• How Do You Solve a Problem Like Low Ratings?

    by  • December 6, 2013 • Best of the Week, Family Friendly • 0 Comments

    The Sound of Music Live! - Season 2013Just a couple of weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly described NBC’s Thursday night ratings as “an apocalyptic wasteland; some smoldering ruinous city, once glamorous, where a devastating bomb has crumbled the skyline into gray ash.”

    NBC’s funeral dirge has turned into the Sound of Music and, as The Wrap puts it, “Ka-Ching.”

    Overnight, NBC reversed their fortunes by doing the unthinkable… airing a family TV event. You know, those old relics of yesteryear that today’s TV audiences are far too sophisticated to find interesting or entertaining.

    According to The Wrap, the special garnered 18.5 million viewers, making it NBC’s most-watched non-sports night on any night of the week since January 15, 2007.

    But what about the coveted 18-49 demographic? Surely they had no interest in a family musical, right? Wrong. Again, according to The Wrap, “With a 4.6 rating among viewers 18-49 demographic, it was the top non-sports Thursday in the key demo since the ER finale.”

    And those abysmal Thursday night ratings EW was talking about in late November? “Thursday had more viewers than any Thursday night for NBC since the Frasier finale on May 13, 2004. That had 22.6 million total viewers.” And “It had the most total viewers of any non-sports Thursday night show for any network since Fox aired a Thursday American Idol on March 3, 2011. That Idol had 25.3 million viewers.”

    So it seems the answer to NBC’s ratings woes might be more family entertainment.



    Ms. Henson is a noted expert on entertainment industry trends and the how the impact of entertainment affects children and the American popular culture at large. She also directs the organization’s Advertiser Accountability Campaign, which encourages companies to sponsor family-friendly entertainment. She previously supervised the research and program content analysis operations of the PT and produced a number of groundbreaking PTC studies that document the levels of graphic sex, violence and profanity on television. Some of those reports include: The Ratings Sham I & II, Dying to Entertain, Faith in a Box, The Sour Family Hour, The Blue Tube, and TV Bloodbath. She began her career with the PTC in 1997 as an entertainment analyst, documenting instances of inappropriate content on television. Ms. Henson has appeared on a variety of television shows including Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Big Story, CNN Headline News’ ShowBiz Tonight, CNBC’s On the Money, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, and CBN’s Newswatch. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the country and has been quoted extensively in news sources such asEntertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg. Ms. Henson is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Government. She resides in Falls Church, Va., with her husband and their son.

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