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"I watched 'Passions' with Spike. Let us never speak of it."
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October 04 2011

Fall's first cancellation: NBC axes Playboy Club. Sean Maher played a character on the show.

Well I hope that Sean has raised his profile with this show (and the publicity on his 'coming out') so that he'll have lots of offers!
Sometimes I think they just target Whedon alums...
Hopefully he'll appear in something else next. I watched Playboy Club solely for him (okay, Amber Heard and Mr. Universe didn't hurt either).
Do you mean viewers, Three? The viewers actively avoid watching shows with Whedon alums? Maybe not. Nathan seems to be doing all right. Gina's show got picked up for another season. Morena's new show had the highest series premiere in ages for Showtime, Alan's new show debuted very strong, David's show is going into its 7th season, as is Aly's. :)
Why?? It was just starting to get good! NBC should have waited a few more weeks to see if Maher's story attracted more viewers... that's why I started watching.

After 3 episodes??! Puts Fox in a better light in terms of cancellation, don't you think?
Shows very rarely go UP in viewers, especially low rated ones. Week 3 is a key one, if it's still going down down down, it's in big trouble.
I think that there have been some hugely popular shows that started off with low viewership and then grew a large audience (Seinfeld and X-files are both examples I believe). Having said that, I do not believe Playboy would have improved in the ratings, the 'buzz' online was not good.
I think part of the problem was how it advertised. When I first saw the ads I had no interest in it, but decided I'd give every new show a shot so that I didn't miss a good one and have to go back and catch up, and was surprised to find it was different and more interesting than I thought it would be. It's a shame. Probably not the best time slot for it either. Oh well, I have too much tv I'm trying to watch anyway >.<
Its a shame b/c the show was much better than the advertising and controversy around it would have led you to suspect. I suppose that turned a lot of prospective viewers off. The lead-in didn't help either.
But I'm looking forward to see what Sean does next! :)
NO!! It was my favourite show of this fall, the rest I just watch to pass the time. It was getting so good. I give up on tv.
Half as many people watched this as did Dollhouse, for reference.

As for Whedon actors - between David, Aly and Nathan alone they have - what - 16 seasons in the last few years? He has a pretty good hit rate when casting.
Feel bad for Sean but - I saw one episode and was not thrilled by it. It was not a bad show but.....not surprised it was cancelled.
I'm sad for Sean, but that is the extent of my remorse. I saw the pilot and decided not to watch any more of it. It is a pretty weak fall slate of shows but I thought it was the weakest of the shows I tried.

Cancelling was a no brainer given the incredibly weak ratings. Only 5 million for the Pilot was pretty much a death warrant. I think the network kept it on just to see if the controversy from the fundamentalist groups wanting it cancelled would spur viewership. It didn't.

I hate to say this, but I'm on the verge of dumping RINGER as well. That show has been a thundering disappointment (the music alone is killing it for me). But it is part of a trend. I thought THE NEW GIRL would be great and while I know it is getting huge ratings, I found it dull as could be. I watched the pilots for PERSON OF INTEREST and dumped it.

The one show that has delighted completely is HOMELAND, which has, of course, a Whedonverse alumni, Morena Baccarin. Which shows that sometimes a cancellation can lead to better things. I'm sure she got more for V. and she isn't the main character as she was in that stinker, but HOMELAND is just a great show. And ANGEL alum Howard Gordon is the head cheese on the show.
It's worth noting Free Agents with Tony Head is on the bubble as well - which is unfortunate since not only is the show very funny, but he's absolutely hysterical on it. There's been a rash of tweets in the last few days from Whedon alums encouraging viewership. Apparently everyone is fairly pleased to have Tony back in LA and eager to keep him there.
I'm so sad for Sean...he was excited and extremely interested in the character role -- what it meant to him as an actor and a person. He had to have been looking forward to sinking his teeth in. Damn the vagaries of the industry. Will be thinking about him, and well wishes that he land on his feet.
Very sad indeed. Had been looking forward to trying it out because of the Sean articles linked here over the last few days (but I haven't actually seen it yet).

Also haven't watched much of "Free Agents" yet (only a small part of the pilot), but it's too bad to hear it's not doing well.

I do like "Ringer", it's propably my favorite new show of the season. ("Up all night" is the only other show I've been following for a few eps now, and while decent, it's hardly spectacular.)
I definitely agree that Free Agents is plenty funny, and I enjoy it more than Up All Night (not by much), and more than Whitney (By a LOT, and yet it's gotten the pick up?). I hope more people can get onto that one.

I recommend checking out Revenge, I think it's my favorite of the new shows.
I have to imagine that Ringers days are very much numbered with the horrendous ratings it got last night. It can't hold up against New Girl.
So, maybe a dumb question but there are some in-the-know types around here... How are they keeping track of ratings these days? Still with the Nielsen system?

I thought that was a poor way 10 years ago. If it is still the way today it can't be anywhere near accurate.

I have heard and read about keeping track of DVR records and online hits and whatnot and to the contrary. Curious on what's what.

Also, I think I have been way too spoiled on cable shows. These major network shows are just so dumbed down and aimed at the lowest common denominator. They leave a lot of subtlety to be desired. They could stand to have a little faith in the viewer's intelligence. And some of the writing and acting cliches... hilariously bad. It sucks because there are a few shows with some serious potential. Person Of Interest (probably my favorite new one) and Terra Nova (getting worse and worse since they got to Terra Nova) to name a few.

I'm surprised I'm kind of digging Ringer. Normally not my cup of tea and it is definitely not perfect but it's an entertaining watch so far with some potential. If you don't think too much about it.

And I'm convinced SMG stopped aging around season 5 of Buffy.

[ edited by Spikecam21 on 2011-10-05 20:56 ]
Spikecam21, it's still Nielsen and that isn't going to change in the foreseeable future. In order for it to change all the advertisers and all the broadcasters/networks would have to collectively agree on a different system. That won't happen. DVRs and online viewing is only being tracked if someone is in the Nielsen sample. And you have to remember, it doesn't matter how many people watch a show. It only matters how many people watch the ads within 3 days. That's what the networks get paid for. Everything else is meaningless.

All other forms of viewing is noise and so small that it's nice if it's good and ignored if it's bad but really doesn't move the needle.

[ edited by IrrationaliTV on 2011-10-05 21:25 ]
Networks primarily use Nielsen numbers, since these tend to be the numbers advertisers use. We've advertised on TV recent, $10m budget. Personally, I think the Nielsen numbers leave sometime to be desired - but when you're actually paying the channels the money, you don't care. You want somebody to tell you 4 million people watched it.

Nielsen also do many other metrics - for example, C3 numbers - which is playback over a 3 day window (so including DVR estimates). C3 numbers are the rates at which ads tend to be sold to advertisers. They also do things like phone surveys etc to try to validate results. Online plays are also tracked -- however the money involved is pretty small.

Ultimately, when shows get cancelled it's because it didn't earn enough money, because not enough people watched. Given the amount of new shows each year, it isn't a huge surprise that most shows die young.

[ edited by gossi on 2011-10-05 21:25 ]
That was the main problem with The Playboy Club, I remember the first episode did really well at the time on hulu and itunes, not sure what happened after that, but it's time slot was just as bad as a Friday night for live viewing. Although the DVR and such ratings did well, no one watched live cause it was up against football. Shame they didn't give it time to grow, admittedly the first ep wasn't great(especially the murder scene, really unbelievable and that was the revamped version, would love to have seen the less plausible one) but it was greatly improving by the third episode and the plot was moving much quicker than Ringer(which is apparently also getting terrible ratings). I gave up on Ringer last week, just can't sit and watch nothing happen anymore.
Ringer dropped 33% of its audience yesterday.
So we'll be lamenting Ringer in the next week I guess...
I think Ringer will be on air for now. The numbers are not encouraging but The CW as a whole is in the toilet and they will almost certainly wait and see for a few more weeks unless it continues to dive dramatically.

As for Playboy Club, I didn't care for it, although Sean's storyline was one of the more interesting ones. I can see why they cancelled it, even though I usually rail against very early cancellations. It debuted poorly, with extremely mixed critical reaction and continued to plummet every episode. Although I wish it hadn't been the first cancelled just because of the campaign against it. It was certainly no worse than most TV dramas for racy content, less so than many.

I wish Sean and his family every success though and hope he finds another role soon.
For some reason I thought Ringer was on at 10 instead of 9 and I missed it. I'm planning to watch it on Global on Friday night.
Aw. I though Ringer was pretty good this week, too. It feels like it's hitting its stride.
I watched the first three episodes mostly because of Sean's involvement, and thought the show had a lot of problems--for one, the A-story (the death by 3-inch heel and the ensuing complications) was significantly less interesting and plausible than most of the B-stories. The female lead (though a good actor) was not a particularly compelling character; and with the male lead, I couldn't get away from the idea that they were trying to recreate Don Draper (without having the least idea why he's so compelling).

I was much more interested in the Sean and Alice storyline (though even there I was somewhat frustrated--the writers seemed to think it was necessary to have one of them say "homosexual" or "heterosexual" in every. single. scene. just to make sure we understood the reason for their marriage, etc. Yes, we got it the first time, thanks.)

But the way the writers approached the Playboy Club itself was really problematic, for me. In the first episode, we got the voice-over saying that the Playboy Bunnies were some of the first women who had the freedom to be whoever they wanted to be. Yeah, sure ... as long as they wanted to be perpetually smiling, sexually objectified embodiments of male fantasy, that is. The statement could have been intended ironically, of course: but in the next couple of episodes, we see the "bunnies" laughing and dancing in their off hours, declaring sassily that "we don't want to be ordinary women," and generally seeming to be happy and bouncy people.

Then in the third episode, we get the bunny mother self-righteously telling the woman reporter that there's nothing bad here ... only hard-working girls trying to make a better life for themselves. And the woman reporter--who seems smart, thoughtful, well-educated, good at her profession has no reply.

While I am sorry for Sean's sake that it was canceled--the role obviously was very meaningful to him--I wouldn't have kept watching if it had continued in this vein. I'd rather go read Gloria Steinem, thanks.
Yeah, this week's Ringer finally pulled it all together in a really entertaining way. I hope it stays and keeps growing.
I only saw a brief snippet, but it did look like an awful, awful show.
Gossi - that doesn't even accoutn for the Seth Green empire.

So when will advertisers and corporations realize that most people wait for their favorite shows to record so they can fast forward through commercials?

Does that make a difference to them? Are they cool with it because of the subliminal game? When will commercials turn into 20 seconds of static logos? Are these rhetorical questions?
Spikecam21, I've heard suggestions that advertisers will do precisely that - make ads that will work as people fast forward.

And for those of us who watch some of the shows on the network's webpage, we can't fast forward through the commercials, so they have us there!
I watched Free Agents last night because of the very funny tweets mentioned above, but it didn't catch me. ASH was excellent of course and looking great, but I'm not sure that is enough to make me go back to it.
When advertisers figure out that their message isn't reaching enough eyeballs on TV then they will stop giving money to TV networks and find better value propositions. This will result in either all sports and reality TV with product placement all the time or in a total paradigm shift. Advertisers will not continue to pony up for quality scripted programming if they aren't getting the eyeballs they are paying for. It's always good to remember that the customer of a TV station is the advertiser. Not the viewer. The viewer is the product being delivered.

I have noticed more product placements in scripted shows (hello Dodge Charger in Breaking Bad).

It really soils things for me.

How long before filmmakers get serious about independently releasing art online? I know Joss has done it and has shown interest in doing it more, but at the mainstream level. Who is the Radiohead of the film world?
And the second cancellation of the season goes to NBC who've just cancelled Free Agents (which stars Tony Head).
Spikecam21, someone needs to figure out how to make money from it first. Art is great but someone still has to bankroll it and people still have to eat and it takes about 300 people to make a TV show.

Most consumers think TV should be free (since the advertiser supported TV model spoiled them all for so long) and is some sort of god given right. So those consumers don't want to pay (enough) for online content. Advertisers also don't think online advertising is worth as much (that attitude may be slowly changing) so they don't pay very much for online ads.

We are in the middle of a paradigm change. It's kind of the wild wild west in content production and distribution right now. It's all fascinating but if anyone tells you they know what it will look like in 5 years, they are bald faced liars.

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