returns after last week's pre-emption just as a real-life natural disaster, Hurricane Sandy, is scheduled to hit much of the East Coast, including America's largest media market, New York City. The odds are high that the power will go out, temporarily giving people in affected areas a chance to experience the unfortunate living conditions of the characters on the show (well, except that batteries, cellphones, and combustion engines will still be working just fine). We hope that all of our readers who live on the East Coast will be safe and be able to watch television throughout the storm.
The question is, how will all of this impact the ratings? If the power stays on, almost everyone will be watching TV both because it will be unsafe to venture outside and because television news will be the best source of information about the storm. Local stations may interrupt regular programming for updates about the weather. If the entire East Coast goes dark, Nielsen will have to make the same sort of ratings adjustments it does for local pre-emptions on a giant scale. Make your predictions in this special Hurricane Sandy edition of our weeklypoll.