• ADHD On the Ropes?

    by  • September 4, 2013 • Advertiser Accountability, Broadcast Decency, Misrated, Ratings Reform, Sex, Violence • 3 Comments

    Fox’s profane and graphically violent sex-and-drug cartoon block ADHD appears to be losing its focus – and presumably, its sponsors and viewers.

    As the PTC has repeatedly warned, the Fox network’s late-night, animated programming block ADHD features some of the most vile content ever aired on the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves. Fox’s bosses hoped to make the block’s mélange of naked, dismembered female corpses, “anatomically correct” cartoon animals, and stories about axe murderers and teens having sex into both a showplace and a breeding ground for new prime-time programming, with Fox Chairman Kevin Reilly boasting that “Ultimately, the goal is to grow and skim off the best of the best for prime time. I’d like to find the next Family Guy out of this block.”

    The show did experience an uptick in the week after its premiere, drawing 100% more teen viewers than in the first week (and thus belying the presumption that teens and children won’t watch “because it’s on so late”). But since that time, it has not done as well. Last week, much of the show’s content consisted of reruns; this week, ALL of it did (apart from one 90-second short feature). In fact, a major portion of the August 31st episode comprised a rerun of promos for Fox’s fall prime-time schedule…hardly scintillating viewing for anyone, let alone ADHD’s putative audience of teens. For a show that has been on barely a month to be airing nothing but reruns and promos seems a clear indicator that the show is not performing as hoped. Perhaps local affiliates have gotten wind of the show’s content and have refused to carry it; perhaps advertising sales are not performing well. Certainly, the show has garnered little attention in the Hollywood trade press. Though nothing is certain, these facts may indicate that Fox is allowing ADHD to die a swift and quiet death.

    Perhaps someday, the entertainment industry’s so-called “creative” personnel will realize that, if they want to attract viewers, they should offer more than warmed-over sex, gore, and toilet humor.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    3 Responses to ADHD On the Ropes?

    1. Mr Lou J Apa
      September 6, 2013 at 7:28 am

      Thank You Jesus!…….lja/JMJ

    2. Finn
      September 5, 2013 at 9:40 pm

      The reason ADHD is in reruns right now is because they’re currently on a brief break and will return in the fall with another six episode batch of Axe Cop and High School USA. It has nothing to do with content.

      I find the “teens and children won’t stay up this late” excuse a joke though. When I was 9 I could easily stay up all night. Luckily I was more interested in Disney Channel reruns then some of the other late night TV.

    3. Steve
      September 4, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      As one of ADHD’s myriad teen viewers, the block is still too polished and commercially friendly for my tastes. I want something absolutely crazy on TV, but conceptually so, not necessarily random or ribald. Axe Cop and most of the shorts have been run-of-the-mill absurdist humor so far, nothing special (but sometimes pretty funny.) I dig the cynicism and tone of High School USA!.
      If they’re just a block of reruns at the moment, and they have a rapid production cycle, I think they should seriously contact random (not popular) animators and producers on Newgrounds or YouTube and give them short, 3-episode contracts to do what they want. That’d be _compelling television_, and incredibly cheap. I know ADHD’s producers are reading this; this is the only blog that talks about their shows.

      Oh, and ADHD’s censored a lot of their block, and affiliates are still pushing it around (or not showing it at all.) So the PTC won! Or maybe a random exec got cold feet. Who knows.

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