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.

 
  • Robert Roy

    For me, this is vaguely true. I’m very against getting invested in a show if I know it’s likely to be cancelled.

  • Question

    Doesn’t he have a point if you say a show is “likely to be cancelled” even before it has a second episode? Why watch anything if it’s going to be cancelled.

  • BRT

    No, he doesn’t have a point.

    How many people do you think come to this website?

    Of those, how many do you think are being tracked by Neilson?

    The answer is “almost none”.

  • Drago

    This is totally true. In this season alone, I stopped watching at least 6-7 shows after this web site reported that they ratings were low and were likely to get canceled. Here is the list: Panam, Awake, Bent, I hate my teenage daughter, Are you there Chelsea, The River. I only watched Rob till the end.

  • Matt

    Your site (as professional as it is) comes off as snarky, rude, and opinionated!

  • The End

    I guess I can say this now. Harry’s Law was always doomed to fail anyway, he created a show that simply does not appeal to younger viewers. Had Harry’s Law appealed to younger viewers and recieved something like 8 million, 2.5 18-49 every episode this would be one of the highest rated NBC shows this year and a smash hit.

    His show was flawed by its very design and nothing else.

    If TVBythenumbers didn’t exist, Harry’s Law would still be cancelled either way.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Your site (as professional as it is) comes off as snarky, rude, and opinionated!”

    Working as intended. :)

  • Jenny

    @ Bill Gorman @ Robert Seidman and @ tvbythenumbers.com
    Give it up, you have been busted. Now everyone knows of your Super Powers over television. NBC ABC Fox CW and all television networks (broadcast and cable) bow before you. It is known you can put any show you like on television, and control the renewal or cancelation of any show. We now know who is ruling the television industry, IT IS YOU!

    We have all be subjects to your whims and desires for years. Finally someone had the courage to speak up (Academy Award winner Kathy Bates, the star of NBC’s Harry’s Law, and Executive Producer of Harry’s Law – “most viewed scripted drama on NBC”, Bill D’Elia ) and let the world know of your superpowers.

    I guess we all should have seen this a long time ago. The references to Star Wars and Jedi Mind Tricks . . . . . on tvbythenumbers was just you revealing yourselves. You are Jedi Knights

    There was so much evidence of you being Jedi Knights.

    Just before the networks announced their renewals and cancelations there was a Super Moon. As in Star Wars: “That’s no moon. It’s a space station.”

    When I tried to watch Smash, a show that NBC spent the most amount ever spent on promotions (tens of millions) and on top of that one of the most expensive production costs in history. Smash should been a big hit for NBC, but instead it was a failure with 1.8 18 – 49 ratings. Why? Every time I tried to watch it I heard a voice saying: “Use the Force, Luke.” Use the remote, change the channel. And “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for … go about your business … Move along.”
    My name is not Luke and I wasn’t looking for droids, but a force made me change channels.

    And Kathy Bates and Bill D’Elia both claim to have heard voices saying “You can’t win, Darth. Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Just the same as Obi wan Kenobi to Darth Vader. Unfortunately for them, they should have listened to the voices because they have made tvbythenumbers and the cancelation bear more powerful.

    Tvbythenumbers has the force “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”
    “May the Force be with you.”. tvbythenumbers I hope you use your superpowers for good and not evil.
    : ) : ) : ) : ) : )

  • gerry

    I would have to say that the producer in question here is kind of a nut. I’ve watched Harry’s Law the entire time, though it’s always kind of been on my ‘bubble’ – I have too many shows in my dvr to handle, but i’ve stuck it out with Harry because I liked the show enough. I did the same w/ Ringer (which was my saddest cancellation of the season- RIP RINGER) though it was never on my bubble. Also on the bubble was Alcatraz, which I dropped and in part that was because of my following its progress on this site. However, if I’d been compelled enough to watch the show, I would have stuck by it. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that the only time this site has any real sway in what I watch is when I’m already on the fence and I simply use the ratings as my final answer. Still not the fault of the site, but the show’s ratings overall. This producer’s looking for someone to blame is just kind of absurd.

  • Jenny

    corrections to last post

    @ Bill Gorman @ Robert Seidman and @ tvbythenumbers.com
    Give it up, you have been busted. Now everyone knows of your Super Powers over television. NBC ABC Fox CW and all television networks (broadcast and cable) bow before you. It is known you can put any show you like on television, and control the renewal or cancelation of any show. We now know who is ruling the television industry, IT IS YOU!

    We have all be subjects to your whims and desires for years. Finally someone had the courage to speak up (Academy Award winner Kathy Bates, the star of NBC’s Harry’s Law, and Executive Producer of Harry’s Law – “most viewed scripted drama on NBC”, Bill D’Elia ) and let the world know of your superpowers.

    I guess we all should have seen this a long time ago. The references to Star Wars and Jedi Mind Tricks . . . . . on tvbythenumbers was just you revealing yourselves. You are Jedi Knights

    There was so much evidence of you being Jedi Knights.

    Just before the networks announced their renewals and cancelations there was a Super Moon. As in Star Wars: “That’s no moon. It’s a space station.”

    When I tried to watch Smash, a show that NBC spent the most amount ever spent on promotions (tens of millions) and on top of that one of the most expensive production costs in history. Smash should been a big hit for NBC, but instead it was a failure with 1.8 18 – 49 ratings. Why? Every time I tried to watch it I heard a voice saying: “Use the Force, Luke.” Use the remote, change the channel. And “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for … go about your business … Move along.”
    My name is not Luke and I wasn’t looking for droids, but a force made me change channels.

    I predict Kathy Bates and Bill D’Elia will next claim to have heard voices saying “You can’t win, Darth. Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Just the same as Obi wan Kenobi to Darth Vader. Unfortunately for them, they should have listened to the voices because they have made tvbythenumbers and the cancelation bear more powerful.

    Tvbythenumbers has the force “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”
    “May the Force be with you.”. tvbythenumbers I hope you use your superpowers for good and not evil.
    : ) : ) : ) : ) : )

  • The Real Original Ray

    I’m fascinated by the power that people seem to be handing over to this website for simply stating the obvious. They translate a number into a phrase such that 1.) people stop watching the show, which I understand given the “investment” theory and 2.) PLACE THE RESPONSIBILITY ON THE WEBSITE.

    Do you think that this network guy, or any other, looks at a really low number and says anything other than something that means “Certain Cancellation”? And if they don’t, they’re not doing their job because they’ve moved into absurdly wishful thinking.

    When you see a low number don’t you draw the same conclusion?

    And yet when TVBTN does they now have control over your decision-making and the fate of programming (and this doesn’t even get into the argument of how small a sliver of a fraction of a percentage of Nielsen families who are influenced by this website).

    This is so completely crazy. I’m in disbelief.

  • The Real Original Ray

    Maybe it’s a combination of cognitive dissonance and the consequences of “investment.”

    TVBTN doesn’t care which shows succeed. It has no reason to adjust the reality of the numbers. The network has a huge investment and could be forgiven a certain amount of denial (and externalizing blame), although they’re highly-paid professionals who presumably have reached their positions in part because they’re able to deal with reality and cut their losses in spite of their wishes. They’ll vent about it afterwards, sure, blame anyone they can.

    We’re viewers. We don’t get paid. We have no control over the fate of our beloved programs and characters. We just like the show and are disappointed when it looks like it’s going to fail. We don’t want to accept this, and we certainly don’t want to accept that we might like a show that sucks, because what does that say about us, so we look outside for blame. Who are these idiot advertisers with their 18-49 bias? Other viewers are stupid and don’t appreciate quality. And then, even though this is a real stretch, a.) TVBTN says this show is going down, therefore b.) it is going down so c.) I’m going to stop watching it before I get too invested and d.) TVBTN made this all happen.

    Nope. Still completely crazy.

  • KJ Styles

    What that idiot Bill D’Elia fails to realize is that even if TVBTN didn’t exist, Harry’s Law STILL would have been cancelled. LMAO!!

  • The End

    Erm? Above..

    Anyway

    TVbythenumbers 1 Bill D’Elia 0

    Keeping score.

  • KJ Styles

    Another point to be made here is this….

    If you like a show, why do you care what TVBTN thinks about it’s renewal/cancellation prospects. JUST KEEP WATCHING IT REGARDLESS!!!

    Body Of Proof was renewed despite everyone’s expectations that it would be cancelled. As were Fringe and Nikita. Fans of those shows didn’t quit watching despite Bill and Robert’s predictions. Anyone who quits watching a show because the ratings are bad can’t be considered a true fan of the show. That’s what I did with the original Law & Order when this site (and several others) predicted it would be cancelled in it’s 20th season. They were right, but I didn’t care because I wanted to see how it ended.

    Bottom line, if you like a show, support it through thick and thin. I know I’ve made fun of some people for thinking a show would get axe (I was right more times than not, but still) I at least respect the fact that they’re loyal to their shows regardless, even if it’s a show like Fringe in which I can’t stand. THOSE are true fans!

  • KJ Styles

    Anybody that stops watching a show that they like just because TVByTheNumbers says it’s going to be cancelled is an idiot that doesn’t have a mind of their own. If anything, people like that are INCREASING the likelyhood of cancellation by quitting on shows.

  • ruwal

    quote:

    “Why do people believe that this website is so much more powerful
    than all the other TV websites combined? “

    “Also, no offense to the people who run this site, but I doubt this
    site gets so much traffic that it could influence ratings in
    any significant way on any network other than perhaps the CW, where
    one or two Nielsen families is the difference between renewal and
    cancellation.”

    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. Nielsen families have internet access too and they also have family and friends who tell them about shows and may tell them, “oh, I heard that show was being cancelled”. Then, other websites also start quoting TVBTN, e.g. “TVBTN says it’s certain to be cancelled.” People are not likely to get invested in a show that is going to be cancelled. That’s why networks sometime give early renewal announcements to marginal shows. It’s to let people know the show will be around.

    I feel sorry for all the people who put hard work into a show (e.g. writers, directors, technicians) and who have to deal with season-long negatively cranked out by TVBTN and spread all over the internet.

    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.

    And to answer the inevitable question why do I come here if I hate the site so much, it’s because I have not found another site with as complete and detailed information on actual/final ratings (broadcast and cable). But please, if you know of one which is satisfied to just, you know, report the numbers, point me to it.

  • The Real Original Ray

    @ruwal

    The website appears in a lot of Wikipedia links, which I think would support your argument that its reach or influence is wider than some, including me, believe.

    It would be interesting to poll Nielsen families and ask them a series of questions about this subject.

    Did you become more interested in a show’s prospects after being part of the Nielsen sample?

    Are you less likely to watch a new show with low ratings?

    Are you influenced by third-party assessments of a show’s prospects?

    Are you particularly influenced by internet sources?

    Do you believe that the words “Likely Cancellation” on a third-party website have more meaning than a very low rating number?

    I don’t see the meanness here, by the way. In the comments, sure, and there is a kind of cheerful snarky attitude with the bear and all. People have different tolerance or sensitivity to these things so I’m not saying you’re wrong. I do think, though, that network TV is one of the big leagues in the entertainment world and if you are taking your swings there you should expect a lot of evaluation and assessment, some of which will not be positive. There is piling-on and that sucks and can be cheap, but as a creative person I’m going to be a lot more hurt by a critic who says my art sucks than by a website that confirms nobody cares about it and therefore it is going to disappear. Even if you believe the site is about the glass being half-empty it is still primarily a messenger of bad news, at most an interpreter. The viewers, or lack of them, create the bad news.

  • 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.

    Again do you really think the vast majority of TV viewers/Nielsen households make their TV watching decisions on whether a show is going to be cancelled or not. Aren’t there as many opinions out there that these shows will be renewed especially by rabid fans, not to mention the powerful PR machines of the networks cheering on even the lowest rated shows on their network?

  • 2134

    To think that TVByTheNumbers influences a large section of audience not to watch the show thereby getting it cancelled is overestimating the reach of the website. I major portion of television viewing audience don’t keep up with ratings that much. There is a part of the audience who keeps up with it, but everything that is shown on the website according to me is statistics, and statistics based speculation. It’s not like these guys are putting their personal opinion in it and say “Hey, I don’t like this show, so let’s falsify some information and give it low predictions intentionally so that people will look at our website and think the show is going to get cancelled and they are going to stop watching and tell their friends to stop watching and as a result, it really does get cancelled.” That’s just too diabolical for me to think you guys are doing it, and also, I don’t think your website really does have that kind of power! Sore losers are finding someone to blame and it just happens to be you.

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