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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.

25 comments:

McGehee said...

We TiVo the show, and we figured on catching Palin's speech on YouTube the next day so that didn't even figure into it.

We'd seen promos before the "Sons" premiere and honestly it was Ron Perlman who made us decide to record that one. Once we screened it we were hooked.

I have to admit that the quality of the show actually worries me, since it's very easy for a really good show to carry a burden of unrealistic ratings expectations, but if you're finding that the ratings are looking good I find that very reassuring.

nakeisha4ever said...

so in a nutshell kurt is it too early to speak on a season 2..will we have one? soa definitely has a fanbase so whats with the execs?

Fabian said...

So is the show in danger of being canceled in spite of the decent ratings, just out of disappointment in regard to the expectations? As I said in another comment...I really hope SOA will live on...I'm in love with it already. Incredible stuff.

Tenley said...

Son's is by far the best show on TV. I rent it on Xbox live Thursday after I watch both the 10:00 and 11:00pm showings on the FX, so I can watch it more than a few times during the week then I make it a point to watch all of the episodes before the new one comes out on Wednesday. There has never been a show this captivating. Aside from a few books, nothing in my lifetime has ever drawn me in like the story that is being told in Son's. I may not have a Nielsen box, or be one of those people who sit in front of the TV, but I can tell you that were out there, and were watching, and waiting for every new episode.
~ A

troutbum said...

It is a fantastic show, being raised in the hills east of lodi, Amador County, we have a special appreciation for it. I was raised around meth all over the place, school, home, society in general, so many of your charachters hit home.......

I love it....

My dad and I haven't missed one yet, plus we've re watched every one!

Jon

P.S. we wanna know where it's filmed though

Outsider said...

We're with you Kurt...Don't let the Mother Pucker in
Pitiabull Lipstick Get Ya' down....

Now...I'm just hopin' this horror talk show I'm doin' in
East L.A. next week ain't a Necktie Party Sponsored by the M*****LS for Opining too much on Biker Lore...

The MMA fighter host said there'll be 13 killers there,
(people who've killed in horror films...I'm guilty), but the number 13 spooks me...sounds like 12 Jury and One Executioner...

Ah Well....Guess Sadly Each of Us our Cross We Bear....

Just hope Rudebert DurtCock doesn't get Foxy with a Gr8 show like Yours in this End O Days Economy that the Reverse Mida Bush has left us...

I was starting to think, a few months ago, that the U.S. would be the one enterprise too strong to succumb to his Ruinous touch...but it don't look that Way :. (

Keep the Faith Brah!

Samantha said...

I've come across your blog through googling Sons of Anarchy. I'm absolutely hooked and can't wait until the next episode airs. I'm in the UK so am watching it all online, but have just sat through the first 3 episodes in a row and need another fix!

A well-deserved congratulations to you for crafting such a fabulous show.

The Magic Kitchen said...

Word...

DpPaul said...

Kurt,
We care about and love SOA as much as you do.
On behalf of your crew,
Paul

ant159 said...

thats a lot of love for SOA kurt.. let me ask a question as i know nothing about show business... if for some strange reason FX bails on SOA do you have the ownership or power to go to another network.. i hope so because we want this show to last for a long time...

Clinton Keith said...

I've enjoyed the show so far. Learning more about "Sam Crow" and the character development has been great.

I'm hoping it keeps going because after "The Shield" wraps and with "Deadwood" canceled, there is far too little out there to watch like this.

Good luck.

Louis said...

first few eps of SOA have been great - keep it up!

but mate! does jay karnes ALWAYS have to play someone who's awkward around women? when tara slammed the phone on kohn, i couldn't help but crack up because it reminded me so much of dutch!

sip said...

Sons is an engaging and amazing ride! I am really a big fan and can't imagine the show not being there, and that's after only three episodes! I watch on OnDemand so I can savor the episode without distraction. Stay the course and thank you for bringing this show to life, it is appreciated & admired.

alohalani said...

Is there some way we "non-nielson" viewers can let the network know how much we love this show! I tuned into "Sons" for Ron Perlman, but I've stayed because the writing and acting are so compelling. I can't wait to see where this goes and hope you have many more seasons to explore these characters. Congrats to you and your extremely talented wife on such a great show and for taking us all along for the ride.

P.S. Thanks also for showing an over 40 couple with such an obviously physical relationship. Too often writers seem to forget that it's not just the 20-somethings who enjoy being together.

Also, side request for us Ron fans, a steamy scene between Clay and Gemma would be appreciated.

Brian Holbrook said...

Hell of a good episode tonight. You, your cast, and your crew have a damned good show and I hope that, like Rescue Me and The Shield, numbers give way to quality.

From a Washington State biker, bravo.

Bonga coffee said...

SOA is excellent material it's just plain good T.V.! With all the hoop la goin on in the media surrounding this fuckin please just hurry up and die election! The public needs to be able to decompress and fall into a world of rough and tough bikers that don't give a shit and stand up for what they belive in, which is what most people wish they could do or be anyway, so this show has to go on!

Dont let the ratings decieve you they may have not been what you expected but I think with a creative viral marketing approach (which the studio should be or should have already come up with for fuck sake)SOA will definetly achieve those numbers needed.
Every sunday I used to host Sopranos at my house, hot chicks,plenty of chianti,italian dishes, then we would sit back and soak up all Chase had to give us that week.

I'm organizing a Wednesday SOA night Burbon, Burgers and Bitches... and everyone attending has to wear leather to get in thats mandatory so you got our vote man just keep turning out that hot material!!!
Dont worry it will work out....

Grizzly Kaz said...

Kurt,

really enjoy the show (and am thrilled my favorite character Opie MIGHT make an appearance next week).

Hope to see a season two.

Keep on writing,

Signorina Spara

P.S. I completely ignored Sarah Palin's speech was too busy watching old Biker films in anticipation of SoA.

Cameron said...

Hate your politics, but love your show. Wish I had a Nielsen box just so I could add one more to your ratings.

turbuhlence said...

Your show....it rocks! I don't normally watch tv, but this I do watch. Sorry to say it is from a tivo so hope that goes to your ratings. It's nice to see something besides that disgusting "reality" stuff on. Hey, have you checked out how many times it gets downloaded from the internet? The show is on fire in downloads.

indie_usual said...

It's a great show and I think it is most surprising to me how it appeals on so many levels. I frankly expected testosterone overload, but the women's roles are as strong as the men's and that does amazing things for the entire story. Every episode has gotten stronger and I hope the networks can be patient that the numbers will come, because this is a show that deserves a chance.

kgirl said...

I rarely watch TV and don't get cable. So when some chums started talking about your show, I begrudging pulled up the premiere on Hulu. Wasn't sure (a bit more testosterone than I'm used to)... but ... amazingly... I found myself having to *BUY* SoA off of iTunes every week. I just can't wait for it to show up on Hulu 8 days later. Heck. During Hurrican Ike, when our power was out, we sat in front of a closed Jamba Juice with the laptop plugged into the lighter so we could get to the internet and download your show! How's that for committment! I bet that didn't show up on the execs ratings radar.
My all-fem friends and I chat about the show all week long and you certainly have us guessing, squealing, cheering, peeking through our fingers, and generally enthralled. Thanks for casting some of our favorite actors, as well! Great job to all! We can't get enough. PS. Keep blogging!

Anonymous said...

I'll be honest, I knew I would be watching the show the minute I saw the first ad with Charlie Hunnam and Katey Sagal in it.. Charlie is an amazing actor and you are an amazing writer, it is about time there is a show on tv that women and men can watch and talkl about together that is both politically stimulating and just plain entertaining.. and intelligent. So many programs are written with the obvious assumption that the viewers are vapid.

michael froton said...

Kurt, We watch every time it's on weds are exciting waiting for 10:00 Don't worry about raitings your through the roof
Michael

DejaDead13 said...

Well deserved ratings success. I haven't been pulled into a show as quickly as this since the early episodes of the West Wing.
Intelligent, clear, clever writing. Intelligent, subtle and emotive acting. Interesting visually and just fine story telling.... with the added fun of watching for the Hamlet references!! And some of the best one-liners I've ever heard.
I'm already looking forward to the boxset !!

Saint Disturbing said...

how is i going? Ive been a fan of your writing since I started atching the shield, eve more when I found out you played Margos,

i have a question, I wanna help with the ratings,I watch the show on demand on thursdays, does that affect the show, in a bad way?