Monday, January 08, 2007

Overnight TV Ratings: "Grease" Is Not The One That We Want

I still can't be bother to do a full ratings breakdown until next week and the return of "24" and "American Idol" and the end of reruns. But last night saw the weakest season debut yet for Donald Trump's "The Apprentice." It couldn't hold on to the weak lead-in of "Grease: You're The One That I Want." On the plus side for Trump, his show improved every half hour. On the plus side for "Grease," everyone that tuned in stayed with it. The ratings didn't drop in the least. The show, of course, was a pale imitation of "American Idol." Two things kept it from working: one, so many of the singers sang the same song (especially "Hopelessly Devoted To You"). That's realistic -- people casting "Annie" have to hear "Tomorrow" belted out thousands of times -- and boring. Second, the show's attempts to put through oddballs for their personality or touching backgrounds were absurd. On "Idol," it doesn't matter what you look like if you can sing. And in fact, the show has proven remarkable for the people who have scored huge, like Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and so on -- these aren't pinups, but America has loved them. But when you're casting "Grease," putting through a frizzy-haired plus-sized gal who wouldn't get cast as Rizzo or a 40+ year old guy who wouldn't get cast as Danny Zuko's dad just seems annoying and transparent. We know they don't have a chance in hell of getting the part, so why waste their (and our) time? But don't think of this show as a failure. Sure NBC would have liked a left-field smash a la "Dancing With The Stars." But they ran this show right before the premiere of "Idol" for one reason: to get America sick of that reality show. The more cheap clones that clog the airwaves, the more likely people will tire of the original. Or so they hope. For a complete ratings breakdown, go to MediaWeek's Marc Berman.

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