The long hiatus is killing second-year shows, and some older ones
Across the board, those sophomore series that went on hiatus for more than six months are way down in the ratings. Apparently, absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder when it comes to the television landscape. It makes the instant gratification generation forget you existed. And stop caring.
Dirty Sexy Money, Chuck, Life and Lipstick Jungle are all off over a million viewers from their last season averages while Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles bled more than two million viewers. In the three million club, or near it, are Pushing Daisies and Private Practice. Even established shows like Heroes, which took a long break, are down as well. Of course, in the case of Heroes, it doesn't help that last year's mini-season was widely panned, and rightly so.
The contrast is that the shows that did come back post-strike, like The Big Bang Theory and Gossip Girl, are rebounding nicely in their second years. Now, I'd like to say that it's simply a matter of the cream rising to the top, but that's just not fair to some of those other shows. As much as I hate prime-time dramas of the rich and fabulous, I found myself bizarrely sucked into the decadent world of the Darlings last year on Dirty Sexy Money, even though it only had a ten episode run. I'm more than capable of remembering what happened December 5, 2007 when last it aired. And I thought the show came back just as strong as ever. So what happened to a million people who loved it last year?
Sarah Connor and Heroes are vastly improved from their runs last year, and yet where are those viewers? Are people just watching less TV, which has been the long-running question the past several seasons, or just less network TV?
I'm not from the "internet, iPhone, texting" generation. I'm from a time that when you were a kid and you moved away, and saying goodbye to your friends meant really saying goodbye. Not, "I'll text you later" or "I'll IM you," because we didn't have cell phones or computers or any of that stuff. The world was much more isolated, so we "got together" in the collective world of our television shows.
Or maybe they're all watching TV online these days. I certainly stream nearly as much TV as I do catching it on my tube. And I watch just about 100% of my programming via my DVR. So is it just another sign of the changing landscape of television viewing habits, or another nail in the coffin of the networks? With ratings declines year after year one has to wonder if there will come a time when traditional free TV will call it a night and pack it in.
Did you watch any of these shows last year and then drop them? Why? Is it because you found other shows to love and just moved on? Lost interest? Forgot about them? Got a boyfriend/girlfriend? Started working in television and stopped watching it?