Thursday, June 29, 2006

Broken System

Two things from behind the camera that have bothered me as of late...

Item #1. AMC's first foray into filmmaking resulted in some boffo ratings for the cabler. IMDB reported yesterday:

In a rare instance of a cable television show beating the broadcast networks in the ratings, Sunday night's telecast of Broken Trail, starring Robert Duvall, wound up as the highest-rated program of the night, drawing 9.8 million viewers. AMC's first part of a two-parter (the second installment aired on Monday), drew more than twice the number of viewers who tuned in to watch Desperate Housewives on ABC (4.5 million). It was the first original film produced for the movie channel -- and produced the biggest ratings in its history.

This, quite frankly, rocks. AMC certainly isn't a channel I head to for serious movie watching anymore - they rarely show stuff in widescreen, but the commercial interruptions are basically the dealbreaker for me. It wasn't always like this; AMC used to be a bitchin' network on which to catch old movies. These days I head for either Turner Classic Movies or the Fox Movie Channel.

That said, it's great news that AMC pulled such mind-bogglingly fantastic numbers right out of the gate and it goes to show the kind of draw well-marketed & produced cable programming can have. Granted, it was reruns most everywhere else, but still...nearly 10 million viewers?!?! Impressive.

Today, IMDB reported the numbers for Night Two:

AMC's telecast of the second part of its Broken Trail miniseries once again drew a huge audience Monday night. The show, starring Robert Duvall, attracted 9.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen Research, down only slightly from 9.8 million on Sunday. Ratings trackers, however, pointed out that some 74 percent of the audience was 50 years old or older, the demographic group that advertisers traditionally snub.

So let me get this straight. Because basically a bunch of old people tuned in, the numbers don't count!?!?!? Because it wasn't largely the coveted 18-49 demographic!?!? A network snagged 10 million people over two nights and it's somehow irrelevant because they don't own iPods!?!?

Good lord. The day the Morgue has even a thousand readers - and if they're all checking in from the grave - you can bet I'm going to seek out an advertiser or two.

Check out Jeanne's review of Broken Trail here and Matt Seitz's review here.

The miniseries/long movie/whatever it is has a DVD release date of Sept. 5th. AMC will play it again, in its entirety, on Thursday, July 6th at 7 PM CST.

Item #2. One of the few summer movies that's on my "Must See" list is Strangers with Candy. While I've never been an obsessive fan of the Comedy Central series the movie's based on - a little Jerri Blank can go a long way - I'd be lying if I said I didn't find the whole concept to be a sick, subversive scream.

Amy Sedaris is a total original and I love watching her on Letterman. But last week Dave had her on the show to promote the movie, and strangely absent from their conversation was the fact that Letterman produced it!!! Yes, Worldwide Pants is the producer of Strangers with Candy and it was never once mentioned, alluded to, or scribbled on one of Dave's notecards. Conflict of interest? Hell yes!

I guess since The Late Show isn't considered journalism, they can get away with that sort of thing, but you'd think it might have come up in conversation somewhere. That old bastard Letterman acted as if he hadn't even seen the damn thing.

I'll still go see the movie, but consider me rubbed somewhat the wrong way.