Tuesday TV Newbie Ratings

Compared with the recording juggling act I achieved last week in order to view all four Tuesday at 9 shows I wanted to catch, yesterday was a piece of cake. It helped that I was at home in Nyquil-induced mellowness, House is on an American Idol-enforced break, and The Unit has dropped off my radar, so I could easily watch Scrubs on the Eastern feed and Sons & Daughters on the West Coast feed.

The Unit
is doing extremely well without me as a viewer, down only slightly from its debut last week, with 17.8 million watching, despite being head-to-head with the bloated American Idol. As I guessed, it’s not my kind of show, with a military theme, action-oriented plots, and testosterone-fuelled characters I can’t respond to. Worse, all the female characters make me want to smother them with pillows to put them out of my misery, and surprisingly, there’s no redeeming MametSpeak.

But Sons & Daughters … now here’s a show I could love. Except my inevitable heartbreak is foretold in the ratings, as it plunged 30% from its not-hugely-successful debut last week, for a total of 5.4 million viewers. Though I realize it’s taking the place of the troubled Commander in Chief, I find it hard to believe that ABC has no more supportive timeslot for this on their schedule than dead against another quirky comedy – Scrubs, which didn’t do much better in the ratings – in one of the most competitive timeslots of the week. Despite the Arrested Development comparisons, I think the partially improvised Sons & Daughters has the potential for more widespread appeal, with likeable characters in a relatably dysfunctional family. But that won’t matter if it never gets in front of the right people.

Co-creator and star Fred Goss has a blog on ABC, where he unfortunately sounds defeated:

The numbers were OK but not great. Now we’re looking at two weeks opposite American Idol. Sweet. My feeling is that no matter what the promos or the good reviews…it just doesn’t matter at this point.

and defensive:

The subject matter, while not striving to be blue is often unfiltered and very real. It’s not a family show; it’s a show about a family. It’s not for young children. If you personally find the show offensive and you are an adult, I’m not sure what to tell you. It’s a great country we live in. We have the freedom to make this show and you have the freedom to watch it if you like it or to not watch it if you don’t. It isn’t our intent to offend, but what’s offensive is as subjective as what is funny. We had to make the show that we would like to see and hope that there are enough people out there that feel the same way about it. To try and make a show that we think everybody else wants to see is an impossible way to express one’s self artistically.

So apparently not everyone agrees with my likeable and relatable assessment. I might whine about having too many shows to watch at the same time, but I hate it when cancellations make my viewing decisions easier. I hope this one finds an appreciative audience.

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