While March is typically known as a time of repeats for the major networks, the influence of year-end cable programming is finally catching on with the five bigwigs (i.e., ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and The CW). Over the last few years viewers have assuredly noticed the proliferation of programming on the major networks throughout the TV season not just in September when all the new and returning shows (for the most part) make their big debuts. And, mid-season is no longer seen as the wasteland for failed shows that the networks are simply burning off to fill up empty space while the existing programs get caught up by filming more new episodes. TV viewers have a multitude of options at the major, as well as the cable, networks making the viewing landscape all that more palatable.
But, as any viewer – avid or not – knows all too well not all TV shows are made alike. I’m not talking about how well they are written, whether they are dramas or comedies, how well they are cast, the production value or whether they are procedural, sci-fi or a mixture of the various genres. I’m talking about whether the show catches on with the viewing audience or not. Sure there are all kinds of variables at play to determine whether a show is going to succeed or fail: timeslot, quality, captivating stories and characters, advertiser support (or the lack thereof), viewer support and that all-important – at least to the networks – 18 to 49 year old viewership number.
Regardless of where you stand on the – what can only be seen as failing – Nielson’s ratings system and the failure of the networks to think outside the box where viewership numbers are really concerned – what people over 50 don’t watch TV, buy what is advertised during their favorite shows and control the money in their households? – the truth still remains that not all shows are created equal. Fan favorites maintain their avid and rabid followings but never seem to crack above 4 or 5 million viewers; franchise shows that have been on forever – or for, at least, what seems like that long a period of time – continue to garner robust ratings and all the other shows – regardless of their genre, et al – seem to languish somewhere in the middle, catching what fans they can by hook or by crook (as the old saying goes).
But, what is a success to one network is easily a failure to another network. What shows SHOULD work simply don’t get the viewers because of poor advertising, too little “buzz” on the internet and on social medias or just a lack of interest by viewers who are simply burned out. So, where does that leave those of us – like we here at NiceGirlsTV – who LOVE to watch TV, get invested in shows that are “right up our alley” and want to see those shows succeed? Cross our fingers and hope to the skies that the show will work out? Join a campaign to save a new or slowly declining existing show that may or may not be in peril? Just give up before the show even gets on the air because there is simply no way anyone is going to watch it, so why get invested in the first place? Try to make a difference by telling everyone you know – your family, friends, co-workers, social media buddies, etc. – to watch “said show” to make sure it will succeed? Every person has to make their own decision on how they want to support a show or if they even want to support a show or simply just watch it until it is pulled from the schedule, put on hiatus or simply disappears from the TV landscape.
I, for one, want to support my favorite shows by watching as many of them LIVE as possible or via my DVR when there are just too many of them to watch at the same time (thank GOD for the DVR in those ever-growing instances, right?!). But, I also realize that not everyone has that luxury because of family responsibilities, a demanding career, health issues or even the dreaded cable providers who just fail at providing quality channels to their subscribers. And then there are the rare few who actually cannot get quality TV providers because of geographical issues – believe me they exist, as I have several friends across the United States who have to watch all of their favorite shows online because where they live they simply cannot get reception for their TVs. It is pure madness to me, but it does exist.
So, I ask you this, how are your favorite shows performing so far this year? Do you have a favorite show that you think is in trouble? Do you have a show that you really love and want to see it return next season? What, if anything, are you going to do (or maybe you already are doing) to support the show? A lot of time viewers just take it for granted that their favorite show is going to survive and all they have to do is watch (when they remember it is on, that is); but is that all there is to help your favorite show? Nope, it’s not; but therein lays the rub.
It’s up to each of us to support our favorite shows in whatever way we see fit: talk about it online with everyone you know, talk about it at work with your co-workers, join a campaign to support the show or email (or actually write a letter if you even remember how to do that anymore in this very digital age) the networks and creative minds behind your favorite show letting them know how much it means to you. Think outside the box, too, at least you’d be doing more than the networks seem to do most of the time. But most of all: WATCH your favorite shows and then talk about it everywhere you can. Sometimes one viewer can make a difference, and this time that viewer just might be you.