Ah, the spreading of bad information, about the business of TV. By TV critics. We'll forgive Mr. Goodman if he hasn't recovered from all the drinking at the TCA tour. But in a story on how well cable did this summer (which is true) he propagates the myth that broadcast networks would covet some of the numbers from cable shows.
TNT's "The Closer" continues to dominate, the aforementioned "Burn Notice" is a series any network would love to have this fall, and a Hollywood Reporter story noted that "Royal Pains," the freshman series that sneaked under most people's radar, averaged 7.2 million viewers each week. There was a time when networks would scoff at ratings like that, but more viewers now watch cable than network programming, and that expansion of the marketplace has diluted once-gaudy network numbers. Factor in the cumulative ratings of all of the disparate cable channels - including HBO, Showtime, AMC and FX, which are churning out critically successful series - and you have to wonder when broadcasters are going to make a truly serious push into the summer.
- One: total viewers just don't matter too much and the ratings for those shows are generally below or just barely above a 2.0 rating with adults 18-49. No broadcast network would covet those numbers in the fall (OK, not counting the CW -- and maybe NBC).
- Two: the numbers he cites for Royal Pains are the Live+7 numbers, adding in a week of DVR viewing that the advertisers just don't care about. Pains did pull over 6.5 million in Live+SD numbers for some airings when Burn Notice was it's lead-in, which for USA really are great numbers. It's great for PR and I am a big fan of Burn Notice, The Closer and Royal Pains, but they need to stay on cable where they won't be canceled with Live+SD A18-49 ratings in the high 1.x range.