I'm glad we're still flying a bit under the radar here. Because if the CW unleashed its babe-o-licious press relations team on me, I worry I too might somehow fall prey to it.
I threw up in my mouth a little bit when New York Magazine made Gossip Girl its cover story with the title Best Show Ever and then I threw up a little more when Sonia Zjawinski wrote a Wired blog post with the headline of Gossip Girl's Online Success is a Preview of TV 3.0.
Not that Wired hasn't always drunk the Internet Kool-Aide a little too much for its own good, but what's most annoying to me about both articles is they play up the iTunes and the hundreds of thousands of streams from the CW's site before it cancelled Internet streaming of Gossip Girl via its web site for the remainder of the season.
Take the hundreds of thousands of streams. Take the iTunes. Call it ONE MILLION altogether even. It's not one million by the way, it's significantly less because if it was actually anywhere near a million the babe-o-licious CW Network press relations team would have every body talking about NEARLY A MILLION instead of hundreds of thousands. But for the sake of discussion, let's call it a million...even though Gossip Girl is currently only #7 on iTunes according to the Wired article.
But, let's call it a million anyway and you know what you have? A show that still has less viewers in total than the Gilmore Girls had just last year in its final season. Even when you add in the imaginary million extra Internet viewers. And I'm sure Gimore Girls got some love on the Internet too. Gilmore Girls averaged 3.7 million viewers last year. That was significantly down from its hey day on The WB in 2001-2002 of 5.2 million viewers.
Babe-o-licious press relations crew or no all past performance indicates that Internet buzz (and even a cover on New York Magazine) doesn't translate into viewers.
It's often said that past performance isn't always an indicator of future success, but it usually is, and I'm betting Gossip Girl is no exception. The problem for Gossip Girl is pretty simple: its target audience (women 12-34) would rather watch MTV's The Hills.