Thursday, September 18, 2008
I AM POWERLESS OVER RATINGS AND MY THURDAYS HAVE BECOME UNMANAGABLE
I HATE FUCKING THURSDAYS Thursday is the day I speak to the network about ratings from the Wednesday night airing. I hate that I desperately seek the numbers that monitor how many Nielsen boxes are tuned into Sons of Anarchy. I crave it like a fucking junkie. I go to bed thinking about them, fantasizing best and worst case scenarios. I wake up half drunk on fear. I pray, turn it over, ask my god to remove the obsession. That gives me about nine minutes of relief. I sit at my desk and stare at the phone, waiting for the post lunch call. The fix. How many people watched? How many people love me? Is it good? Am I enough? DVR numbers? 18-49? Overall? Tracking? Intent to watch? Penis size? It's fucking crippling. In those moments I wish I didn't care. I wish it was just a fucking paycheck. But alas, I do care. I love this project and the money's just absurd icing on the corpse-shaped cake. PALIN-SIZED GASH We are still hurting from the initial crush we got from the RNC the night of the premier. The truth is, Sons of Anarchy was tracking off the charts. Better than any other FX show. No one would say it, but everyone was expecting a record-breaking, boffo premier number. When that didn't happen and our premier was a "modest" success, the general vibe from the Fox bosses was disappointment. That wound is still bleeding. So even though our dropoffs are on par with any successful show, the fact that everyone expected a higher initial number makes the ratings seem less than impressive. I unfortunately get caught up in that malaise. It fucks with me. Makes me feel like a failure. Pisses me off. Fortunately I get to channel that discontent into my work. So when the critics slam me for the uber-violence in the show, they can blame Nielsen. Bodies are fucking dropping. WE'RE GOLDEN We are actually doing very well. In the 18-49 (only number advertisers actually pay for) we are only down 20% in week three from the pilot. And I think we're only down 12% in over-all viewers. Statistically, that's gold. $$$$ Everyone knows the numbers are all smoke. Back in the day before DVR's, the Nielsen science made sense, but now, with ever-changing viewing habits, it's so fucking speculative, so inaccurate, so imperfect... yet, still so bloody important. It's the only tool we have to measure viewership. And at the end of the day, advertisers need to know who and how many people are watching the show. That's what pays the checks we are so fond of receiving. Let us not forget, the TV was created to sell soap. And the first image ever transmitted was a dollar sign.
Posted by Kurt Sutter at 9/18/2008 11:49:00 PM