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‘Six Degrees’ Doesn't Add Up

ABC shrinks NYC.


Is ABC’s fall drama Six Degrees not mathematically sound? In spots for the show from Lost’s J. J. Abrams, starring Hope Davis and Campbell Scott, a voice-over says, “In New York City, there are 3 million people”—text reading 3 MILLION PEOPLE comes onscreen—“but even the most distant strangers are only six degrees, and six connections, away from each other.” Profound. But the city hasn’t had 3 million people since the 1890s; there are over 8 million now. Do 5 million New Yorkers just not get to connect? An ABC spokeswoman explains that by “New York City,” the ads are referring to Manhattan only. Not to Manhattan’s population—1,562,723—but rather its “residential population plus commuters plus day-trippers plus touristing and hotels and a variety of other things.” (The daytime population is 2,874,003.) Citing “too much confusion,” ABC changed the ads to say 8 MILLION PEOPLE after receiving an inquiry from New York, saying, “It’s simpler for all involved if we go with the higher number.”

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