TV By The Numbers Is More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine...

Categories: TV Business

Written By

May 14th, 2012

While the claim that TV by the Numbers' predictions kill shows by influencing large numbers of viewers to stop watching* them are pretty routine in our comments, Harry's Law executive producer Bill D'Elia thinks we're a lot more powerful than we actually are too!


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*Conveniently ignored by the claimants is the fact that we make our predictions *after* the low ratings are in, and the adults 18-49 viewers that advertisers pay for have *already* stopped watching. Where's the hate for the critics who tell people to not watch in *advance*?

Update: italics added above for the particularly sensitive.

 
  • Jenny

    @ Anthony Parello (AP076) ““There is an evilness to that kind of mindset in my opinion.”

    Its just TV at the end of the day.
    Personally I reserve the word evil for homicidal dictators and to some extent the military industrial complex. ”

    You are exactly right! It is just television, and that is what makes this site entertaining and funsies. tvbythenumbers is just for funsies

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “The internet makes many websites more influential than they deserve to be. TVBTN is a perfect example of that. In the past, word of mouth was what helped slow starting shows build an audience, but now when you do a search on a show you may find TVBTN’s declaration that it is going to be cancelled a few episodes into the season.”

    More influential than they deserve to be? By who’s definition? Yours?

    And is it your contention that instead of people knowing what’s going on with their shows, that ignorance is better?

    “There is just a meanness to this website that seems so pointless. “A Gifted Man” is a perfect example. Every time something positive happened with the show (an up tick in the 18-49 rating, an additional order of episodes, a slot behind Undercover Boss for a stronger lead-in, Bill would immediately sign on to say it doesn’t matter. It’s still going to be cancelled. I remember when they added a poll asking what should take its place when it is cancelled — not when it completed its run, but when its cancelled. This while it was still airing new episodes and CBS had said nothing about its future. Why not just put it in the renew/cancel index and move on. Why write about it over and over and over again every time the show airs. The show had its share of fans and TVBTN just seems to enjoy making people miserable. There is an evilness to that kind of mindset in my opinion.”

    “Meanness” = crazy fan perspective talking. I treated A Gifted Man no differently than any other certain to be canceled show. Would you rather that bad results be ignored, or hushed up?

    As for “Why write about it again and again?”. Simple internet publishing logic + CBS renewal dynamics. I write a Renew/Cancel post every week, it must be headlined, and people search for show names and certain keywords. CBS cancels very few shows, so their likely canceled shows hit the headlines a lot, particularly when one goes low early like AGM.

    ” Why not just put it in the renew/cancel index and move on.”

    Because that’s not how successful internet publishing works.

  • Drago

    KJ: no need for rude language. Let me be specific – after Pan Am’s first 4 episodes or so, I fell behind with a bunch of shows due to a lot of traveling, my DVR was full, so I had to choose which ones to watch and which ones to delete. Reading here that Pan Am was designated as a certain cancellation, i chose to invest my time in something else, so I deleted it from the DVR and caught up with some of the other shows. It’s annoying when you get invested in a show (in my case, Flashforward, Outsourced, Better off Ted, etc.) only to see it canceled at the end of the season.

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)

    It might be interesting to have a TVBTN poll as to whether or not reporting of low ratings here has ever caused the readers here to a) stop watching a show they are currently watching b) not bother watching a new show that is tanking out of the gate or c) never affected my choice to watch a show at all.

    Recognizing that all polls are meaningless but sometimes fun.

    The downside of doing this is obviously adding fuel to the fire of those crazy people who overestimate the reach of the site and the general public’s awareness of the ratings of the shows they watch.

  • bobsburgersrocks

    I can’t say I don’t completely disagree with him…

  • Johnny G

    I don’t think THIS site alone will cause a show’s cancellation, but if people care enough to check a show’s ratings and see it is unlikely to be renewed, they very well may not bother watching.

    Personally, I stopped watching Awake because I knew it had NO chance of renewal (because of this site) and didn’t care to follow a storyline that will never be resolved. However, I watched every episode of Are You There, Chelsea? even though I knew it would get cancelled.

    I think knowing a drama, especially with an ongoing story-line through multiple seasons, is going to be cancelled will affect viewership far more than a comedy.

    Either way, TBTN isn’t the only site reporting ratings and if it does affect viewership, it is only do to reporting facts. Less than a 1.0 is bad for any network (except CW, where it is still bad but acceptable) and people with any understanding of the ratings system can predict cancellation/renewal just by looking at the numbers. This site does not predict renewals based on opinion of a show’s quality so I don’t see how anyone could blame the site owners’ for getting a show cancelled.

    If quality predicted renewals then Community would never have been on the bubble and Two and a Half Men would have been sitting at Definitely Cancelled the whole year.

  • The End

    @Johnny G

    Of course this site alone couldn’t cause a shows cancellation, the mere thought is ridiculus and implys people don’t have free thought.

    If your show sucks, people won’t watch. If you write for the older generation as per Harry’s Law, you’l be cancelled. If you write for both generations you’l stand a chance and do well see Once Upon a Time.

  • Lord Seth

    @ The End

    If you write for both generations you’l stand a chance and do well see Once Upon a Time.

    Or most shows on CBS.

  • Theoacme

    @The Real Original Ray: TVBTN doesn’t care which shows succeed.

    Actually, Ray, TVBTN does care – if a show generates lots of buzz, due to it being on the bubble AND having a dedicated cadre of fanatical fans (see: Chuck, Fringe, Nikita), Bill and Robert want the show to stay firmly on the bubble, or very close to it, so that the page views go up, up, and away, like a beautiful balloon…

  • steve

    @ Bill Gorman:

    Maybe you should go work for NBC.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    Actually, Ray, TVBTN does care – if a show generates lots of buzz, due to it being on the bubble AND having a dedicated cadre of fanatical fans (see: Chuck, Fringe, Nikita), Bill and Robert want the show to stay firmly on the bubble, or very close to it, so that the page views go up, up, and away, like a beautiful balloon…”

    We care, but we care the way you care about having nice weather the day of a picnic in the summer. The law of averages says you’ll have a sunny day, just like the law of averages says there will be a couple bubble shows with lots of crazy fans.

    Some times the sun shines, some times the crazy fan shows are in danger.

    Either way, there’s nothing we can do about it. ;)

  • Joe

    I found this site back when T:TSCC was in it’s 2nd season. I was really getting into this show and was wondering how it was doing ratings wise. Ever since then and from checking this site daily, I find myself cautious to try a new show until it is at least in it’s 3rd season. Off the top of my head, I have watched shows like V, Dollhouse and the aforementioned T:TSCC fizz out early. I can think of shows that I avoided but I wanted to watch them (Alcatraz, Terra Nova, The Cape, Napoleon Dynamite). Since 2007, besides The Big Bang Theory, Glee, Private Practice and Mike & Molly, how many other new shows have survived the bear and made it to Season 3 and beyond recently?

  • Jenny

    So I understand Bill Gorman , Robert Seidman , tvbythenumbers can make a television show become canceled, just by predicting it will be canceled (by using an analysis of the ratings). And some people say that is an awful and mean thing to do.

    Using this logic, Bill Gorman , Robert Seidman , tvbythenumbers can make a television show become renewed, just by predicting it will be renewed (by using an analysis of the ratings). And this is a wonderful and nice thing to do.

    As the great majority of television shows are predicted to be renewed and are renewed. Doesn’t that prove Bill Gorman , Robert Seidman , tvbythenumbers are using their Super Powers for good and not evil?

  • dolly

    I am so upset that they are cancelling “Harry’s Law” NBC did a terrible thing by moving it to Sunday night when people are just coming in from out doors, church, getting kids to bed etc. When it was on Wednesday night with Prime Suspect, and SVU, that night of television ROCKED. NBC has really disappointed my husband and I, we used to watch Thursday line up until this year when they started talking about genitalia at 8:00 and 8:30. I’ve heard that Sex sells…. well, not everyone feels that way and all of the shows, except Parenthood are polluted with inappropriate material. After all, the producers, actors and staff that allow this crap will have to stand before their maker and explain why they participated in Babylonian behavior.

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)

    Alas Babylon :-)

  • Riff Rafferty

    This site causes bubble shows to be cancelled when media buyers (who, let the record show, are among the dumbest people you will ever meet) come here and see “Certain to Be Cancelled” — and then don’t want anything to do with it.

    FACT.

    Of course what do you expect from a site that marks shows as not just “Certain to Be Cancelled” but flat-out “Cancelled” months before the network even makes that decision themselves.

  • Jenny

    @ Riff Rafferty
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 9:34 AM
    This site causes bubble shows to be cancelled when media buyers (who, let the record show, are among the dumbest people you will ever meet) come here and see “Certain to Be Cancelled” — and then don’t want anything to do with it.

    FACT.

    Of course what do you expect from a site that marks shows as not just “Certain to Be Cancelled” but flat-out “Cancelled” months before the network even makes that decision themselves.

    WOW, @ Bill Gorman @ Robert Seidman tvbythenumbers and the Cancellation Bear
    Congratulations. You are gaining even more power, now you control the Media Buyers and Advertisers, where will you stop? Will you control the universe?
    You are Jedi Knights. No one can stop you; their only hope is to slow you up.
    No show can stand against you, “You can’t win, (poorly rated Television shows). Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Just the same as Obi wan Kenobi to Darth Vader.

    more proof of tvbythenumbers super powers:

    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/05/14/tv-by-the-numbers-is-more-powerful-than-you-can-possibly-imagine/134047/

  • Chris

    Lots of crazy comments here… and I definitely don’t agree that TVBTN advertising that a show is “Likely to be cancelled” causes people to stop watching shows they like (IE: Fringe, Chuck, etc), even if their odds for renewal are against them.

    However… I will say that when I am bored and my Hulu queue might be empty, I will often do a preliminary “ratings check” on a new show before I start watching it. If it’s clearly going into the ground (IE: The Cape), I’m not going to waste my time trying to get into it.

  • Jon

    As a fan of perpetually on-the-bubble/toss-up-for-renewal programs (Chuck, Fringe, Community, and to a lesser extent Rules of Engagement) and programs which never take off (Caprica, Alcatraz, Men of a Certain Age, Firefly, Jericho, Sports Night, Dead Like Me, Journeyman and to jump in the way-back machine, Nowhere Man with Bruce Greenwood), I am TVBTN target audience to a T. The site has never caused me to stop watching a show I like because I feared its cancellation, but //has// prepared me for said cancellation if it did happen.

    That said, there are some shows I thought looked interesting but waited until there was at least a week or two of ratings data before deciding it wasn’t worth it given the likelihood of cancellation (Awake, The Event, etc.). TVBTN, it could be said, affected my decision whether or not to watch the program… but any amount of word-of-mouth would have overridden that in a hurry. Downton Abbey is a great example of how word-of-mouth can drive a show.

  • Ray Wyatt

    NBC,the bottom of the pile station,and you are cancelling Harry’s Law,you have a set of balls. Now there is nothing to watch on your channel. Good bye,Hello CBS,Ray Wyatt,

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