Vast And Mysterious Flock Of Unidentified Viewers Still Watch CBS Programming

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Summer ratings are out, defined by Nielsen in this instance as the period between 5/24 and 8/22. The ratings are as mystifying as ever, showing a large contingent of people who voluntarily watch CBS programming. CBS has 5 out of the top ten most watched summer series, while FOX has 3, NBC has 2 and ABC laid a summer ratings goose-egg (people were apparently out trying to find their own McDreamy rather than watching him bed an entire hospital staff).
The real story is CBS actually having viewers. They’re out there, among us. They look just like you and me. “He seemed like a normal guy,” the neighbor’s testimonial always says, “I couldn’t tell he watched the King of Queens.”
Who watches CBS? Is it an AARP thing? Is it a Blue/Red state thing? Do CBS viewers have the super-power that they able to tell which cable boxes are Nielsen boxes? We’re desperately trying to understand, as no one we’ve ever met watches programming on CBS, or will admit to doing so. In fact, no one we’ve ever met has ever met anyone who watches CBS programming. In fact, knowing someone who watches CBS has become more novel or hip than having a gay, disabled, terminally ill or concert zitherist friend. It’s a defining characteristic, “Oh yeah, you remember Jim, the one who watches CBS...”
Aside from the four simultaneous versions of CSI that CBS runs (we weren’t aware the CSI franchise was this out of control - it's only a matter of time before they come out with CSI:CBS or CSI:CSI (chronicling crimes that happen only on the set of CSIs)), another permanent fixture in the top ten is Two and a Half Men. A funny drinking game to play when watching Two and a Half Men (the same went doubly for Everybody Loves Violently Bleeding From The Ears Raymond) is to do a shot every time the “This Laughter Is Bringing Me To Orgasm” laugh track plays after a non-event (DB does not endorse or sponsor this activity, as you will die). It’s amazing – they’ve almost effectively replaced actual jokes and punch-lines with cuing the laugh track (unless there’s something about Charlie Sheen raising an eyebrow that I’m missing).
One promising trend in the summer ratings was the demise of reality shows, as viewers are finally starting to realize that “professional” reality show auditioners/contestants are way more annoying than real actors, although the only difference is the networks’ own forced semantic finagling. Unfortunately reality shows have been displaced with American Idol style programming, which cannot die fast enough (although we always marvel over how airtight the contracts and release forms people sign to get on these shows must be, since no one ever comes out and talks about how ridiculously scripted they are).
Television: Stat Snapshot [Wall Street Journal]
PS - We occasionally watch How I Met Your Mother

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