We may be looking at the end of television.
There was a time when NBC owned Thursday night. That was a long time ago. Now it's seventh.
No upward adjustment in the finals for NBC, which logged an abysmal 1.1 primetime rating among adults 18-49 last night. That tied the network’s worst in-season Thursday average ever with all-original scripted programming. (The previous time NBC delivered a 1.1 Thursday 18-49 rating was on May 17, 2012 with three episodes of Community, 30 Rock and Awake.) NBC finished as No. 7(!) in primetime last night behind CBS, the NFL Network, ABC, Fox, Univision and TBS.
The wheels came off very quickly, with three series — Parks And Recreation, Parenthood and Michael J. Fox — posting a 1.2 18-49 rating last night, and Sean Saves The World and Welcome To The Family only managing a 1.0 and 0.8, respectively, in their second week on the air.
I'm not going to waste time critiquing things I don't watch, but it's obvious that no one else watches them either. But no one else is watching the things they're supposed to be watching either.
Last night’s Glee episode, an emotional send-off of tragic star Cory Monteith‘s character Finn, drew a 2.8 rating in adults 18-49, 2.9 in 18-34 and 7.4 million viewers. That was up +75% from last week in 18-49, up 81% in 18-34 and up 68% in total viewers. Written by Glee creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, “The Quarterback” was the series’ highest-rated episode in 18-49 and 18-34 in more than a year.
Think about that for a moment.
Who actually watches Glee? Obviously not its target audience. Maybe gay men in their fifties. That seems to be the prime audience for HBO's Girls.
What's even sadder is that these are good numbers these days. Network television is completely unsustainable. Attempts to get Nielsen to turn Twitter mentions into ratings are pathetic and advertisers won't fall for it.
Networks are scrambling over demographic percentage points. They're celebrating ratings wins that would have once gone to infomercials.
Network television is dead. Cable is a hive of repetitive lowest common denominator programming. Younger viewers have abandoned both. We may be looking at the end of television.