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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

daily list: 5 ways to boost TV ratings

AdAge says TV viewership has not bounced back after the writers’ strike. Variety reports that the major networks are bringing shows in from overseas in an attempt to save production dollars. In this midst of this dire TV environment, the Los Angeles Times says that the CW will stop offering free Internet streams of new episodes of Gossip Girl when the show returns to the air tonight… and this just as New York Magazine notes that the series — which is about blogging high-schoolers — “is the first show that seems to have succeeded primarily on the Internet,” a distinction that “is changing the very model of a successful TV show.” More from NYMag:

It’s not appointment television; it’s a 24-hour conversation. We are all Gossip Girl! And the whole experience can happen sans television.

As the CW struggles to figure out how to make money off Gossip Girl, it’s overlooking what an amazing thing it has on its hands…

Bingo. Now, I don’t watch Gossip Girl because, you know, I’m older than 12, but I can recognize a nose being cut off to spite a face as well as anyone. But maybe the CW just needs some more advice on how best to court its already adoring audience, and ensure it keeps coming back for more. Some suggestions:

1. Ensure that future episodes of Gossip Girl are not listed in TV Guide or in any local newspaper television listings — hell, get ’em off Internet TV listings too. Instead, CW phone reps can individually call all members of the target audience and beg them to watch each new episode as it airs.

2. Cast uglier stars. No one like watching pretty people on TV.

3. Try not to create episodes that actively appeal to a youth demographic. Older people are less likely to know how to get on the Internet, less likely to know how to operate their TiVos, even less likely to be able to operate a VCR. This ensures they will have to watch a show on television as it airs live.

4. Avoid exciting storylines or interesting characters that viewers will want to talk about with their friends. The less discussion a show generates on the Web, the better: this means audiences will be forced to talk back only to their televisions, which will keep them in front of the tube and away from the Web, where they might be tempted to download an episode.

5. Time-travel back to 1975 and produce TV shows when TV had a monopoly on home entertainment.

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  • PaulW

    Other ways to boost ratings:

    1) Reveal that half the characters are Cylons;
    2) Transfer over to CBS. They know how to promote fan-friendly shows like, oh, Jericho for example;
    3) Import that Bad Wolf Channel show Bear With Me and merge it with Gossip Girl!

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