There is something sad about an entire news story devoted to the return of a television show that was yanked for low ratings. Apparently Commander in Chief, a show I’ve never watched (no fault of the show, just one of those things) is returning to television.
What I find sad is the fact that the Washington Post covered this story straight. As in a factual recitation of the facts surrounding the event. No discussion about the ratings process — heck, I’ve been in the industry forever and, frankly, can’t decipher the minutiae of the Nielsen ratings. And if the show wasn’t pulling the right numbers since just after its debut, what makes ABC think it stands a better chance now? Especially since the series is going up against an ostensibly more popular show?
Why is the show returning now? Is the network playing out the final episodes they produced in anticipation of a quiet death? Do they expect to renew the series (have they renewed the series?). Will the programming be available on iTunes as well? The answer to this final question is, yes, as a matter of fact, ABC slipped the series into the iTunes mix with little fanfare.
This leads to a sub-rant: why doesn’t the ABC press release (surely the basis of this WaPo given that I can’t imagine anyone just up and writing on the topic as a whim) mention that there will also be new episodes of Commander in Chief available via iTunes. You know, for the kids who aren’t glued to the television Thursday nights at 9? Why do the networks continue with this either/or attitude. The show is already in digital format — every $1.99 download is pure gravy. The networks need to learn the word “and”. Cross-promotion is good.
TV networks have an annoying habit of reacting to numbers without due consideration. “Oh, that series failed to catch on with viewers. We aired it once against the Super Bowl and nobody watched. Later, series!” Think about it. They dump a slew of new programming at us early in the fall and then somehow expect every program to fight to the top. Even in the age of TiVo this makes no sense. Do they know something about Commander in Chief that we don’t?
I ask these questions because the Post article tells me nothing. I like Geena Davis just enough to consider watching the show. Of course, at the moment, I’m winding down a long-term relationship with The West Wing, and keep thinking that a second presidential drama is too much.
By the way, happy Thursday. If you’re around, check out Commander in Chief. Let me know if it’s worth a download or two.