Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Demo rant

I was going to write my review of ABC's To Tell the Truth this morning. Only ABC's web site keeps me from watching the show for another week. Seems that Time Warner, my cable provider, isn't on their list of approved systems. Grrrrrr. I could try one of the virus traps that advertise on YouTube, but I'll wait until I can watch worry-free. I know, I should have remembered to watch the broadcast last night.

So my review will just have to wait for a few days. While I'm irritated, I'll rant on another subject, the 18-49 demo obsession. At TV by the Numbers they laud some ABC sitcom called Uncle Buck for a "solid premiere." But here's the thing. Uncle Buck actually got fewer viewers than its fellow ABC debutant To Tell the Truth. (Okay, it was close. Uncle Buck got 4.9 million viewers and the TTTT eps both got 5.2 million.)

But the sitcom managed a 1.5 in the all-important, ever-so-crucial, we-gotta-have-it, only-thing-that-counts 18-49 demo. The TTTT eps only got 1.0 and 1.2 18-49 ratings. Those few tenths of a point may not look like squat, but the demo-obsessed TV industry covets those 18-49 tenths madly.

In a way this is special pleading. Traditional game shows, the subject of this blog, notoriously skew old. That's why programming execs have always been wary of them. The demo obsession has worked against our little genre for a long time, and the bias shows no signs of receding.


  1. TTTT did pretty fine in total viewers but the demo concerns me a bit. I hope ABC doesn't cancel it because it skewed old. Although early numbers look encouraging. Shark Tank gets demo numbers like TTTT and its viewership is from 5-7 mil and still gets renewed. So hopefully Truth does solid, but what do I know. Celebrity Family Feud last summer did solid in the demo. I think the premiere had a 2.4 or something like that. It beat out Big Brother in the demo, so that's something. Hopefully the demos for that, Pyramid, and Match Game aren't on the old side, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was.

    I think that's how Regis Password was canceled. Good viewer numbers, but old 18-49s.

  2. The Chicago ABC affiliate was airing a Cubs game, so Chicago only got the last half hour of the second episode with the first episode reairing at 1:05 a.m. I'm sure that affected the numbers a bit.

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  3. This version of TTTT,doesn't even give away cash!It may as well be cancelled for trying to go cheap & turn it into a another boring talk show.
    The prize budget most likely, got eliminated by the host highly annoying mom.

  4. I was pleasantly surprised. It looked like the panel (except for the athlete) were enjoying themselves. The pace was good. I even enjoyed the alteration where the panel can ask questions at will and not to wait for their turn. However the "punishment" is extremely lame and needs to be dropped. All in all, very entertaining.