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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: JMS: Reaction to reactions?
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 1/27/2002 10:15:00 PM  

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>Now that there's been time for everybody who could see the movie to voice
>their
>reactions, my impression is that most of us liked it enough to want to see
>where you would go with the series.
>
>How do you feel about the reactions to Rangers? Is it about what you
>expected?
>Encouraging? Discouraging?

What I've learned over the years is that no matter what one does, there will be
a certain percentage who love it uncritically, an equal (but often much louder)
percentage who hate it uncritically, with the majority somewhere in the middle.
The thing you have to do is make sure the number stays more in the middle or
leaning toward liking something than not.

And adding it all up, it seems to have done the job. It's been overall far
more positive than negative. Criticism? Sure. That's what a pilot is *for*,
to find out what does and doesn't work. You try shit. You experiment. Some
will like it, some won't, which is all to the good.

The fulcrum on which all this now rests is the ratings, which have gotten kinda
weirdly skewed.

We heard what we initially thought were disappointing figures, that we'd done a
1.7 when SFC was hoping for a 2.6 or better. It kind of puzzled everybody
because the B5 audience is generally pretty reliable.

It became even *more* puzzling when the more detailed figures came in, showing
that by quarter-hours, the show *gained viewers* and did not lose them.
Meaning folks who came on the show by accident, stayed to watch. It should
have been much higher than it was.

Then the final market-by-marked figures came in from the studio, and we had our
mystery resolved.

The east coast ratings got hammered by the football game, which was the highest
rated such game in something like 5 years. The B5 male demos are pretty much
the same as for sports, and we lost heavily to football. So there we did not
do well.

By contrast, on the west coast, where the show aired *after* the game had
finished, we not only met but *exceeded* SFC's expectations, getting a 3.2 or
3.6 in many markets, which is actually pretty unheard of for a basic cable
network.

The problem is that the average, 1.7, is still what's used for advertising. So
we have to see if SFC will look past the show getting hammered by a big
football event on the East Coast to look at the West Coast figures and see that
there is, indeed, a market.

It's in the hands of the TV gods from this point on.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
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