Vulture has put together an eye-opening comparison of how vastly the media landscape has changed over the last twenty years. Practically any show currently on the air (including hits), if it were getting the same ratings in ‘94 would have been canceled immediately.
14.3 million: Viewers for the season premiere of Modern Family, by all accounts a hit, and an Emmy darling if ever there were one.
15.5 million: Viewers for an October 1997 episode of Promised Land, the spinoff of Touched by an Angel. It wasn’t even sweeps.
27.7 million: Viewers for the season premiere of Two and a Half Men — a shockingly high number, and the most-watched sitcom since 2005’s Everybody Loves Raymond series finale.
27.3 million: Viewers who watched a rerun of Grace Under Fire on a Tuesday in March 1995. A rerun.
9.2 million: Viewers it takes to get picked up, this time for New Girl.
9.2 million: Viewers who watched Who Wants to Marry My Dad? on August 4, 2003.
9.8 million: What landed My So-Called Life in the bottom 10 for its entire run, before it was canceled.
1.6 million: Difference between the premiere of Up All Night (6 million), NBC’s hit new comedy, and the premiere ofThanks, CBS’s Puritan sitcom that aired six episodes in 1999. Thanks had 1.6 million more viewers.
1: Number of This American Life segments about Thanks.
0: Wikipedia entries about the show Hiller and Diller, a 1997 sitcom starring Richard Lewis and Kevin Nealon. It bottomed out around 12 million viewers and was widely considered a ratings failure, though it brought in around 16 million viewers its first season.
8: Number of cited references on the robust Wikipedia page for Person of Interest, which has aired one episode that attracted 13.2 million viewers.
10.9 million: People who tuned in for kicky period piece Pan Am’s premiere, enough to earn it its hit wings.
10.1 million: People who tuned in for kicky period piece Brisco County Jr. in 1994, shortly before it was canceled.
41 million: Home Improvement’s ratings for a not-at-all-special third-season episode in February 1994.
10: Number of the ten lowest-rated shows the week of February 7-13, 1994 that did better than Parks and Recreation orCommunity’s season premieres.
5: Number of the same lowest-rated shows that week that did better than Parks and Rec and Community combined.
Thanks cable and the Internet!
Battle of Britain
Adolf “Sailor” Malan’s ten rules rules for fighter pilots:
1. Wait until you see the whites of his eyes. Fire short bursts of one to two seconds only when your sights are definitely “ON”
2. Whilst shooting think of nothing else, brace the whole of your body: have both hands on the stick: concentrate on your ring sight.
3. Always keep a sharp lookout. “Keep your finger out”.
4. Height gives you the initiative.
5. Always turn and face the attack.
6. Make your decisions promptly. It is better to act quickly even though your tactics are not the best.
7. Never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in the combat area.
8. When diving to attack always leave a proportion of your formation above to act as a top guard.
9. Initiative, aggression, air discipline, and teamwork are words that mean something in Air Fighting.
10. Go in quickly – Punch hard - Get out!
(art by Vladimir Urbanek)
Worthwhile Cause of the Day: In the wee hours of August 31st, Redditor mrsammercer sat down at his computer and regaled the net with his middle-of-the-night, Wayne’s World 2-style epiphany: To hold a satirical DC rally — an absurd countervail to Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” event — to be spearheaded by Stephen Colbert:
Think about it. It’ll be just like Colbert’s mockery of GW Bush at the 2006 White House Correspondent’s Dinner, but 500,000 people will be able to participate with him. We’ll all stay totally in character as teabaggers. The kid with the microphone that interviews all the idiots at these things can come by and we’ll ramble into his microphone.
This would be the high water mark of American satire. Half a million people pretending to suspend all rational thought in unison. Perfect harmony. It’ll feel like San Francisco in the late 60s, only we won’t be able to get any acid.
Meanwhile, the movement has been steadily gaining ground. A website has been set up to help rally support for the “Restoring Truthiness” cause. The Comedy Central Insider blog even mentioned it, albiet matter-of-factly.
Will this vision come to pass? It is too early to tell. In the meantime, mrsammercer’s plea continues to echo through the cyberhalls: “I know you’re out there somewhere, Stephen, watching LOLcat gifs along side us. We need you.”