Tuesday, November 04, 2008

TeeVee Animation and Ratings

Okay, so Fox cancels, King of the Hill, and then:

... the animated laffer posted its best ratings in a year, averaging a 4.3 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 on Sunday night.

Oh my ...

It's a tough time for the conglomerates. There's a recession on. They want to cut costs down to the gristle and marrow. And then the cast-off series that they calculated had run its course goes on performing well.

At a time when shows are being renewed while earning modest 2.4 adult demo ratings, the current 13th season of "King" is averaging a 3.4 -- nearly as much as CBS' breakout freshman drama "The Mentalist" ...

And of course, it's not just the Judge animated shows that continue to perform. There's also this well-roasted chestnut:

The annual "Treehouse of Horror" episode of Fox’s "The Simpsons" generated the show’s best demo score in nearly five years on Sunday ...

Now in its 20th season, "The Simpsons" (6.2 rating/15 share in adults 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall) racked up the best demo score of the night, according to Nielsen prelims. It fared even better, of course, in adults 18-34 (7.3/20) and teens (4.2/12).

Overall, it was the best 18-49 score for the animated vet (excluding its post-Super Bowl airing in 2005) since January 2004, and its largest total audience since February 2004 ...

One of the conundrums for Fox is, it now has hundreds of episodes for both these shows in the well-stocked corporate library, all of which News Corp. can cycle and recycle on various platforms into infinity: Broadcast syndication, DVDs, cable, the internet, foreign. The options are close to unlimited. And it's all gravy.

So one of the issues for execs is: When is enough enough?

Unless I badly misjudge the upper echelons at Fox, it will probably be a minute after the last drop of turnip juice has been squeezed from the mushy pulp of The Simpsons and King of the Hill.


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