Friday, February 03, 2006

Hey, Bush had a Solid Lead In for his SOTU

I wanted to title this post something about how the kids are hep, but I find American Idol absolutely unwatchable. Anyways, here's the scoop...
Officially, Nielsen doesn't put out ratings for individual broadcast networks on the State of the Union address. That's because it runs on those networks without advertising and, like that whole Tree in the Forest Thing (you know, no one around to hear it fall, did it make a noise? that you discussed at great length in some middle-school class the day you had a substitute teacher looking to keep you quiet for an hour with as little effort as possible), Nielsen maintains that a program run without advertising on an ad-supported network did not actually happen, or something like that.

Nielsen, however, did note late yesterday that the speech accumulated that audience of 41.699 million viewers across ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CNN, FNC, MSNBC and Telemundo.

That's about 3 million more than last year, when Bush suffered the embarrassment of scoring SOTU's second-smallest audience in the past 12 years or more, not far ahead of President Bill Clinton's post-impeachment audience of 32 million.

Though Bush clocked his biggest numbers on the Fox broadcast network, that's not to say he did such a hot job retaining the "Idol" audience. In its final half-hour, Tuesday's episode -- set in Las Vegas and featuring auditions of the above-mentioned Idol wannabes -- the singing competition logged 33 million viewers.

In his first half-hour of speechifying, Bush averaged about 9.5 million viewers on Fox. That's a lousy 29 percent retention rate, which would get him canceled faster than he could say "Emily's Reasons Why Not" if he were a TV series.

But, thankfully, he's not. And, by 9:30 p.m., which is how long it took another 3 million Fox viewers to realize the president wasn't just another bad audition for "American Idol," that network's contribution to the SOTU audience had plunged to 6.9 million viewers.
Well, the question stands: is Bush a TV series or is he not? Maybe he would getter better ratings if they let Simon criticize his performance...