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!

*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.

  • Dario

    Harry’s Law was a low rated show. Thats it.

    But I agree that TVBN influences people to stop watching some shows. For example although I love Community, Parks, 30 rock…after seeing the ratings I stoped watching..

  • ThundaPC

    (waves hand) You don’t need to see Harry’s Law. (waves hand) These aren’t the shows you’re looking for.

  • Sammo

    These aren’t the shows you’re looking for.

  • Fake Me Out

    @Chris L

    If this is the case, then where was Bill D’Elia’s praise of TVBTN last year when the site predicted Harry’s Law would get a second season?

    His “praise” was the payola payments … he didn’t pay up this year … ’nuff said


    Help save Endgame and watch season 1 on Hulu, also watch Craig Ferguson in Scotland this week

  • Tommy M.

    “But I agree that TVBN influences people to stop watching some shows. For example although I love Community, Parks, 30 rock…after seeing the ratings I stoped watching..”

    TVBTN would have to be one of the most visited websites on the web for that to have any real affect on TV ratings. And just because you do something doesn’t mean that everyone does the same thing.

  • Ali Al Ansari

    but he does have a point… :P i stopped watching Missing and Awake because this website says that it had no chance of renewal..

  • Jeff (Canada)

    It just depends on the person. Two people can look at a show’s declining ratings, and have opposite reactions.

    “I’m going to quit watching because it won’t get renewed or have a good ending.”

    “I’m going to keep watching because I like the show and I want to see how they end it.”

  • Bill Gorman

    Also, interesting to point out that the earlier tweets from D’Elia are all about how unknown and clueless we are.

    “WTF is TV by the numbers? Who cares what they think? #harryslaw is most viewed scripted drama on NBC and will return.”

    “First, tv by the numbers doesn’t know anything. They are misinformed at best, ignorant at worst. Second, Kathy is right.”

    So we went from unknown and clueless to SUPER POWERFUL!

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)


    I am the guilty party. I can see how my tweet can be considered part of the problem. In this case I was guilty of poking Bill D to see what his opinion was on the TVBTN prediction. I only ever watched 2 episodes of Harry’s Law and it wasn’t to my taste.

    I believe I agree with you when I say I watch a show to enjoy a show while it is on no matter the ratings. That having been said I no longer get my nose bent out of shape when shows I watch get cancelled, in no small part because this site explains why these business decisions for renewal and cancellation are often made.

  • One

    If TVBTN isn’t too busy, can you ensure that when Last Resort and/or Zero Hour premiere, that they have long runs worthy of their awesome concepts?… ;)

  • Michigan_Jeff

    D’Elia’s complaint is the equivalent of someone getting mad at the National Weather Service because they got wet in the rain!

  • One @ Bill Gorman

    You only went from clueless to all-powerful because you were right! ;)

  • Dan S

    I’m never influenced to stop watching a show as long as it doesn’t end with a cliffhanger like V & Alcatraz did. I’m watching & enjoying the last episodes of Awake & of course Harry’s Law. Would people have stopped watching CSI Miami if they knew it would end in a bar ? All season I thought CSI NY, Fringe & Nikita were through & they’re all coming back

  • John A

    Maybe blame the show itself. It was good last season but it was horrible this season and i gave it up.

  • Alex

    despite everyone saying that Pan Am and Awake were certain to be canceled, I still watched.

  • SmG

    I think last cancellation bear vs. HL post (with the smiling bear :) ) made the producer even more furious :)

  • DW

    people keep saying on the cable side that the killing will be cancelled and i continue to watch. even one bashes missing and now that its cancelled ,i will watch the last ep.

  • Robert Seidman

    @Harris: I don’t hate on procedurals! Fun fact: it is possible to enjoy Justified, Mad Men, Game of Thrones and Sherlock — and I do — without hating Bones and NCIS.

  • Sara

    Oh my God… blaiming a internet site because your show sucks and has no viewers.. really?

  • Fake Me Out


    If reporting facts influences people then yes, this site influences people. If doing some educated guess work based on those facts influences people then yes, this site influences people. The question then becomes, how many people AND are they the right people? As powerful as they some people think they are (asking visitors to kneel and kiss your rings doesn’t help fellas) I really don’t think they’re any more or less influential than other sites that report the ratings.

    The only show this year TVbtN “influenced” me on was Playboy Club. I was going to save up a few episodes and try it out but saw the numbers weren’t too good … so I waited a bit more and didn’t have to wait that long before I knew I could toss the episodes in the round file. I’m not going to waste my time on a show that doesn’t even get part way through it’s first season order … but that’s me, my feelings and my choice, YMMV. But it wasn’t this site that made me do that, it was the numbers they were reporting … you know, the numbers TV execs use to make decisions … the numbers that are the real source of the “self fulfilling prophesies”.


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