The Silver Lining… Nielsen Ratings

(SIDENOTE: This category of post used to be In Defense Of, but I’ve seen tons somes of In Defense Of’s all over the TripleDoubleU, so I’ve decided to change my angle on the same subject.  Voilà The Silver Lining!)

The People Meter, a.k.a. The Grating Ratings Box

When I was a kid, it was my dream to be a Nielsen Family.  In my mind, the concept was simple: we must watch TV.  (Or if NBC still had their druthers, we Must See TV.)

In reality, though, it’s not that simple (here’s the simpler explanation).  Nielsen is a monopoly (TiVo is a distant second in terms of tracking viewership).  And mostly families considered “less-well-off” (TRANSLATION: anyone that can’t afford to time shift the shows they watch or skip commercials) are the sample public.  What this means to TV fans is if you can skip past the commercials, that show will get cancelled.

So shows like Firefly and Arrested Development, and more recently, possibly NBC’s Community, suffer because their fans don’t watch commercials (“commercial-watcher” could become a fairly cruel epithet… at least as cruel as “mouth-breather”).

So where’s The Silver Lining?

In a nutshell, the Nielsen Ratings are a good indicator if the show I’m watching is actually good or not.  It didn’t used to be that way when we only had three channels to watch, but in these days of cable and the TripleDoubleU, the converse is true.

Don’t believe me?

American Idol gets high-ratings every year, and for most seasons, I’ve watched it.  I know it’s brain garbage, but the Nielsen Ratings prove that it is gray fecal matter.  Need another example?  American Horror Story’s season finale drew the highest numbers for FX ever, and that show sucked.

That’s really what this post is about… how much American Horror Story sucked.  And LOST, too.  Remember when that had high ratings?

So in closing, I must stick to my guns and not waste my time on any “popular” shows.  If a program makes it to a second season and the ratings were decent, that series just might be my cup of T… V.

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