Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, December 29, 2020

A lot is being made out of the success of David Letterman’s World Wide Pants production company in coming up with an interim agreement with the striking Hollywood writers union, the culmination of efforts initiated a couple of weeks ago.

The deal, which restores [”Late Show with David Letterman” and “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”] to business as usual, gives them an enormous advantage over their competition.

GE-owned NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” as well as ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” had already announced they would resume Wednesday without benefit of their writing teams. Similarly, Viacom-owned Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert” planned to return writer-less on Monday, Jan. 7.

But I’m wondering: How big of an advantage will it really be? Will audiences care, or even notice, whether a late-night show is scripted or not? The NBC shows are usually more skit-heavy than the Letterman shows, so maybe the absence of structured segments for Leno and O’Brien will give these new episodes a different feel. And the question of some entertainment-industry guests — movie/television stars and music acts — not wanting to even figuratively cross picket lines might give Letterman/Ferguson a leg up.

But ultimately, audiences have their preferred hosts, and I have a feeling the eyeballs will stick with their usual favorites. As long as the episodes are new, I doubt many viewers will switch.

From that, I’m thinking the studios will use the resultant ratings as ammo against the next round of talks with the writers. The argument will be that the scripting doesn’t have much impact on drawing audiences, and so they’ll be even less inclined to compromise with the Guild.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/29/2007 06:53:18 PM
Category: Business, TV
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buff impact
Until the novelty of playing hockey in a football bowl wears out, it appears the National Hockey League and its teams will have some economic impact numbers to throw around when pitching future Winter Classics:

With four days to go before the puck drops on the outdoor hockey rink in Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Buffalo Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates the New Year’s Day event will generate more than $5 million in direct revenues.

“Our projections tend to be conservative, but based on local hotel reservations, this is going to be a very significant event for Buffalo-area hotels and restaurants,” said the CVB’s Doug Sitler.

If those estimates hold, the Jan. 1 NHL event will top the $4.2 million in spending tied to the multiday slate of NCAA basketball tournament games played in HSBC Arena last March.

Five million bucks is not super-huge when it comes to dedicated major-league sporting events. In comparison, the last Super Bowl was hyped to have generated $298 million for South Florida; even if, as contended, that figure is somewhat inflated, it still points to an entirely different magnitude of dollar volume.

But then, no one is touting the Winter Classic as Super Bowl-caliber. It’s a regular-season game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres that otherwise wouldn’t be worthy of special notice. The venue and date makes it special, and so it’s attracting more visitors and discretionary spending to the Buffalo area. That’s all it needs to do to help the league get exposure.

As long as the NHL restricts these bowl games to once per year, they’ll achieve their purpose, and everyone will be happy.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/29/2007 06:19:15 PM
Category: Football, Hockey, SportsBiz
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