Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest story, "Fall TV Report Card: The Winners and Losers," in which I offer up not a critic's list, or a Best of 2011 TV list, but a business story selecting the winners and losers (as well as draws) for the first half of the 2011-12 television season. (Those selections are in the gallery.)
With the 2011-12 television season well underway, it’s become increasingly clear that this isn’t the best fall the broadcasters have ever had. Back in May, when the networks touted their new offerings to advertisers, it appeared they were trying to take some risks with their programming.
But the opposite is true: most of those shows featured what the networks hoped were built-in audiences for retro brand settings (Pan Am! The Playboy Club!) or remakes of vintage television (Charlie’s Angels, it’s back to pop-culture heaven for you), but viewers largely stayed away from these and many of the new fall shows.
Those claiming that viewers’ attention is elsewhere, such as on the Internet, likely don’t have a response for the oversize audience for things like AMC’s The Walking Dead, now the highest-rated cable show on the air, or the first post–Charlie Sheen episode of CBS’s Two and a Half Men. (The latter could be due to sampling, but the show has remained consistently in the range of 14 million to 16 million viewers since then.) It seems as though people are watching television, but they’re increasingly just not that excited about what’s airing on the broadcasters. (Just look at the declining fortunes of once-invulnerable reality franchise The Biggest Loser.) Which is downright worrisome, as the networks have to replace aging series and churn out new and zeitgeist-grabbing programming on a yearly basis. And sorry, Fox, but that wasn’t The X Factor, despite the nonstop hype.
Continue reading at The Daily Beast...