• “Record Ratings” for Sons of Anarchy? Not So Much

    by  • December 16, 2014 • Broadcast Decency, Television • 16 Comments

    The Hollywood trade press is trumpeting the news that the series finale of FX’s drama Sons of Anarchy had a “record” high number of viewers. But this claim isn’t telling the whole story.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, the December 9th Sons of Anarchy finale was viewed by  9.2 million total viewers, who either watched the program live or recorded within three days of the broadcast. FX representatives boasted about how this was the highest rating of any show in FX’s history.

    However, it’s worth noting that almost as many people watched CBS’ December 7th I Love Lucy special, which drew 8.7 million viewers. That’s right: almost as many people watched a 60 YEAR OLD RERUN as watched FX’s sex-slathered, ultra-violent biker drama!

    Nor is this trend unique to Sons of Anarchy. Every year, CBS also insists on airing the sleazy hour-long lingere commercial The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. This year, two hours earlier, CBS also aired the beloved holiday favorite Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph garnered 10.6 million viewers, while the underwear ad only drew 9 million.

    The entertainment industry continues to brag about how many people watch their graphic programming; but it is clear there are many more people who’d rather watch clean, family-friendly programming.



    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.

    16 Responses to “Record Ratings” for Sons of Anarchy? Not So Much

    1. Judy
      December 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Since laughter is supposed to ge ‘good’ for us…….’Lucy’ is certainly my choice! As a mother and youth worker, I have long been aware of the destructive values of violent, sexual and filth shows. Many will argue otherwise.. I have tried to impress young people about their responsibility to make wise choices as what they watch. I appreciate the work YOU do to help keep us aware and updated THANK YOU!!!

    2. TJ
      December 20, 2014 at 9:46 am

      I am so sorry that our society, which mirrors our media (and vice-versa) is bent of sex and violence. As an adult, I choose not to watch shows or movies with violence. It makes me sick. I don’t want to fill my own adult head with murders, mutilation, etc. I also refuse to watch the news for the same reason.

      I try to stick with shows that don’t feature filth, either. I’d rather have nice things to watch. Better yet, I like to turn off the TV altogether on some days.

    3. dianne
      December 20, 2014 at 3:44 am

      I would rather watch I love Lucy ! Love her old movies, better then what is onTV now.

    4. December 19, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Lucy! Hands down!!

    5. Marsha
      December 19, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      I tend to watch reruns of old shows rather than anything new. The new stuff seems to be written by 15 year olds for 15 year olds, stupid, trashy and not entertaining for anyone with a brain. The reality shows like the Kardashians and the Housewives of (you name the city) are the dregs of television. Network tv ratings are not what they used to be, you would think that all of the entertainment executives would wake up and quit catering to the 18-49 crowd but I doubt that will ever happen.

    6. Paul Fitzpatrick
      December 19, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      It would be better if I LOVE LUCY had received a bigger rating than SONS OF ANARCHY. It is troubling that ultra-violent, sexually explicit programs get such high ratings.

    7. Joan Lewis
      December 19, 2014 at 9:47 am

      I do not watch TV these days, but watch video’s and DVD’s worthy of my view on my TV. Also use my computer to watch things of interest to me. I am a senior citizen, a Christian and a Patriot of our REPUBLIC! I do not have time for trash and the such!

    8. Wanda utesch
      December 19, 2014 at 9:07 am

      I love Lucy was great

      • Moax429
        December 19, 2014 at 5:40 pm

        I liked “The Lucy Show” (of which I have *all six* official season sets on DVD) and “Here’s Lucy” (of which I’m hoping to buy *the entire series* DVD box set sometime next year) *much* better than “I Love Lucy,” perhaps because having been born in April 1962, these were the “Lucy” shows I grew up with, enjoyed, and could identify *better* with.

        Still, it was good to see “I Love Lucy” did better than “Sons of Anarchy.” I hope this sends a message to “Hollyweird” that we want to see *clean* shows like “Lucy,” even if they are half-a-century old. Or will the current “creative” communities in the entertainment industry ever learn?

        Sadly, most likely *not*….

    9. Georgia
      December 19, 2014 at 8:52 am

      I Love Lucy was a MUCH better show. It was watcher friendly, and it was tremendously funny. Lucy opened the door to new sights on TV – bedroom scenes with both in the same bed – but it wasn’t smutty as a lot of the shows are now. It was clean, and a show my kids could watch with me.

    10. Darryl Malcolm
      December 19, 2014 at 8:50 am

      We applaud the network’s decision to air the Lucy episodes, which provided two things – 1) an alternative to the junk that permeates the air waves and 2) an example on how good programming used to be made without the intent to shock and desensitize it’s audience. And as to the graphic violence epidemic…can someone in the entertainment industry tell me how the gory details of how a bullet or knife entering a human body helps to build an exciting murder mystery. The old “Columbo’s”, and many of the English detective imports do not show disgusting close ups of the corpse, but rely on intelligent storytelling and intellectual twists. I submit that much of the “shock and sex” of the current crop of tv shows and movies are not an expansion of creativity, but an appalling lack thereof.

      • Mary Clayton
        December 19, 2014 at 12:15 pm

        Darryl, you are spot on!!!

      • annmoore856@gmail.com
        December 19, 2014 at 9:33 pm

        You are so right, Darryl. The entertainment industry shows an appalling lack of creativity or intelligence. Throw in lots of sex, graphic violence, and vulgar language, and bingo! a television show/movie is born. Before our country’s current era of decadence, entertainers were truly creative and imaginative, providing us with worthwhile programs that didn’t need to fill in the time slot with trash and foul language. I think that present-day writers have an extremely limited vocabulary.

    11. December 19, 2014 at 8:37 am

      I make it a point every night to peruse the cable guide to see what movies are available. You would think that every day of the year is Halloween between the ghastly horror crap to the violence for the sake of violence. Today we are less than a week from Christmas and you would not know it except for the Hallmark station running their “B” Christmas movies which all seem to fall into one of 4 plots. I can remember when a Hallmark Movie was something special. Television is largely disgusting.

    12. Mark W
      December 19, 2014 at 7:39 am

      Our Family and even myself would rather watch Lucy any day than most of the new shows. Infact, we have discovered that the side channels like ME TV, have better content than the new shows. We also watch Dick Van Dyke through our Roku using Amazon Prime. We love our new tradition of old shows.

    13. Mary Nurre
      December 19, 2014 at 7:34 am

      I would rather watch I Love Lucy – a classic and my kids just laugh and laugh when they watch it.

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