November 4, 2004


TV WAY OUT OF TOUCH?: MOST HITS DON'T PLAY WELL IN 'RED' STATES (Ellen Gray, 11/04/04, Philadelphia Inquirer)

IF YOU'RE A TV critic, it's hard not to look at Tuesday's election results and realize that you're covering a medium that's probably still out of touch with large segments of the country.

Red-staters, security moms, conservative Christians - whatever label you pin on the people who helped give President Bush four more years, they're not the people you're likely to see showing up as sympathetic characters on "Will & Grace," "The O.C." or "Saturday Night Live."

Some of that shouldn't be surprising: Commercial television, certainly, is largely pitched toward the people Madison Avenue, not George Bush or John Kerry, is seeking to reach.

Advertisers aren't so much interested in our hearts and minds as they are in our pocketbooks. They may prefer to think of themselves as uniters, but in the cold, hard numbers of demographics they're dividers, separating young from old, rich from poor, male from female. Say what you like about those of us from blue states, but a lot of us still have money to spend.

And yet things are changing. While broadcast TV continues to chafe at the FCC restrictions many believe keep it from competing creatively with cable, CBS, for instance, has been winning audiences back with twists on the traditional cops-and-robber franchise like "CSI" and "Cold Case" that red-staters probably prefer to, say, NBC's "Joey."

This is the moment of maximum scariness for the Left, because when the media starts chasing the bucks of the many instead of the few the culture war is over and they've lost. A good start for a network, as was mentioned yesterday, would be to replace one of the retiring anchormen with a conservative and pitch their newscast to the Right.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 4, 2004 3:19 PM

If they want to keep their news divisions, it'll come down to dollars and cents.

Always has, always will.

Posted by: Mikey at November 4, 2004 3:31 PM

Top 20 shows for the most recent week

As of right now, that's the last week of October. The top twenty:

Cop shows (7)
Professional Sports (5)
Situation comedies (3)
Dramas (2)
Reality Shows (2)
News (1)

Looks pretty red already, to me.

Posted by: mike earl at November 4, 2004 3:44 PM

The economic success of Fox may be misunderestimated by the MSM but the people who invest in broadcasting are well aware of it.

Also, who watches network TV other than sports programs and The Simpsons? Even the Sunday chat shows are tedious.

Posted by: Bart at November 4, 2004 3:45 PM

Damn straight. Broadcast networks? Oh yes, the ancients used to speak of those and something called Betamax.

Posted by: Governor Breck at November 4, 2004 4:51 PM

2004 was the year of The Passion and Fahrenheit 9/11. At both the box office and the polling booth, The Passion wins hands down. In America, at least.

Posted by: brian at November 4, 2004 8:49 PM

"While broadcast TV continues to chafe at the FCC restrictions many believe keep it from competing creatively with cable"

If they were really "creative", they'd have figured out ways to present their ideas that didn't depend on four letter vulgarities, acres of skin and simulated sex acts.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 4, 2004 10:22 PM