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 Message
    From: Jms at B5
 Subject: Ratings
      To: AOL  
    Date: 12/1/1995 5:46:00 PM  

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(2 messages)


Every so often, this flares up, and I have to kind of get into it. Yes,
Bruce would like the ratings to get better, because he feels that this show
is at least as good as ST, if not better, and thus deserves the same ratings.
This is not a reasonable expectation, I think; ST has almost 30 years of
presence in the public consciousness. You can't beat that.

What *is* important is that we have continued to get the level of
ratings required for renewal. You don't have to be a top-10 show, or even a
top-20 show; that's only the very tip...there are about 250 syndicated shows
out there, and we are invariably in the top 35-40 out of 250, the ratings are
either constant or growing in various markets, and the demographics (the kind
of people watching the show) are exactly what the advertisers want.
Consequently, the ads sell for very good prices to the sponsors...and WB is
making money on the show.

There's this recurrent wave of panic about the ratings that's really not
merited. The fact is that Space Rangers is off the air, Time Trax is gone,
SeaQuest has sunk, Earth 2 has fallen out of orbit, Sliders is gone, VR5 is
gone...of all the SF shows introduced the same time or after we were, only B5
and DS9 are still here. They're gone because they didn't get the ratings
necessary for renewal. We're here because we do. It's really that simple.

I've never intended this show to be a Huge Landslide Success, a
*FRANCHISE* a la ST. I want to tell this story, and it's the kind of story
that kinda grows on you. If you want to get the really big numbers, you have
to dumb up the show, bring in kids, have lots of women in skimpy outfits, and
make it into something other than what it is. And once you *become* a
franchise, you get Noticed by the studio types...when you get Noticed by the
studio types, suddenly they want to protect you...protect the show...and any
stories with teeth in them get knocked down, all the corners get filed
off...and you've got something soft and inoffensive and essentially
meaningless.

If I for a *moment* genuinely thought that this show was in any measure
of jeapordy, I'd be right here banging the drums and sounding the clarion
call and urging everyone to go out there and move and start letter campaigns
and make lots of calls. You'll notice I'm not doing that. Because it's not
necessary. The show is doing well enough to go on, and that means the story
will be told, the way I feel it has to be told.

If that should *ever* change...believe me, you'll hear about it.


jms

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