Thursday, November 17, 2016

Daytime filler TV

During the baseball playoffs, once we finally found FS1 (up near the Korean channel), we were bombarded with ads for the Skip Bayless-Shannon Sharpe show, yet another talking-heads sports debate smackathon. The daytime hours are filled with them. So-called experts analyzing the crap out of everything from LeBron James’ bathroom habits to Tom Brady’s dexterity assembling Ikea furniture. In an attempt to make the debate good television the participants generally scream at each other, taunt each other, and act like Raider fans.

A thousand hours a week are devoted on these various cable shows to which backup quarterback the Dallas Cowboys should call on first. They’re still arguing over last year’s NBA Finals. They almost get into fist fights over whether Corey Kluber should throw a slider on a 2-1 count.

It’s madness. And mind-numbing. And complete bullshit. These “experts” are wrong more often than they’re right. And even when they’re right, who cares? The instrument has not been devised that can measure my indifference over Ohio State’s road schedule.

And yet these ads proclaim these shows on FS1 (and ESPN) as must-see TV. There are 276 of these daytime cable sports talk shows. On a recent Monday (where they had the previous weekend of NFL to analyze along with that night’s MNF game, the baseball playoffs, and previewing the start of the NBA season) 269 of these shows were beaten in the ratings by GUNSMOKE on TV LAND. What does that tell you?

GUNSMOKE (a fifty-year-old Western) averaged 676,000 viewers. ESPN’s “First Take” drew 312,000 and FS1’s Skip Bayless’ show attracted a paltry 131,000. GUNSMOKE outranked the both of them combined.  America is skipping Bayless. 

Yes, I’m sure the sports smackdowns drew more younger viewers, but how many considering such low overall totals? And how much are these cable networks paying to produce these live shows and lock up these hosts while TV LAND probably shelled out pocket change for GUNSMOKE.

So the next time Fox airs an ad saying FS1 is the number one cable network (where the fuck do they get that?) and Skip Bayless is a major star, just remember, Matt Dillon is kicking his ass. THAT’S the Dallas Cowboy Skip needs to worry about.

41 comments:

Jeannie said...

This has nothing to do with your post today, but so happy that your boy Vin Scully is getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Well deserved!

Bill Jones said...

Ken, did you ever read the late, great Fire Joe Morgan blog (co-authored by Mike Schur)? It's defunct, though still up. It frequently targeted the talking-head sports shows that you rightly disdain.

Peter said...

Ken, you must be happy at the news that Vin Scully is to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

Something else in the news I saw that might interest you. Robert Wagner has published his memoirs in which he writes about Natalie Wood. He's quoted as saying “When Natalie died, I thought my life was over. Luckily I had the help of a great many people who loved her and who loved me as well.”

Anonymous said...

They're like punch and judy shows but without the physical comedy, or the acting talent, or the dramatic conflict....so really I suppose they're in no way like punch and judy shows.

Um, yeah, so uh...nevermind.

:Sean sheepishly retreats from keyboard:

Sean

Andrew said...

Yeah, but ... c'mon. It's GUNSMOKE.

Speaking of experts who know nothing, I'm still waiting for the pollsters and pundits who called this election to get fired.

Stoney said...

Is it too late to pitch a "Frasier" spinoff called "Bulldog" in which Briscoe has this type of show?

BA said...

I think a lot of daytime programming is a skeleton to hang commercials on, like cable's no-choice "channel packages", just as there are many people who watch sports with the sound off. Those loud motormouths want to keep you pinned to the chair until the next lonnng commercial break. THE RIFLEMAN has been on TV all my life and I've hated that fucking show all my life, knowing it will be on until the End Days.

Paul Duca said...

I'm sure their audience will grow, as more young men find themselves sitting at home...waiting for Trump to pull a job out from under his rug.

Charles Cavender said...

I highly recommend Dan Patrick's show. It's very comfortable and not even a bit belligerent.

Mike Barer said...

It's a niche market, the people who watch Skip are the people who watch.

blinky said...

This is an extension of the Politics as a contact sport syndrome.

ELS said...

Cory Kluber throw a slider on a 2-1 count? Are you mad? He should stick to the heater. :)

VP81955 said...

If I'm going to watch a daytime sports talk show, it probably will be from a network covering the sport I'm interested in -- MLB Network (Christopher Russo's show, Intentional Talk, etc.), the NHL Network (I love hockey!), the Big Ten Network (Maryland's basketball teams, men and women, each are 2-0) and so on. ESPN and Fox Sports both are too concerned with casual fans and national followings; I'm more interested in what the Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers are doing than that other team in the Metroplex, and I don't mean the Mavericks.

Jim said...

Kluber should throw the slider on the 2-1 count. So should Miller.

Lou H. said...

Fs1's claim that they're the number one sports network is based on ratings during one week in October when they carried the NLCS.

Keith Nichols said...

I thought Skip Bayless wore out his welcome several years ago. That thought may have influenced other potential viewers to give his new show a miss.

The Big Guy said...

And just think how many of those 131,000 are just background noise in sports bars or doctor offices

Carson Clark said...

I can still find myself getting sucked into an episode of Gunsmoke if I'm flipping around. Although, I still have some hard feelings that Gunsmoke directly resulted in the cancelation of Top 30 Gilligan's Island. Gilligan's Island would have an eight year run if it were on TV today.

ChipO said...

Are the stats you cite available to the non-insider?
I'd enjoy comparing Housewives, Storage Wars, cooking shows, and, the various jewelry sales shows to Gunsmoke.
Also, your wise insight about how those stats are gathered would also be appreciated.
(Perhaps we readers have a "duty" to suggest topics to help you keep going for another 11.)
Thanks,

Carol said...

The only time I ever watched a sports talk show is the one where Gary Lineker came on wearing only his pants (underwear) as he'd promised to do if Leicester City won the premiere league. Which they did. (Go Foxes!)

DrBOP said...

Obama just keeps hittin'em outta 'da park:

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/208993582/vin-scully-to-receive-medal-of-freedom/

And Scully sez "just".

Jahn Ghalt said...

Hey Ken, could you tune in and see what Shannon and Skip are saying about "posse" as a derogatory term when used by the standard for "players' coaches" - a Hall-of-Famer - about a future Hall-of-Famer?

(actually I don't care what most retired NFL players say about anything)

You'd think Jackson called LeBron's men (don't say boys) a bunch of PU$$!ES.

It's no coincidence that the Emmy-award for sports yakity yak has lately gone to the men who use that term about themselves, mostly speak in a normal tone, and generally acknowledge that sport is fun and not that serious.

I "discovered" Bill Simmons through his 300,000-word tome on the NBA a few years back, so this summer I put his Wednesday HBO yak-show on the recording rotation and enjoyed the intelligent talk involving not just sports figures but the likes of Seth Rogan and a rap dude whose name I forgot. It was cancelled last week while the noise persists - go figure.

CRL said...

What I get out of this is not enough people are watching Gunsmoke.

benson said...

I very very much agree with Charles Cavender. DP is the best. Guy Talk at its best without the crap.

And Charles, I know you are also pulling for Fritzy to pull through his DOUBLE hernia surgery today. :)

Bryan Robinson said...

Love this ...so, so true. All of it.

tb said...

I was surprised to hear that the Simpsons is JUST NOW passing Gunsmoke as the longest running show

BluePedal said...

Give me a moldy oldies cable network and I'll show you how to draw viewers away from Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe and that charismatic Paul Finebaum.

Madam's Place Mondays. Three's Company twofer Tuesdays. Workout Wednesdays featuring the 20 Minute Workout (Always a ratings grabber). Three Stooges Thursdays. Free Form Friday's Featuring Family Fun = Cartoons. Weekends will be filled with MST3K, SCTV, and old SNL episodes.

For overnights and against the NFL I will run retro infomercials. Tom Vu, Wayne Phillips, Dick Butkus' Qwik Cook Grill - you know, all the classics.

For Sunday sermon it will be a rotation of Ernest Angley and Robert Tilton. Every once in a while I'll throw in a Gene Scott episode to scare the children.

MacGilroy said...

only sports talk I can stomach is Men in Blazers.

Pat Howard said...

Skips ah dip

thomas tucker said...

Actually, the Dallas Cowboy that Skip Bayless needs to worry about is Troy Aikman. Aikman is still might pissed that Bayless implied Aikman was gay back in his Dallas sportwriting days.

LouOCNY said...

Speaking of GUNSMOKE, on the COZI channel they show MAVERICK at like 3am Sunday night, and the other night it was the classic "Gun Shy" episode, which throws in every Gunsmoke cliche...(they even threw a reference to Paladin in for good measure) - fun stuff

Karl H. said...

I've never understood why things like the staged-argument sports shows are called "good television." Or why that term is used if a talk show guest gets belligerent or something else embarrassing happens. To me, the phrase "good television" has an entirely different meaning.

Mike B. said...

FS1 claimed the #1 spot due to their ratings during the one week they had the NLCS. If you have a microscope you maybe able to read the fine print on a 72" TV.

Cap'n Bob said...

Nitpick time, even though I enjoyed the post and agreed with it 100%.

Matt Dillon is a marshal, not a cowboy, and he works in Dodge City, Kansas, not Dallas, Texas. I know you know this and were using comedic license, but I wanted to clarify that for the younger readers.

MikeN said...

We younger readers know Matt Dillon is an actor who competed with Brett Favre for the attentions of Cameron Diaz.

Cap'n Bob said...

That Matt Dillon isn't a patch on the one played by James Arness.

VP81955 said...

Or William Conrad on radio.

Peter said...

How much do you want to bet that Vin Scully voted for Trump? :-)

KCDennis said...

They bill the Bayless/Sharpe show as the "fastest growing talk show on sports TV," or some such rot. Mathematically, I suppose that's true. If you have five viewers and you increase to ten, your audience has increased 100%. "Fastest-growing show" usually means nobody's watching.

Dave OConnell said...

I've long felt that way about the proliferation of liberal late-night TV talk shows. How many different ways do you want to split that small segment of TV viewers who can't hear enough endless variations of 'Trump is Hitler' jokes every weeknight?

Roger Owen Green said...

I tired of those FS1 ads, and it made want to NEVER watch.