Forget saving the world, Sarah Connor may have just saved television.
Last night, TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES delivered a staggering 18.4 million viewers, netting FOX its best opening night demo rating of any new show in three years. Hasta La Vista, Competition! And frankly, not a moment to soon.
The NY Times’ Bill Carter is already claiming that “Reality TV Is No Lightweight in the Battle to Outlast Strikers” and worse, throughout January, network’s have been pleasantly surprised by the performances of their non-scripted reality fare like DANCE WARS, WIFE SWAP, SUPERNANNY and THE APPRENTICE. NBC President Ben Silverman even went as far to say that “Time periods may be lost to scripted shows,” adding that, “CBS can fill three hours a week with ‘Big Brother’ for about five bucks.”
Well Mr. Silverman. The audience has spoken.
Sure reality TV costs far less to create. But it also generates far less future revenue opportunities. While audiences may passively tune into mediocre fare like THE APPRENTICE and THE BIGGEST LOSER. It is scripted shows they fall in love with.
Still not getting it? Take a moment and calculate the amount of dollars a successful scripted drama like the TERMINATOR is going to generate. Think of the ad revenue! The merchandise! The spin-off! The possibilities are endless. A quality scripted show is a cash cow (I mean hello!? How many Dwight Schrute Bobble-Head dolls has your production company Reveille sold?)
So go ahead Mr. Silverman, continue destroying the house that Carson built [NBC] with the likes of The Donald. This TV Addict will be watching FOX.