Monday, March 27, 2006

Save Our Shows!

If you're a fan of a show that's got pretty middling ratings, this would be the week to start watching it, writing people letters, telling all of your friends to watch, etc.

A list of shows on the bubble is not hard to come by. A list of QUALITY shows on the bubble is what I aim to provide here.

For my money, there are three shows on the bubble that TV should not lose. They are:

Everwood
Sons & Daughters
Veronica Mars

You may not agree with me. So go write your own post/letters. Thank you.

Everwood remains one of the finest family dramas in TV history. (Admittedly, the competition isn't exactly stiff. There's "The Waltons" and. . .) It returns TONIGHT on The WB for a special two hour engagement at 8 p.m. EST/PST, 7 p.m. CST/MST. Starting next week, it settles in to its regular time slot, which is 9 p.m. EST/PST, 8 p.m. CST/MST. It will have all new episodes through the end of the season.

The show's ratings are pretty good, all things considered (The WB moved it opposite CSI, hoping to kill it, but it managed to hang on to much of its audience). But since the show's network is merging with another one, that means a lot of shows are going to be left out in the cold. While I would put chances of an Everwood renewal at about 50/50, you should watch and write letters just in case.

If you want to write a letter, here are the addresses:

Les Moonves
President CBS
7800 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, California
U.S.A., 90036
Phone: (213) 852-2345

Dawn Ostrow
President, UPN-TV
11800 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: (310) 575-7000

(Moonves will be overseeing the new network, though he won't be as hands-on as he is with CBS. Ostrow is the new network's president.)

Sons & Daughters debuted well enough to think it might get a second season. Then, it went up against American Idol and plummeted in the ratings. Summarily, ABC has stopped promoting it as heavily as they used to be. As such, this week is really its last chance. If it can't pick up its ratings, it almost certainly will be canceled. If it can, it has a fighting chance. The show airs on ABC this Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST/PST, 8 p.m. CST/MST. Please give it a chance.

I know some of you don't like this show as much as me (and I'll admit that it has had some off moments, but every show in its first season has those). Still, it's worth keeping around because it's something different and it seems like the sort of show that would take off in a second season (creatively and otherwise) like The Office did.

If you like the show, please write to:

Sons & Daughters
ABC Audience Relations
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-4551

That address, by the way, is from Fred Goss' excellent blog. He's the show's creator and executive producer. He also plays Cameron, writes many of the episodes and directs most of them. So it's an interesting read.

Veronica Mars is actually in pretty good shape of being renewed (eonline.com says it has a 96% chance), but the ratings have been abysmal for the last few weeks as it has gone up against American Idol AND Lost AND Criminal Minds, which are all solid hits (American Idol is just kicking the crap out of everything this year). This week and next week, Veronica airs at 9 p.m. EST/PST, 8 p.m. CST/MST on UPN on Wednesday.

However, on April 11, the show moves to 9 p.m. EST/PST, 8 p.m. CST/MST on UPN on TUESDAY. This is partially to test how it would do with Gilmore Girls as a (pseudo) leadin, but also to give it a little breathing room (even IF that timeslot is perhaps even WORSE). If you like mystery shows, give Veronica a chance.

If you want to write a letter, the address is the same as it was for Everwood above.

Now, the harsh truth. Most of you reading this blog are NOT Nielsen families. That means that no matter what you watch, it will have no bearing (unless you have a DVR, though the networks don't really care about those ratings, as most of us skip commercials). The Nielsens are calculated through an outdated sampling technique that worked much better in the age of only three networks and PBS. However, installing ratings boxes in EVERYone's TV would be a little too Big Brother-y, so we keep doing this. If you're going to ask me, "How would I KNOW if I were a Nielsen family?" you would KNOW. They would tell you.

But you CAN write letters. Letter-writing campaigns have saved MANY a show (most famously, Cagney and Lacey, which went on to become a top 10 hit). Networks can measure ACTUAL passion from letter-writing campaigns.

So if you enjoy one of these shows (or any other show on the bubble), go to your desk and write an old-fashioned letter. Include some information about yourself (your age and gender especially) and send that letter out (it's probably a good idea to put an ATTN: Save Veronica Mars or ATTN: Save Sons & Daughters on the outside too). Usually, e-mails and phone calls are counseled against. It takes actual effort to write a letter (or type a letter), and you have to buy a stamp.

See? Those letter-writing skills your mom made you learn are good for something after all!

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