View Full Version : ABC Plans for May Sweeps

Another Voice
04-18-2003, 12:51 PM
You know, it’s always been said that reality is stranger than fiction. Every now and then the Universe just has to hit us over the head to prove the point. It’s always a painful lesson, and one I learned many years ago, but the cosmos is simply insistent…

Disney’s ABC Network has just sent out a gushing press release about its plans for the May ratings sweeps. ABC is already stuck in fourth place and this represents they’re last chance to gain any kind of positive movement at all. With the stakes so high they are basing their last, best hope on…


Yes, that’s right: bloopers.

Things get kicked off on April 28th (the start of the sweeps period ) with ‘ABC’S 50th ANNIVERSARY BLOOPER CELEBRATION, PART 1’. It’s going to be a fun filled hour hosted by Dick Clark and featuring “ABC’s biggest stars from the past 50 years”. We’ll be treated to bloopers from show such as ‘Bossom Buddies’, ‘McHale’s Navy’, ‘8 Simple Rules’, ‘Happy Days’ and ‘The Soupy Sales Show’.

But wait – that’s right, on the following Monday we get ‘ABC’S 50th ANNIVERSARY BLOOPER CELEBRATION, PART 2’ which will features outtakes from shows such as ‘Donny and Marie’, ‘The Lawrence Welk Show’, ‘According to Jim’, The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom’, ‘The Practice’, ‘Tennessee Ernie Ford Christmas Special’, ‘Too Close for Comfort’, and ‘Laverne & Shirley’.

In a move that must be meant to prove the magical® synergy of Disney, the night before we will have the chance to see ‘ESPN’S BLUNDERFUL WORLD OF SPORTS’ hosted by Jim Belushi. The press release describes this show as “ESPN’s one-hour special featuring blunders that both surprise and amaze and make the wide world of sports truly wonderful. The laugh-packed telecast counts down the top 10 blunder classics from major and not-so-major sports.”

That show will be followed by ‘TIM ALLEN PRESENTS: A USER’S GUIDE TO HOME IMPROVEMENT’ which is described as “Tim Allen presents his own favorite clips and show bloopers, and shares personal reflections while referring to his handbook, ‘A User’s Guide to Home Improvement.’”. I guess this is slightly different since it’s a blooper show and a plug for the book all in one.

And just in case you haven’t had your fill of bloopers yet, Disney is unveiling ‘ALL ABC BLOOPERS’ on May 12. This show promises to be really different because it will be hosted by Dick Clark and “features funny out-takes from popular ABC shows and local newscasts from around the United States. Using film and tape segments, viewers will be treated to bleeped ad-libs, forgotten lines and uncontrollable laughter from some of ABC’s favorite stars”.

We’ll also be treated to a very special two hour ‘AMERICA’S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS – SEASON FINALE’ where “One lucky finalist’s life will change forever when the votes are submitted and tallied to choose the $100,000 grand prize winner. This episode includes a special Mother’s Day tribute.” How nice for dear old mom.

Amazing as it sounds; ABC will actually try and get some non-blooper programming during the month. They include two hour season finales for ‘Alias’, ‘The Practice’, and ‘The Bachelor’ and special one hour finales for ‘The World According to Jim’ and ‘My Wife and Kids’.

The big movie events are ‘Forest Gump’, ‘Charile’s Angels’, ‘E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial’, ‘The Diary of Ellen Rimbaur’ (a prequel to ‘Stephen King’s Rose Red’) and ‘Eloise at the Plaza’ (based on the childern’s books). I had heard that Disney was planning the network premier of ‘Pearl Harbor’ for this period but it seems like those plans were changed.

Non-blooper specials include ‘The Bachelor: The Women Tell All’, ‘ABC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration (three hours on May 19), and the Daytime Emmy Awards.

I happened to be clicking past a show the other night where someone made the comment that “a drunk monkey could win at a slot machine”. Sadly, the same can not be said about programming a television network. One truly has to wonder what is going on inside Disney’s headquarters these days.

Walt's Frozen Head
04-18-2003, 01:08 PM
Inebriated bonobos, indeed...

I still can't believe no one's picked up my "tell five people they've won a million dollar lottery that only one of them has actually won" idea. Just imagine all the tawdry little bridge-burnings and airings of dirty laundry... all capped off with seeing four people come to grips with the fact that they'd just gleefully wrecked their own lives...

Or is the problem that that idea is _too_ much like everyday reality?


04-18-2003, 01:09 PM
One truly has to wonder what is going on inside Disney’s headquarters these days.No we don't. We know that they're working towards short term profit goals (and even that they're not being very successful at).

The problem, IMHO, is not what they're thinking, but when the thinking is going to change...


04-18-2003, 01:14 PM
Although I agree that this sounds like the 'Attack of the Bloop-Tube'...

Am I the only one that thinks it might work?

To quote a famous line:

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American Public"

Even though he died before TV relegated newspapers to the bottom of the entertainment bird cage - H.L. might have seen this ABC lineup as just another example...

04-18-2003, 01:34 PM
Originally posted by Another Voice

I happened to be clicking past a show the other night where someone made the comment that “a drunk monkey could win at a slot machine”.

That quote was on the Travel Channel (yes I know I need a life). Actually, this ABC listing is really going to drive me to watch the weekly Poker tour telecast on the Travel Channel:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

I would really like to miss the bloopers. Unfortunately, my trip trip toWDW is at the end of May.

Walt's Frozen Head
04-18-2003, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by betterlatethannever
That quote was on the Travel Channel (yes I know I need a life). Actually, this ABC listing is really going to drive me to watch the weekly Poker tour telecast on the Travel Channel:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Oooh... right between the eyes.

I, for one, am officially addicted to the World Poker Tour.

Topic? What topic?


04-18-2003, 04:14 PM
What a great way to kick off my Birthday on April 28th. I know what I WON'T be doing that night.

04-19-2003, 09:05 AM
You've got to be kidding.

Sure Dick Clark has talent but someone is suffering from creative burnout or just threw in the towel.

Peter Pirate
04-19-2003, 09:17 AM
I agree with you BStanley...People never seem to get tired of watching (1) their male loved ones get hit in the stones or (2) anything that has to do with 'so called' celebrity...

It's the dumbing of America and folks it's only getting dumber...Thanks for aiding that process ABC!:(

04-19-2003, 09:44 AM
People never seem to get tired of watching (1) their male loved ones get hit in the stones or
I laughed out loud and spit on the monitor when I read this. That is SO right on the mark!

Another Voice
04-19-2003, 01:32 PM
Actually just by looking at the ratings you can tell it's not the American public who's dumbing down - it's ABC. People are avoiding idiot shows and simply fleeing from the network. There is one rumor that in several markets the ratings for 'Are You Hot' was beat by infomercials on cable. Even shows on the other networks, like Fox's 'Married by America' are dismal.

The networks are putting on these shows not because they are popular but because they are cheap. So cheap that they can make a modest profit from the tiny audience that tunes in, but it’s still an audience that is a tiny fraction of the top rated (and generally much better) shows.

I find the terrible ratings for reality shows and for network television in general to be a good sign rather than further proof of the dumbing of America. We simply aren’t accepting the garbage they are throwing at us no matter how hard they try. As a business ABC is paying a huge price for under appreciating us as an audience.

Now if there was just a drunk monkey who could fix the situation…

04-19-2003, 01:49 PM
Walt Disney, the American creative genius, never underestimated the intelligence of the American audience.

The Walt Disney Company of today has contempt for its audience.

Peter Pirate
04-19-2003, 05:27 PM
Geez M. Voice, can't we ever agree?;)

So you think it's just ABC, huh? Well, people are watching these idiot shows, people do flock to see 'Austin Powers' or '******* the Movie'. Peple actually think being on TV makes somebody special (look at the Super Soap weeknds). People read the Enquirer type rags by the millions. so, no Mr. Voice I think was correct. America is getting dumber and the fact that the network ratings keep dropping even with this crap on only proves that there is so much WWF, Cops or other crap posibly in syndication out there. It just doesn't matter.

ABC and the others have trid to put decet programming on from time to time (look at 'Alias', it's pretty good) but nobody is willing to spend the tme unless there is a 'hook'. If Jennifer Garner were nearly nude in every episode of 'Alias', I'll bet ratings would be much higher.

I'm not defending ABC or any of the other networks. It is totally reprehensible that they can't actually put quality, insghtful or at last original programming on for the public. But as long as we're a money driven pop culture type society focused on nonsense...

Another Voice
04-19-2003, 07:27 PM
Of course we’ll be able to agree eventually Mr. Pirate. Why you’ve even come close to being correct on a few occasions… ;)

There’s a difference between quality and popularity. Something can be one without the other; it’s that fact that makes entertainment such a very risky business. My opinion is that, over time, quality tends to be popular – low quality tends to be unpopular. The key is over time because there are always outside factors that impact a show’s popularity. Sometimes the lowest of the low becomes popular; sometimes the real good stuff goes unseen. I’ve worked on both kinds of projects and it’s painful every time it happens. But it’s all a part of the gamble.

‘Alias’ is a good example. I looked at the show’s premise (“she’s a college student by day, a secret agent by night!!!!!”) and immediately became disinterested. It seemed silly and cheap – especially when the real world is now filled with genuine danger and authentic evil people. Watching a fantasy show with a bunch of fashion models prancing around against the backdrop of semi-real events and situations just has little interest for me. It was a decision based on taste and how this show matched my personal interests.

Does that mean the show lacks quality? No, it may simply be a case of bad timing. History is filled with hundred of “classic” books that were ignored when they were first published, amazing plays no one saw, and mega movies that were flops when they first were released. Entertainment is the only product that you regularly buy that you can never return. Unlike taking a toaster back to the store, there’s nothing you can do to reclaim that hour spent watching ‘Extreme Makeover’. That’s why people tend to be picky before the choose something.

Just because 50 million people do not watch the same show that you watch does not mean the foundations of the republic have crumbled. People simply want something else.

This whole “dumbing of America” makes it sound like toady people only watch ‘*******’ while fifty years ago people spent their evenings reading Homer in the original Greek. Television has always been bad. Movies have always been bad. Books have always been bad. Tabloids have always been around (modern journalism is a very recent invention). Mass communications to mass audiences is always held to a low standard. There are entire essays that survive from Imperial Rome bemoaning the retched tastes of the masses.

We have a distorted view of the past because the garbage doesn’t last. The Greek plays, 16th century novels, and 1930’s movies we see today represent only the good stuff of their era. Only quality survives over time.

Just as often the bad stuff is punished immediately. Some of the ratings that ABC is pulling in today are often much lower than the ratings ABC had in the 1960s and the 1950s. Having seen the shows on the network, I tend to think that’s because of the poor quality of shows and not some fluke of the popularity. There are exceptions of course. But overall I think the public understands the low quality of ABC and the other networks. They are reacting not out of ignorance; they are simply making the best decisions about how they wish to spend their time.

04-19-2003, 09:13 PM
AV -

Public choice in programming has everything to do with options today. The typical family is no longer sitting in front of that "one" TV they own watching a quality show together. The market is flooded with far too many cable channels ready to provide whatever your prefence happens to be that you no longer have to wait for something like Jacques Cousteau to run on a network special.

The industry will always have creative talent wanting to be proud of the quality of work displayed - this happens everywhere. Network programming during prime time hasn't been all that attractive for years. It isn't so much that the programs themselves aren't creative as it is that the average person can't sit through something anymore. Too many commercials and too many shows. You tend to pick a handful that you enjoy and hope to catch them while bouncing around with your remote.

Only quality survives over time.

Soap operas have survived for decades.

04-29-2003, 01:40 AM
And the biggest non-funny blooper of all? Ei$ner buying ABC!!