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Good for Viewers: Bad New Shows Are Rejected Quickly
September 12, 2008  | By David Bianculli
The ratings are in, and so far, the news is all good -- at least from the perspective of TV WORTH WATCHING.

Episode one of Fringe did well, while episodes two of 90210 and Hole in the Wall didn't.

For now, all is right with the world...


CW refused to send the premiere episode of 90210 to critics, but couldn't hide it from viewers. Eventually, the fans who most eagerly anticipated this Beverly Hills, 90210 reboot had to be allowed to watch it -- and when they did, they yawned collectively. It was the correct reaction.

90210 premiered to 4.91 million viewers -- 2.6 of them in the coveted 18-49 demographic. For CW, that's a hit. But Tuesday's second installment fell to 3.31 million in the Nielsen ratings, a 33 percent drop. The 18-49 slide was just as steep, dropping to 1.7, a 35 percent reduction.

So after all that promotion and all those shell games, 90210 managed to lose one-third of its audience in the span of one week. At that rate, it'll be gone by October. Ratings aren't the only thing that matter in this multi-platform universe -- but it's nice to know quality still does.


Hole in the Wall, on Fox, was slipped on the schedule almost at the last minute, and the curiosity factor was enough to get Sunday's sneak preview special 7 million viewers, half of them in the 18-49 demo. Solid start. But Tuesday's second episode, which had the strong lead-in the premiere of Fringe, managed only 5.1 million (a 27 percent drop), and, among the 18-49 viewers so treasured by Fox, a drop to 2.1 million (a hefty, scary 40 percent).

Hole is digging itself a big hole, and quickly.


Finally, there's Fringe itself, which premiered on Fox with 9 million viewers, 3.2 million of which were 18-49. That's a healthy start, and if the numbers hold for next week's episode two, the intriguing Fringe will have been embraced by viewers, just as swiftly and justifiably as Hole in the Wall and 90210 have been rejected.

Fox is repeating the Fringe pilot Sunday night at 8 ET, so there's still time to hop aboard. As for the others, there's still time, for the moment, to hop off...




Ron said:

I'm glad Fox is repeating the Fringe, I missed it last week and I'd love to take a look at it. As for Hole in the Wall, I think that Tom Shales (of the Washington Post) is spot on when he writes that "[Hole in the Wall] is bizarre enough -- bizarre and yet, in its pathetic minimalism, curiously fascinating. For about three minutes."

Comment posted on September 12, 2008 11:22 AM

Ron Casalotti said:

In today's world of time-shifted viewing, lead-ins have little to no value. As a DirecTV customer who loves TV and has to record multiple shows (often 2 to 3 at a time on two DVRs) in order to see them all it matters not at all to me what show precedes or follows the one I wish to see. I think that this is a good thing. Shows need to stand on their own merit. Likewise, the comparison of audiences from one show to the next to determine audience drop-off also is no longer a fair indicator.

Comment posted on September 12, 2008 12:01 PM

Stewart said:

The only downside to the low ratings for Hole in the Wall is that FOX may replace it with more Moment of Truth.

Comment posted on September 12, 2008 1:24 PM
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