This piece ran on NPR's Tuesday's Morning Edition --
Advertisers Push Nielsen To Count Online Viewers
I love NPR, but for the record -- the comments that were played on this segment were taken out of context from an entirely different interview. It was the one I did last month about Leno moving out of the 10 pm slot. I was asked to discuss the differences between the viewing habits of the nine and ten o'clock slots. My reply was that I really didn't know what the viewing habits were. I then went off on a bit of a tangent about how research that studied viewing habits was the worst thing to happen to writers since the invention of reality TV. What I said had nothing to do with the Nielsens specifically. I wasn't talking about research that measured numbers. I was discussing research that attempted to identify viewing habits -- when, why, how people watch television. That's the kind of research that executives live and die by. They will base important creative decisions on "how they think people may respond" to a particular topic, character, serialization, etc. So writers are subject to ridiculous mandates based on a completely inaccurate and arbitrary science. How fucking honest and thorough are you when someone calls and interupts your day with, "do you mind taking a few minutes to answer some questions about..."
That's what I was responding to when I said that "The worst thing to happen to television watching was research about television watching". It was about statistical research shitting all over the creative process. I was not commenting on the way the Neilsens measure viewers.