Whatever Happened To . . . Television Without Pity?

A few months ago, I wrote a pretty vicious post describing the awful, user-unfriendly makeover that Bravo had foisted on Television Without Pity.

Part of the reason for the viciousness was that TWoP was a site that, only a couple of years ago, I had declared as maybe my favorite website ever.

Of course, two years is a very long long time, especially on the net. Still, when I wrote my declaration of love, TWOP had been kicking ass for a lot longer than that, and there was no reason to believe that by the middle of 2008, they would be bought by Bravo; the original founders would leave and it would be transformed from a site that I visited several times a day to a site that I now don’t visit for weeks at a time.

It’s a long way for such an established site to fall in a relatively short period of time, and apparently, I’m not the only person who has noticed: ever since the original post, there has been a steady stream of traffic to it, and commenters on it.

Most of the comments fall into one of two categories: complaints about the redesign itself, and — a category that I didn’t even consider when writing the original post — complaints about overly restrictive forum moderators.

Nobody has actually bothered to defend it. I’ve received more comments from people defending From The Jam and Spiral Frog than I have from people defending the new Television Without Pity.

That’s just sad. People loved the old TWoP. Or hated it. But if they hated it; they hated it for what it was — a website with an angle and an attitude. Now, it’s got none of that, so people just tolerate it. Or ignore it. And maybe that’s what Bravo / NBC / Universal want: a site that people just visit, but don’t have any real affection or hatred for.

Sure, Television Without Pity sucks now, but more because of what it isn’t — well done and interesting — than for what it is.

(But again, what do you expect from the same corporation that thinks putting Jay Leno on 5 nights a week is some kind of smart, “DVR-proof” programming strategy. Seriously? Do these people understand that Jay Leno is why DVRs were invented? You record him when he has somebody interesting on, and watch it the next day. Duh.)

And, in any event, Television Without Pity is out of my life now, and I’m not the only one: according to Alexa, their traffic has steadily decreased ever since the redesign. To the point where their traffic for the 2008 Fall Season looks to be half of what it was for 2007.

Is that what they wanted? For Television Without Pity to suck so much that their traffic slowly evaporates?

Because that seems to be what they got.

4 Responses to “Whatever Happened To . . . Television Without Pity?”

  1. kathy says:

    I think a small part of TVWOP’s traffic drop off is because TV in general was such a suckfest this fall, but yeah the majority of it is because of the site itself. I like Potes’ ANTM’s recaps and Couch Baron’s “Mad Men” recaps but that’s about all I read on the site. I find Jacob’s recaps…uhm, I’l be politie and say “not my cup of my tea”, and it bums me out because I love BSG and True Blood and wish someone else covered those shows. Mostly, I visit Alan Speinwall’s blog instead of TVWOP and sometimes check out EW’s show re-caps. I developed a fondness for the bizarre BSG re-caps on Gawker too.

    Maybe I’m too jaded after 15 years in “new” media but I didn’t give TVWOP a snowball’s chance in hell of retaining an iota of what made it special once they got bought by Bravo/NBC/GE.

  2. Jim says:


    Agreed that TV this fall is awful. Only The Office, 30 Rock; Chuck, HIMYM and Friday Night Lights are things that I really look forward to.

    I always liked Couch Baron’s recaps of Veronica Mars, but I didn’t read him on Mad Men this season, for some reason. Since I never went to the forums, I didn’t realize how much people hated Jacob’s recaps. Though I can certainly see why.

    I pretty much just go to Sepinwall and A.V. Club these days: EW always seemed too, I dunno, Entertainment Weekly-y or something.

    Oh, and James Ponewozik in Time does some good stuff, too. I’ll have to try to remember to check out the Gawker BSG recaps, and I’m actually going to recap the last half-season for a site called Screen Junkies, too.

  3. Estlin says:

    I agree about the decline in quality of TWOP. The point about the Gestapo moderators is, however, long-standing and precedes the Bravo! takeover. I was banned twice pre-Bravo! for completely innocuous reasons. Since the change of ownership, I am on a “winning streak”, of sorts (I’m a Video Archivist), but have received three warnings – two recently. The mods criticised me for daring to disagree with fellow posters. I had done so politely, but apparently one is not permitted to debate a show or opinions in the forums. This is infuriating.

    I am grateful to know that there are other options out there, even IMDB. It’s unwieldy, but the mods there are far more lenient than the SS at TWOP.

  4. Itchy says:

    You’re lucky the moderators actually “criticized” you first before banning you. I’ve also been banned twice — both times completely out of the blue. No discussion, no recourse. Just a wham bam thank you man… Well, okay, the second time I received a warning (about a completely different post which the moderator went ahead and censored to meet his/her/its sense of propriety), but you’re not allowed to complain or even question the warning….Now, I’m a reasonably literate and reasonable person, nothing I wrote was all that untoward…

    Of course, TWOP is upfront about their assholish policies –they say so right in the dos and donts or whatever, that their mods reserve the right to romp all over the posts and postees, and basically say to fuck off if you don’t like it. So I should have known better.

    In the meantime, frankly, the discussions are all extremely bland — there’s no snark in the forum whatsoever. It’s kind of strange, because the recaps are still pretty good, but the forum….just blandsville. Maybe it was once a fun site–but that must have been a long time ago.

    I much prefer TvGasm.