I’m going off!

Man – there’s a lot going on – so today, I’m going to rip through some stuff in no particular order. Hodge Podge Logo

I’ve been wondering how KING-TV fared during the Leno experiment. Looking at Harmelin Media’s comparison of average quarter hour ratings from November of last year to November of this year – the 10 P.M. slot in Seattle took a 55% Leno hit, which translated into a 28% hit for KING’s late news. KING still plays the, “Number one at eleven” announce in its open, so it must be true – right? Dunno. Leno cost KING about $23,000 a week if you do a little figurin’ on typical ad rates in this market.

I’m sure the Winter Olympics were anticipated with great glee at 333 Dexter – but uh-oh – Whistler has gone bankrupt and there’s no snow at the key venue. But wait, there’s more. With the 10 P.M. time slot sucking canal water, promotional opportunities aren’t as robust as the NBC affils might have hoped. It’s only worse for the network which estimates it will lose $200-million on its coverage. I think the Olympics and all other non-NFL sporting properties are about to see broadcaster’s checkbooks snap shut in the coming years.

Fox is the number one cable network. Wow. Still though, only the big over-the-air networks can aggregate huge audiences in the tens of millions for shows like CSI or NCIS. Both of those by the way are CBS shows – I don’t know what that says about KIRO’s 11pm.

Meanwhile at KIRO – CBS is working to clear the Nancy Grace show. Stations used to pay big bucks in license fees for ratings winners like Oprah with a little inventory to sell to ease the pain. But now, the affiliates are demanding compensation. What this means is that many news shows are not launching, and that those that do are going to be done on the cheap since another Oprah or Wheel is unlikely as the business model and audiences get blown up.

Local TV stations finally got some good news with the Supreme Court’s ruling that the American political system is not only for sale, but on sale. With the caps taken off spending, watch for an avalanche of political ads. TV stations with “unsafe” or contested seats in the MSA will really ring the register. If I had time to do some research, it would be interesting to overlay the Seattle-Tacoma MSA onto a Congressional district map to see if there are any races that will produce big bucks. Then I might send my news crew in to stoke the flames of political discord – or even raise the profile of the underdog of the week – if I were totally unethical.

Last but not least, Conan who proved himself to be the punk some might have suspected he was. Two nights before he was canned he decided to, “Have fun on TV.” That should have been the goal on his first night, not his last. Watching somebody implode on TV is great for ratings, and people love to poke needles in corporate eyes, but Conan’s fans don’t have his back in the long run – they were there for the event and the hype, not because Conan has broad appeal. The tone-deaf Conan moaned about unemployment and his $40-million dollar severance package – while his audience lost houses, pulled kids out of college and watched businesses they had built over decades collapse. The poor mega-millionaire. He just talked and super-egoed his way out of network television – good riddance.

Remember – the answer to every question you might ask about this medium is the same: It’s television.