Celebrating the “buzz” along with the ratings: will “buzz” save Parks & Recreation?
Welcome back Josef Adalian of The Wrap who was very ill with complications from the flu for a while. We’re glad he is feeling better and is back on the beat.
But I worry Joe isn’t back to 100% yet when I see him tweeting stuff like “Ratings are Good, But So Is Buzz,” which links to an article on six shows with that are buzzing: Glee, Modern Family, Parks & Recreation, The Good Wife, The Real Housewives of Atlanta (which has already finished its most recent cycle), and The Vampire Diaries.
But while Nielsen numbers are still incredibly important to a show’s long-term survival, both broadcast and cable networks are increasingly interested in how series are rating in the pop culture as well as in the overnights. With out-of-the-box hits harder to come by, networks know they need to be more patient with shows than in the past.
Indeed, TV network PR is increasingly interested in how series are perceived in the pop culture, it can serve them for purposes of PR spin, and hopefully lead to viewers. But so far, there’s no data that suggests that pop culture buzz and ratings have much of an intersection. The Big Bang Theory seemingly has less social media buzz than Gossip Girl, but which Warner Bros produced series makes more money for the studio?
Moreover, four out of the six shows Joe highlighted (Glee, Modern Family, The Real Housewives of Atlanta and The Vampire Diaries) have good to great ratings for their networks and relative competitive landscapes. NeNe will probably have her own show someday, but The Real Housewives of Atlanta is a ratings beast for Bravo — it’s the best of the entire Real Housewives franchise. It’s not just buzz from Bravo’s perspective, it’s ratings! Same for The Vampire Diaries which is a huge hit relative to CW’s lineup.
Glee has very decent 18-49 ratings (over a 3.0 is very decent for a broadcast network in this day and age) and fares even better in the younger women demos. And Modern Family has provided very decent 18-49 ratings for ABC, who has struggled at launching successfully rated sitcoms as well.
I’m not sure there is actually much buzz for The Good Wife. It has decent ratings relative to everything, but relative to CBS’ where it airs, it’s ratings are below average and it is already shaping up to be one of CBS’ bubble shows when it comes to renewal.
Parks & Recreation definitely has some buzz with the community of TV Critics who adore it. Its ratings are below average for NBC but it has been trending up, plus we’ve seen data that although it has relatively few viewers, the percentage of them in high income (annual household income of $100K or better) households is very high relative to most shows. NBC doesn’t have much to work with so we can definitely see them sticking with it. It won’t be because of buzz, though the buzz won’t hurt it and those who believe in buzz will be able to claim victory!
On the Internet, Dollhouse and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles had a lot of buzz, and well, you know. Where there is truly buzz, there are ratings to back it up.
Ratings are huge and buzz is always nice, but I’ll take the ratings for House and The Big Bang Theory over Gossip Girl’s buzz every time.