Posts Tagged ‘ratings’

Strong Ratings

Season 3 of Beyond Scared Straight premiered on Dec 8th.  Based on the ratings provided by TVbytheNumbers, the show pulled in 2.1 million viewers, 0.9 being in the Adult 18-49 group.  Compared to the other shows that aired that Thursday night, Beyond Scared Straight did very well with ratings.  If it wasn’t for a football game and a couple of Christmas themed movies, Beyond Scared Straight would have been the top rating show for the night.


Controversial Shows

Here is a list of controversial shows, past and present.  As stated in a previous post, controversy can act as a double-edged sword; it can help a show gain ratings or help it get cancelled.  From these shows, which are the ones that got hurt by controversy?

Beavis and Butthead (1993 – 1997) – promotes dangerous behavior, violence, sex

The Simpsons (1987 – Present) – Bart (poor role model), dysfunctional family

Ren and Stimpy (1991 – 1996) – violence, harsh language

Cops (1989 – Present) – focuses on crime among poor

The Smothers Brothers (1967 – 1969) – racist, Vietnam War

Married…with Children (1987 – 1997) – sexist, dysfunctional family

Southpark (1997 – Present) – harsh language, violence, dark humor

Family Guy (1999 – 2002 & 2005 – Present) – racist, offensive language, violence

Jackass (2000 – 2002) – promotes dangerous behavior

$64,000 Question (1955 – 1958) – rigged quiz show

Jersey Shore (2009 – Present) – promiscuity, binge drinking, portrayal of Italian-Americans

Expedition Robinson (1997 – Present) – Sinisa Savija committed suicide

Welcome to the Neighborhood (never aired)


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 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.