Can The Public Alter Television?

[This item was originally posted to The Media Drop]

We all know that ratings seemingly rule the roost when it comes to deciding what’s going to be a program that sticks in the prime-time lineup, and which programs walk, or make their way to the summer schedule. The endless Nielsen ratings we hear about are in your USA Today to read and see what people are watching. Somewhere, some television exec is sitting a room watching the results change for various programs, and making decisions based on them.

Well, what would happen if the “ratings” system wasn’t what really mattered?

Earlier today I came across this press release from a group of television viewers, or more specifically, fans of the NBC “dramedy”, as they describe it, “Ed”. The fans seem to not only be concerned about losing their favorite program, but the loss of sit-com or dramatic programming, asking “How far will the networks go before all scripted television becomes extinct?” More information can be found at the “Ed” campaign headquarters“.

This is definitely a shot across the bow of so called “reality” programming where people are put on an island, in an apartment, given jobs, or whatever, and everything is filmed. While some of it can be entertaining, a lot of people (including myself) feel that year after year (or season after season) of basically the same issues gets kind of…well…boring after a while. Interestingly enough, here seems to be some industrious individuals who have banded together to not only “campaign” to keep a show on the air, but reportedly have an advertisement in today’s Variety magazine.

Could this make a difference? I’m not sure it could, as networks have already made a lot of decisions having to do with the Fall schedule for this year – but I suppose we’ll see in the coming days, especially if this story gets picked up by some online or print publications. Could it turn out that the people that matter more are the ones who seem to “care” about their programs, rather than those who just happen to have the television program on at any given moment?

Best of luck, fans of “Ed”!

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