Was Live Earth a Failure?
The conventional wisdom on Live Earth, last Saturday’s Al Gore–wrangled series of eight concerts around the world, is developing: It was a big, fat flop, conservative commentators are saying — and they’re gleeful about that, because, they say, it’s upsetting Gore’s supposed “grand plan” (Oscar win to Live Earth to Nobel Prize to presidency, natch). “The organizers … were hoping to attract 2 billion viewers to their cause but managed a slender 2.7 million,” writes Nicholas Wapshott in today’s Sun. And, yeah, wow, that’s quite a failure. Except that Wapshott’s number is totally wrong. He cites only the U.S. ratings for the Saturday-night broadcast on NBC. Though a relative disappointment in the United States, the concerts were seen in 178 countries on an array of platforms. Bravo, which carried the shows, registered its best-ever Saturday; on BBC1 in the United Kingdom, it snared 4.5 million viewers against Wimbledon. The shows also set records online, including an all-time viewing high on MSN with 30 million streams. Last but not least, there were also eight stadiums’ worth of live viewers. In short, those hoping that Al Gore will “grow another beard,” as Wapshott puts it, and skulk away will have to wait a while longer. Until a voting-machine mix-up in Stockholm County sends his Nobel to Rupert Murdoch.
Cringe-Making Concerts [NYS]
‘Live Earth’ Concerts No Big TV Draw [AP]
in other news
TV Ratings Go to College, and ‘Times’ Photog Goes to Penn
The front page of the Times business section today excitedly reports that Nielsen Media, the TV-ratings people, are now for the first time including college students in their sample. This is predicted to be exceedingly good news for young-skewing shows like Family Guy and America’s Next Top Model, according to the article. Judging by the accompanying photo, it is also good news for marketers of high-end denim, black shirts, and hair straighteners.
At Last, Television Ratings Go to College [NYT]
Things Finally Looking Up for ‘Studio 60’
We don’t know yet how NBC flacks will spin the last night’s ratings for Studio 60 (with which — the ratings, not the show — we’re a little bit obsessed). So we’ll do it for them: According to our calculations, Monday marks the first-ever time that an episode of NBC’s embattled skit-show-within-hectoring-dramedy pulled in more viewers than the previous one. That’s right: For its entire ten-episode run to date, Studio 60 was on an unbroken slide. After the original catastrophic plummet from the pilot’s 13.14 million viewers to the second episode’s 10.82 to the third one’s 8.85, it has been steadily losing 20,000 to 50,000 viewers each week. Critical accolades didn’t help (not that any, it should be noted, came from this magazine). But lo! Monday’s audience numbered 7.45 million versus last week’s 7.31, reversing the season-long death spiral. The lesson? Sanctimony sells!
Update: Now we know: “STUDIO 60 SCORES HIGHEST RATINGS IN SEVEN WEEKS ACROSS ALL KEY ADULTS,” proclaims the NBC release.
Earlier: Early-Adopter Fans Kill ‘Studio 60’! (Maybe.)
The Aaron Sorkin Show [NYM]
Early-Adopter Fans Kill ‘Studio 60’! (Maybe.)
On last night’s episode of Studio 60, the fictional president of the fictional network explains the ultra-desirable demographic of “alpha consumers,” by way of an extended Vanity Fair plug. That magazine’s readers, says Jordan McDeere, are ideal viewers for her show: “The first to know, the first to try, and the first to buy. They are influencers and pleasure-seekers.” Given the real Studio 60’s Nielsens performance, we can’t help wondering if these moneyed early adopters are precisely the problem.