The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, October 18, 2004  

Trends in TV Viewing

I've long advised against watching the so-called reality TV. Stop watching it and they'll stop producing it, I say.

It's working.

Philadelphia Inquirer TV critic, Jonathan Storm, today offers hope ("TV's Dramatic Turn"):

Riddled with reality, the entire Fox network is in serious ratings trouble. Its "Next Great Champ" lost in the prelims and got dumped to cable, and "The Complex: Malibu" can't even beat UPN. ABC's "Benefactor" is bankrupt, and will be canceled Oct. 25 after only six episodes. Ratings were so abominable for NBC's "Last Comic Standing" that the show was heckled off before the winner was revealed.

More dire (or joyful, if you're a TV writer or drama lover) is the erosion in established reality hits:

ABC's "Bachelor" is down 4.3 million viewers (35 percent) from its average last season, UPN's "America's Next Top Model" is off nearly 2 million (31 percent), and NBC's "Apprentice" has dropped 5.2 million (25 percent).

Even the granddaddy of them all, CBS's "Survivor," is down 1.2 million viewers (6 percent), despite the absence of competition from the dear, departed "Friends."

I take exception to the characterization of "Friends" as "dear," and none of this is to say you shouldn't be watching "Manhunt," because I do and you should.

Storm also writes: "NBC's 'Law & Order' franchise is fading badly this season."

No kidding. But there's an easy solution: Dump Elisabeth Röhm.

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