Panic In America: The Bizarre Television Ratings

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The most recent episodes of Battlestar Galactica and Lost have slumped to record low ratings, scoring a 1.6HR and 9.9/15 respectively. Network executives are surely baffled at the dramatic loss in viewers, and no doubt taking measures to stop the fall (either through pressure on the show, or through swift cancellation).

At the same time, NBC’s medical drama “ER” has regained its top-of-the-hour place on Thursdays at 10pm for”¦ wait for it”¦ no obvious reason. It’s just… doing well.

Wouldn’t you love to be a television network official in America? It’d be easier to win the Lottery, and probably a far surer way of making some cash.

Should we sci-fi fans be worried about Lost and BSG? I think so. 1.6HR is very weak for Battlestar Galactica, and dips into levels that are poor even for the Stargates. Any further loss, perhaps even remaining at this level, could well mean SCI FI decide not to pick the show up. As for Lost”¦ well, the ratings drop here is pretty disastrous. To think that only a year ago the media was touting its success with ratings of around 23 million people, it is amazing to think that it may be pulling in around half that number now. I love Lost dearly, and I watch it every week; but I cannot deny that these ratings are, plain and simple, a very bad sign.

It’s bad enough shows starting poorly in the ratings and swiftly being cancelled e.g. Firefly, but when the flagshow of ABC can simply collapse, you have to wonder if there is any stability left in US Television. Hell, CBS actually cancelled a show this week that hadn’t AIRED yet (“Waterfront”). But don’t despair – we can rely on quality entertainment like American Idol. :)

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