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October 10 2008

FOX orders two more scripts for T:TSCC. Though still no word on actual production past ep. 13.

That is encouraging. They must be pleased with the DVR+7 numbers. Next week's +7 numbers will be key.
I'm glad that they're giving it a chance even though the ratings aren't great.
Oooh, fingers crossed.
I want it down. Chuck needs space.

In another view, it's cool because FOX is being tolerant. Which means they won't cancel a show precipitately, aka Dollhouse.
Yay! I hope the back 9 gets ordered soon, I hate watching knowing that there will probably be a cliffhanger if it does end. I also wish fun programs were spread out a bit more. It's a battle in our house who gets to watch what on the t.v./dvr and who has to catch up online.
I, too, hate watching with the feeling that the guillotine blade is hovering overhead.

This is encouraging.
I might be wrong, but I seem to remember Fox doing the same 2-episode thing for Firefly.
Yeah, I think word was heard of more scripts being ordered at one point during the show's run, pre-cancellation, and some fans took comfort in that.

I can't remember if those scripts ended up turning into "The Message" and maybe "Trash" or "Heart of Gold", or if they were something else entirely.

I do remember reading the one unproduced Firefly script that's legit, "Dead or Alive" by Cheryl Cain, which ended up seeming like a mish-mash between "The Message" and something else. It was written first, but its parts were cannibalized for "The Message" and whichever other episode I'm forgetting. "Dead or Alive" sticks out the most because of Jayne and his stuffed turtle.

Dunno if anything beyond "Objects in Space" in the timeline was written. You'd think they would've been leaked by now, if any more of Season 1 does exist on the page. I wonder if there was at least some pre-production, some ME writer's room discussion about where they were headed for the remainder of the season. Has Joss ever talked about what the season finale was going to be like ?

[ edited by Kris on 2008-10-11 04:23 ]
I hope those scripts reveal some potential worth investing in. The show really is developing nicely.
They must be pleased with the DVR+7 numbers. Next week's +7 numbers will be key.

I think I might understand vaguely what you mean by that, TamaraC, but might not. Could you explain?

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2008-10-11 07:52 ]
Has Joss ever talked about what the season finale was going to be like ?

In the Firefly companion interview he says he had no idea where season one would end. Or how.
Next week's +7 numbers will be key

It's off next week (that is, Monday, October 13th) for baseball; which, along with the two script order, also reminds one a bit of Firefly.

It's still dicey, I'd say. Will the already small audience still be there when it comes back?
I thought TamaraC might be referring to an audience already augmented in the numbers by DVR/Tivo, though as I said, I don't know if that's what it means. I can only hope so.
I've run a piece about this here which touches on the Firefly issue.
I think they're covering their bases in case it rallies in the next couple of weeks (or they decide the DVR numbers are good enough) since the lead time is presumably longest for the scripts. Still, ordering two more has to be better than not ordering two more, no-matter what the historical precedent.

Next week's +7 numbers will be key

It's off next week (that is, Monday, October 13th) for baseball; which, along with the two script order, also reminds one a bit of Firefly.

It's still dicey, I'd say. Will the already small audience still be there when it comes back?

jlp | October 11, 08:15 CET

I thought TamaraC might be referring to an audience already augmented in the numbers by DVR/Tivo, though as I said, I don't know if that's what it means. I can only hope so.

dreamlogic | October 11, 08:28 CET

TVbythenumbers explains a few of the terms. Seems reasonable to assume that 'DVR+7' is what they call 'Live+7' so I think dreamlogic hits the nail on the head.
Oh, it's definitely a good thing they've ordered two more. They need to move the show to a different timeslot. And get it back on the air - sod the baseball. They need proper ratings data, kinda now.

We'll know within a month if this is sticking on the air or not.
Well, I guess this is a test of how tolerate FOX is of low ratings. We can all see the obvious, bad time slot during a sports showing. Just praying TSSC will hold in there to be able to show the real audience draw.

Ghosh, I so hope "Dollhouse" doesn't go through this ratings rollercoaster! I don't think my heart could stand it.
"Dollhouse" is probably positioned about as well as could be hoped; there's less competition from other new shows at mid-season. The playoff games of the American football season can be used as ad platforms (and then the season will end and there will be no competition from Monday Night Football, if indeed this ends up as "Dollhouse"'s timeslot). "American Idol" can be used as an ad platform. Whether FOX will fully exploit the tools at their disposal remains to be seen.

I'm very cautiously optimistic.
Sorry for not being clear. I was talking about the Live +7 days numbers that will be published next week and will measure the people who timeshifted (DVR or taped and watched within 7 days of original airing) the September 29th airing of Terminator. That was the first week that it was up against Chuck along with Big Bang/HIMYM, Dancing with the Stars and MNF. The previous week showed that Terminator was the 4th largest timeshifted show in viewers and the 2nd largest in percent. These numbers matter and are seen by the network.

It may not be enough to produce more than 13 episodes but it is encouraging.
The thing about the DVR numbers though is that much of the viewing happens on the same day the show airs, and those numbers are already included in the original ratings. Every bit helps of course, but the +7 numbers are a little misleading if this isn't taken into account.
We understand, TamaraC. Thanks for the info :)
hacksaway, the numbers are reported with initial same day DVR viewing plus live and then with plus seven. The numbers are not misleading at all. Where did you get that idea?
Say SCC had 1.5 million people who watched on DVR one week, but half of them watched on the same day. 750k of those viewers are counted in the initial ratings, so only the other 750k are "new" in the +7 numbers. But they list it all together for +7. All I'm saying is that you have to keep that in mind when looking at the difference between the live, live+same day and +7 numbers.
The +7 numbers as a sum does not double count. The site tvbythenumbers gives the live viewers of TSCC on 9/15 as 4.8m, the ADDITIONAL viewers over 7 days is another 1.7M for total viewers of 6.5m. The increase from live viewers to total viewers is 34%. There is no double counting and nothing to "keep in mind".
I didn't say they double counted. Yes, they calculate the increase from the live numbers. But the live numbers aren't what gets reported initially and could lead to some confusion. Saying it increased 34% might lead people to think that means 34% from the live+same day numbers that are reported earlier, because it's not widely known that the initial numbers already include same day viewing.
hacksaway, I really think that is too semantical (did I just make up a new word?) to really matter. People who are informed enough to dwell on Live +7 day numbers already understand how overnights are reported. And the difference is really too small to matter.
How the HECK do they know how many people watch it air "live" and how many people taped or otherwise recorded it? And how do they know when those people watch it?

That's just...freaky disturbing.

More SCC is a good thing. Period. I'm rewatching the original two movies as a "refresher" on the Connors' background, and what we know about SkyNet and the Infiltrators. We haven't run across any HK (Hunter/Killers) in the series, have we?
ShadowQuest, Nielsen have years of experience reporting TV numbers (well, decades). They do all sorts - boxes in peoples homes, written diaries, interview people about TV habits, they track TiVo playback data to get DVR numbers etc.
While Nielsen might have years of experience in trying to capture viewer numbers for the tv industry, it is ( at least in my mind :) worthwhile to discuss whether all their numbers actually are as accurate as they would like to pretend them to be, but then I also believe that interpreting the Nielsen numbers and their weaknesses is the only truly unique artform in Hollywood.
I'm thinking there are lots of tv execs who have made their careers by interpreting/spinning the numbers, statistics after all is a flexible tool as Mark Twain told us*.

Sadly a large part of tv writing on the internet have turned into a numbers game, reporting Nielsen statistics instead of writing on the actual quality of the tv produced, if the Nielsen numbers where to be proven less than accurate what would all the tv blogging people be writing about ?

I'm actually looking forward to the hard hitting expose of the statisticians behind the scenes at Nielsen how the numbers are tweaked to fulfill the scary hidden agenda ..., I'm thinking a scifi thriller ending with an alien invasion :)


* Actually it seems to have originated with Disraeli, you learn something new every day on the internet :)

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
- Autobiography of Mark Twain

[ edited by jpr on 2008-10-12 12:10 ]
@Rikardo: That's awfully harsh. Why not just move Terminator to a different/better time slot? Do you really think that by canceling it, that will make Chuck's audience grow to such a large amount as to give it the "space" you seem to think it's lacking? The fact that a full second season was ordered by the network before the premiere aired should tell you something. Chuck is getting all the support it could ask for. In my humble opinion, as much as I enjoy Chuck, the last two episodes felt like retreading of ground already covered in the first season. There's a good chance that the show is becoming repetitive and stale in its plotting. Perhaps audiences are taking notice, and fewer people are tuning in every week? I still plan on watching and enjoying the show, so please don't take my comments as anything more than just thinking out loud.
jpr, while no one (fans, networks, or advertisers) are at all happy with Neilsen and their faulty methods, it is the system of measurement that is agreed on by networks and advertisers. It doesn't matter that it is faulty because the "truth" is not what is being measured. The participants agreed to these rules so these are the only rules that matter. When someone comes up with a better system that can be agreed to by all parties, then the rules will change. Until then, calling "foul" will simply be ignored.
Indeed. I'd also argue quality programming doesn't always equal popular viewing.
for wrong

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2008-10-13 08:08 ]
TamaraC, yes you're right as long as as Nielsen ratings are the agreed upon measurements and the only game in town calling foul on their numbers will be and should be ignored by the PTB, but a lot of tv bloggers seems to handle those numbers like they are handed down on stone tablets, sometimes a healthy dose of scepticism would improve their analysis to no end.

gossi, I'd go even further and say that quality programming seldom if ever equals popular viewing, but this discussion inevitably leads down the rabbit hole of defining quality programming, which only leads to, quality is what I say it is neither more nor less, YMMV.

dreamlogic, huh ?
jpr, what should they be skeptical of? The numbers are the numbers. They report exactly what Nielsen is measuring and everyone agrees to use that measure.

Does it mean that 10 million people actually watch a show that Nielsen says has 10 million viewers? No, but it doesn't matter. At all.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-10-13 18:30 ]
And get it back on the air - sod the baseball.

That's totally impossible.
Ok, the numbers are the numbers and interpreting them have become a favorite pastime, I'm probably just nostalgic for the times when the numbers where for the industry folks and the rest of us was primarily concerned with whether the shows where any good or not, but then I'm just as curious as the next person about the survival chances of my favorite shows so ...
I'm probably just nostalgic for the times when the numbers where for the industry folks

I don't actually remember a time like that. Whedonesque and other places were ratings obsessed when Buffy and Angel were still on the air.
@Simon: jpr is probably nostalgic for a time even further back, like before the internet. I'd imagine in that time the numbers weren't posted and discussed all over the place. It wasn't so much common knowledge or interest. Back in the days of Quantum Leap, regardless if it was popular or not, was anyone worried about what the ratings were and what that meant for the longevity of the show? It was just a simpler, possibly more naive time. :)
Yep we're talking ancient times BB, as in the dark ages Before Buffy.

In this year of our lady AB 11, some things have changed irrevocably, some dark truths about the inner workings of the world we inhabit has been revealed, knowledge previously captured and used by a chosen few have been exposed and is spreading like a bad viral infection through the web, forcing us all to look at ourselves with freshly mirrored eyes and ponder, what is the right measure for the stories we enjoy ?

Is it to much to ask of mortal men and women to ignore the ever increasing shrieks from the Nielsen witchdoctors reciting last nights ratings like sports scores from a bad game, clawing and scratching at open wounds with no healer in sight, causing pain, hope and clouds of dust with no lasting impact, versus actual reviews where we see great minds share the impact their minds feels when they walk in the worlds of great storytellers.

Some thinkers will say, why can't we have both, let us sate our curiousity from the well of Nielsen ratings and at the same time study lengthy critical works of deep insight ?
But the infection is spreading, what was once a local disease in southern California is spreading around the world, leaving less and less room for other kinds of tv writing, soon no review is complete without the ratings, why be the lonely writer of critical thought when it's possible to follow the herd and report last nights ratings, it's so much easier and as we all know the numbers tell the truth.
I don't think anyone here believes the numbers tell us anything worthwhile about the show itself but they're of interest because, flawed as they may be as reflections of reality, they tell us something about the show's long-term survival prospects.

Once you've been burned a few times by cancellations it makes sense to keep tabs on how likely that is to happen I reckon (so long as you're not on some obsessive ratings roller-coaster of euphoria/panic depending on Nielsen ;).

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