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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Stephen Gallagher asked about sweeps, and I was going to write up a brief, ignorant post. Then I discovered that the reaching-technological-singularity Wikipedia has a terrific article on the Nielsen ratings, with a section on Sweeps.

All you need to know about sweeps as a writer/producer is: if you have a lesbian episode, it's airing during sweeps. If Dave is going to finally sleep with Maddy (ayn kaynhoreh), it's during sweeps. Anything that will get those suckers watching airs during sweeps.

You are not allowed to air an episode about a Nielsen family, e.g. "Does the Peoplemeter box cause cancer? Tune in at 11!"


Thanks for that... it's one of those things we hear about in the UK but which has no direct equivalent, as our broadcasters tend to work on a steady feed of ratings information.

I was curious because I once saw Russell T Davis saying that they'd approached DOCTOR WHO with an American-style strategy with regard to sweeps, stunt casting and the like... and in the light of the above, I'm still curious to know how he reckons that was translated into British showrunning terms!

By Blogger Stephen Gallagher, at 10:49 AM  

Wikipedia is insane. Check out their article on "Special Episodes"


And I do remember one episode of some TV show in the eighties about a Neilson family.

I can't remember the show (for some reason I think fat people and Jason Bateman were involved). But they get the box, then are overwhelmed with the responsabilty of having to watch their favorite shows to keep them on air.

By Blogger Jutratest, at 11:05 AM  

Jutratest- I believe that was a sketch on Saturday Night Live, back in the days that they were topical and funny.

By Blogger Hawise, at 11:39 AM  

If by Dave and Maddy you mean the characters from Moonlighting, they slept for the first time in March of '87 and certainly not during sweeps. I don't think Glenn Gordon Caron really wrote for sweeps.

By Blogger RT, at 9:56 PM  

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