Sunday, March 27, 2016

Outrunning the bear

When the two original guys were still running TV by the Numbers, they talked a lot about the cancellation bear.

The idea is simple. When a hungry bear is chasing you and another guy, you don't have to outrun the bear. You just have to outrun the other guy. In the TV world this means that there is no absolute standard for ratings success. In order to survive, your show just has to do better numbers than the other shows on your network.

Which brings me to TBS's new game show Separation Anxiety. I gave the show an okay review, though I thought the pace dawdled. But co-hosts Iliza Shlesinger and Adam Ray did a nice job of comic vamping during the lulls. Except who cares about my opinion? What literally counts is the news from the Nielsen Company.

Well, the news is ambivalent. If Separation Anxiety were getting its current numbers on GSN, the show would be outrunning the other guys on the network by a mile. The most recent episode last Tuesday got 969K viewers and a 0.4 18-49 rating. Those numbers would make Separation Anxiety the hit to end all hits on our little game show network. GSN execs would be happy happy joy joy as they rushed the second season into production.

Sadly, the show is on TBS. And it is definitely not outrunning the other shows on that network. Every Tuesday night, reruns of Big Bang Theory are getting more than double the game show's numbers. So will the cancellation bear devour Separation Anxiety?

I'm anxious.


  1. It's doing comparable numbers to many of TBS's other originals. So not bad, not great.

  2. Separation Anxiety's numbers are blah at best by TBS standards, and it's squandering more than half of the lead-in from Big Bang Theory. I'm worried about the show. Not that I think it's such a great format, but it's far from terrible and I don't like to see game shows flop.