TMZ Breaks Jackson Story, Ruffles Feathers, Gets Ratings?

Categories: Syndicated TV Ratings And News

Written By

June 28th, 2009

TMZ
The syndicated TV show/website combination TMZ/TMZ.com is in the news for both breaking the Michael Jackson story and ruffling a few feathers in the entertainment industry.

From the LA Times story:

Its reputation for breaking big celebrity news has made TMZ.com an online sensation, with an estimated monthly readership of 4.1 million, according to Web measurement service Quantcast.com, although it has spiked much higher during busy news periods.

But the Jackson drama puts the spotlight on TMZ at a delicate time. Its tactics have stoked growing outrage among publicists and government officials. Its tabloid sensibilities have made some other news organizations reluctant to cite its reporting -- including CNN, a sister company, which relied on the Los Angeles Times' reporting rather than TMZ's on the day of Jackson's death. Some advertisers remain hesitant to pitch their products on the site and the TV series. And TMZ has proven much better at generating controversy than cash for its corporate parent, Time Warner.

And some anecdotes on its youthful skewing ratings (we don't see syndicated show demo ratings):

Whether the show can last in the cutthroat world of TV syndication is an open question and one that may be crucial to deciding the long-term fate of the TMZ brand. But supporters of the show say signs are positive, noting that TMZ is the only TV celebrity news magazine that is expanding its audience.

"We're very pleased with the ratings," said Frank Cicha, senior vice president of programming for the Fox Station Group, which airs the show on 17 stations, including KTTV-Channel 11 in Los Angeles. "A lot of syndicated shows skew older. This one from the get-go was strong with the young demographics.

It's likely that TMZ got a big bump in the ratings this week, but won't see the syndicated show ratings from this past week until July 7 or 8 (they are delayed a week compared to primetime ratings). I'll check back then with another post with this week's ratings.

For reference though, here are the top 5 syndicated shows and assorted "magazine" show ratings for the week of June 8-14, TMZ is in the upper middle of the pack during the week, but trails on the weekend.

RANK PROGRAMS ORIG Persons Live+SD (000)
1 WHEEL OF FORTUNE CTD 8,963
2 JEOPARDY CTD 7,365
3 TWO-HALF MEN WB 6,280
4 JUDGE JUDY CTD 5,483
5 Family Guy-MF 2/T 5,480
ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT CTD 5,317
INSIDE EDITION CTD 3,954
TMZ WB 2,846
ACCESS HOLLYWOOD NBU 2,667
INSIDER CTD 2,297
EXTRA WB 2,222
ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT WKD CTD 2,063
INSIDE EDITION WKD CTD 1,815
INSIDER WEEKEND CTD 1,755
EXTRA-WEEKEND WB 1,379
TMZ WEEKEND WB 1,131

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And one of the biggest differences between TMZ and it's TV rivals:

Paratore draws a sharp distinction between TMZ television and rival entertainment news magazine shows such as CBS Paramount's juggernaut "Entertainment Tonight" or NBC Universal's "Access Hollywood."

"They are all part of the agenda of the studios' marketing efforts to promote their entertainment," he said. "Their coverage is determined by the publicists. And we are not part of the publicists' agenda. We're not trying to get invited on the next junket or get a spot on the red carpet."

While our site doesn't have much in common with TMZ, I've always felt that other TV industry media (particularly Variety) are completely in the pockets of the industry's PR organs and we enjoy pointing out their biases.

 
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