On T.O., Jim Rome and how some media covers cable ratings (AKA I have T.O.'s back on this)

Categories: Cable TV

Written By

August 13th, 2009

thats_so_raven-show

Short version...One problem with using the rankings as people have when it comes to T.O. bashing is they aren't noting the following:

  • that it's a ranking of almost 14,400 shows!
  • that kids' programming does extremely well. Almost half of the top 100 are kids shows.  52 airings of SpongeBob did better than Real Housewives of Atlanta in terms of viewers. SpongeBob > NeNe!  And iCarly's iFight Shelby Marx was the most dominant show on all of cable with 7.87 million viewers.  Kids shows dominate in the rankings.
  • some reruns and old shows just do very, very well.  A repeat of NCIS beat the season finales and original episodes of In Plain Sight, and Law & Order Criminal intent. In terms of total viewers it did better than Jon & Kate Plus Eight and Red Sox vs. Yankees, the season premiere of Psych, TNT's Leverage and Hawthorne, Dark Blue and Saving Grace and Lifetime's Army Wives.  But you can't judge the Army Wives numbers as bad simply because 8 repeat airings of SpongeBob bested it.  That's just life in the cable rankings. Ultimately you have to compare shows to how they perform on the networks they air on.  On that basis, The T.O. Show was the third-most watched show on VH1 last week.
  • Reality shows like The T.O. Show are relatively very inexpensive compared to scripted dramas

Long version...

Terrell Owens linked to the post on his show's ratings from his Twitter account, and a post I didn't expect many people to read wound up being the most-read post of the day.  Had I known anyone was actually going to read it, I would've tried to do a better job writing it.

In the interim some folks have e-mailed to explain to me the nature of some of the criticism of the numbers for VH1's The T.O. Show.

Apparently the ribbing begins with the "rankings" and people throwing out numbers like it ranked number 798th.  I don't know what it has ranked in previous week's but  I'm looking at the same stats some of the chuckleheads in the media are citing.  Last week  (for the 8/3 episode) it ranked 469th in an obscure ranking called P2+ coverage ratings.    Purely based on viewers it actually ranked 498th, and that 497 shows came in ahead of  The T.O. Show seems to be the cause for the abuse.

But that's nuts.  Those rankings rank every show on cable that ran for the week and not just in prime-time but for the whole day.  There were almost 14,400 programs ranked.  14,400!

Apparently they used that a Fresh Prince rerun ranked 366th (actually 444th based on viewers, there are wacky, and meaningless ties with the ratings game sometimes).  But that a Fresh Prince rerun at Nick at Night did better than The TO Show really speaks more to some mind-boggling things that happen in the ratings -- and just how good some old shows do.  The Fresh Prince numbers are a bit mind-boggling because it ran on Nick at Night on a Tuesday Morning at 4:30am, when only 8% of the people in the USA were watching TV.  We see that kind of thing happen, and I've spent the better part of the last year celebrating Raven Symone' because years old reruns of that are notoriously well-performing.

A That's So Raven rerun at 11:30pm last Friday ranked 195 by rating (226th by viewers) besting even Will Smith with 2.546 million viewers. But when T.O has 1.834 million for his VH1 reality show, I don't view it as a comparative failure.  I just view the results for That's So Raven as amazing.

Still, I have partaken in the same sort of bashing about how reruns beat so many shows. But usually I reserve it for things like when That's So Raven beats a critically acclaimed Emmy-nominated show like Damages by almost 300%.  That's So Raven beating an inexpensive reality show? That's a weekly, if not daily occurrence! A new episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta beat Raven, but not by that much, really with  2.7 million.  That's So Raven outperformed EVERY airing of the Daily Show, Top Chef Masters (T.O. beat Top Chef Masters, by the way). Raven beat the best airing of Shark Week - Sharkbite Summer (1.843 million, a mere 7,000 more viewers than T.O's 1.836 million).

If you want to compare T.O. to iCarly, SpongeBob, the Burn Notice finale and NCIS reruns (and That's So Raven and Fresh Prince reruns too), sure, his numbers weren't that good.  But then again, by those comparisons neither were roughtly 14,000 out of the 14,378 programs that aired last week.

 
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