Week-to-week, Millionaire increased by 6 percent in households (3.1 to 3.3) and 8 percent among women 18-49 (1.3 to 1.4)."

This is also a growth from week-to-week. Is this because Meredith is a force to be reckoned with on the top-rated breakfast TV show in America? I can't say for sure, because I don't know. And as we all know, correlation doesn't equal causation. But this sort of thing is pretty darn hard to ignore.

By the way, I'm still accepting answers to the question "Who should host while Meredith is on break?" to the e-mail address at the bottom. I'll post some of the results next week.

The Weekly Rant, or thanks, St. Louis Cardinals for costing me about $30.

There is one more revisit I think I need to get out of the way. I need to revisit the last week and see what the hell happened that I couldn't update the site as I wanted to for a couple of days. You may have noticed something like that. Those that know me... and I mean TRULY know me... know why.

I'm not going to bore you with sob stories of how for the last couple of years I've had to juggle work on this site, my career as a medical technologist, and my increasingly turbulent family like. That's all been done before, and I care not to discuss it further.

In manning this site, I have established a public trust with you, the reader, and if you feel that I have violated that trust in any way this week, I sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize. But as a fan much wiser than I once said, "Actual reality before virtual reality." My family comes first in all things.

Don't take this as a retirement speech, because it isn't. I'm too young to pull out of the game (see the column from a couple of weeks ago when I said that the fandom needs more youngbloods), but I'm still trying to figure out that elusive balance that will keep me from becoming the biggest victim of circumstance this side of Dagwood Bumstead.

I hope you understand where I'm coming from. After all, it is what it is, and it was what it was, and it's always changing, and it's always the same. And if it were any difference, I wouldn't be doing it, because I'd be bored to tears.

Chico Alexander would do well to have about five different versions of him running around from time to time. E-mail him at


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