I got a few e-mails and saw a few comments that didn’t think my headline for Wednesday night’s overnight report was fair. One was rather heated:

You’re a miserable [expletive deleted]. Must you inflict your misery everywhere? You hate every television show, but why the [expletive deleted] can’t you ever say anything nice? You want every show to be cancelled. Life’s numbers were up 30% from its last new episode and you act like it’s lights out! I know you get more traffic by writing it that way, but it’s [expletive deleted] wrong.

There isn’t any more traffic in writing it that way. The more traffic route would’ve been “More than 26 million watch Bikini Girl get booted off American Idol“. Especially if it included a big picture of Bikini Girl in a bikini. It wasn’t about the traffic.

If you’re a writer, producer, director, actor, work on the crew, pass out the scripts, etc., or are just a fan, I really enjoy the show. But, that the number of viewers was up 30% over the last new episode wasn’t very meaningful to me from a numbers standpoint for a couple of reasons. That Wednesday (December 18), Life had an awful outing. This past Wednesday night, it was merely bad.

Despite the fact that, yes, viewers did increase by more than 1.5 million viewers, the 18-49 rating only increased from a 1.7 to a 1.8. Almost a six percent increase, but almost a 6% increase over an awful outing. That’s not any glimmer of hope to shine a spotlight on really. Some sites will do it, but this isn’t that site. And it’s not meant to be mean, it’s not meant to be dispiriting. It’s not meant be hateful either, it’s just the numbers. And unfortunately for NBC, the shows’ producers, actors, directors, script-passer-outers and the rest of the crew, and all of the fans, including me, the numbers aren’t good.

I don’t hate television shows. There are many shows I’m not really that interested in, but I don’t hate them. I’m not a fan of American Idol. But I certainly don’t hate it. I just don’t watch it. As for Life, I happen to like the show very much, and have watched every episode including the episode on Wednesday night. I don’t want it to be cancelled.

In terms of attempting to generate more traffic, at least in the short-run, always giving hope would be the way to go. That sort of thing just appeals to more people, and it’s understandable. But neither Bill or I believe in stirring false hope. We’d rather be accurate with predicting outcomes than attempt to make everyone happy.

Television can be an ugly business, and sometimes the news isn’t good, not for the networks, the people working on the shows or the fans. When the bad news can be easily predicted (and quite often, it can), I don’t see the point in trying to spin things otherwise. Another thing that’s fairly easy to predict is what happens next in terms of comments from fans, and rumors around the Internet, which if reflected as blog post headlines would include some variation of the following:

  • Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease NBC don’t cancel Life…
  • Antiquated Nielsen system dooms Life
  • Could NBC move Life to USA Network?
  • Will DirecTV save Life?
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Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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