Archive for November, 2011

Ratings

Everyone knows that controversy sells.  Look at what happened with UK’s Celebrity Big Brother.  The show was getting poor ratings until a couple of the contestants made a racist remark towards a fellow contestant, an Indian actress.  The remark received tons of media coverage, which in turn helped boost the show’s ratings.

MTV was hoping that its new show, Skins, based on a hit British show about the “true” lives of teenagers would be a huge hit.  Skins, would cover controversial topics, such has promiscuity and drug abuse.  When people started talking about the show and its risque content, MTV was sure it would become a hit. So it was a major disappointment when the show had to be cancelled due to extremely low ratings.

This website lists the top 20 greatest TV controversies.  All 20 are interesting but #16 clearly tells you that the controversy helped with ratings.  Drama and shock value draw audiences in.  Even though it was unfortunate that one of the contestants of Expedition Robinson committed suicide, we learned in class that the incident caused a stir among the public which in turn drastically increased the ratings for the show.  However, it must not be forgotten that controversy can act as a double-edged sword.  Controversies have the potential to cause the demise of shows.  Recent shows such as NBC’s The Playboy Club and ABC’s V were both cancelled due to the controversies surrounding each show.

I’ve already stated in a previous post that there has been much controversy with Beyond Scared Straight regarding the effectiveness of the various “behind bars” programs in America.  I want to look at how the controversy effected the ratings for the show.

These are the ratings I found for the show.  I got them from TVbytheNumbers; they had the ratings spread across 4 pages and I put them together for easier viewing.  There really doesn’t seem to be a spike in the ratings.  Does this mean that the controversy didn’t really effect the ratings?

What do you think?

1. Why do you like watching Beyond Scared Straight? 

Here are some questions to consider: Are you curious on how the inside of a prison/jail looks like?  Did you know someone that was going to be on the show?  Do you just want to see these kids break down? (Because that’s actually why I watch it…I enjoy watching the aggressive inmates giving a reality check to these arrogant kids who think they know everything & are untouchable).

 

2. How do you feel about the various behind bars programs in America?

Do you think the whole “scared straight” concept works?  Does it make a difference?  Do you think these programs help in decreasing teen delinquency?  Should it be used as a form of parenting?  Does how you feel about the program affect whether or not you watch the show?

Ratings Record

According to deadline.com regarding the series premiere on January 13, 2011:

The premiere of A&E’s new unscripted series Beyond Scared Straight last night became the most watched and highest rated original series debut on the network ever. The series, based on the award-winning documentary Scared Straight! and executive produced by Arnold Shapiro, drew 3.7 million viewers, 2.2 million of them in the 18-49 demographic and 2.1 million in 25-54 for the 90-minute premiere, which aired at 10 PM.

Detailed Research Methods

To find out why exactly the show is popular, I will talk to fans about their perspective.  I will ask them why they enjoy watching the show and then tally the answers.  I will also read through the various Beyond Scared Straight discussion boards to see what exactly people are saying and how they are reacting after each episode.  What I have gathered so far from these discussion boards is that people enjoy watching these “tough” teens break down.  They find entertainment in watching these deviant teens walk into the program all big and bad, thinking they are tough and untouchable, go through the program and end up crying and being broken down to show their vulnerabilities.  People seem to like watching these teens truly get a reality check; that they are not as tough and invincible as they think they are.  The few fans that I have been able to speak to about the show all agree that they enjoy watching how these teens “get what is coming to them” and that they need to get some “sense knocked into them.”