By Bill Brioux, Freelance TV Writer, The National Post
According to ratings compiled by the Canadian data service Numeris, average minute audiences during prime time on conventional and specialty channels have been down nine per cent between the end of May through mid-July, compared to the same period last year.
In the U.S., according to Nielsen, the drop off is even more pronounced — especially with entertainment-themed programming at the network level. Among adults 18 to 49 — the demo most favoured by advertisers — ratings are down between 14 per cent at Fox and a whopping 25 per cent for CBS.
Are viewers binged out from watching too much “peak TV”? Are scripted shows just not cutting it this summer? Is it the weather? Here’s a look at the changing TV landscape:
“THRONES” HAS CROWNED THE COMPETITION
“Game of Thrones” thundered back a little late this year, returning to HBO Canada in mid-July instead of its usual April start. The season 7 premiere on July 16 slayed the competition, drawing over 1.8 million total viewers. That made it HBO Canada’s most-watched episode of anything, ever.
And that’s only counting people who have seen it legally. “Game of Thrones” is the most pirated TV show on the air.
So far, it’s the summer’s No. 1 drama among 25- to 54-year-olds. Among viewers of all ages, it ranks behind only “America’s Got Talent” on City (averaging almost 1.85 million weekly viewers) and “The Amazing Race Canada” on CTV (almost 1.76 million).
REALITY STILL RULES
Viewership for “America’s Got Talent” on City is up slightly over last summer and up 24 per cent compared with two summers ago.
City has seen even stronger gains by importing three new game/reality shows on Thursday nights. “Beat Shazam,” “Love Connection” and “The Gong Show” have pushed their 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday schedule up 79 per cent compared with last summer.
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“Love Connection” & “Gong Show”? And they wonder why people are turning off their sets! And what is the deal with these crazy people racing around the world – and the fact that it is promoted constantly with a crashing sound for background music? The promos are so stupid that I would never watch such junk. On the other hand, Eastenders has quite the dramatic storyline currently … this show is very well written and acted. So that’s what I watch.