Michael M. Grynbaum and John Koblin:
The turbocharged ratings are a surprise even to seen-it-all television executives, who had been bracing for a plunge in viewership after the excitement of the presidential campaign. Before election night, networks were scrambling to generate new hits and digital offshoots that could stanch the bleeding.
Instead, the old analog favorites are in, with comfort-food franchises like “Saturday Night Live” drawing its highest Nielsen numbers in 24 years. Despite a dizzying array of new media choices, viewers are opting for television’s mass gathering spots, seeking the kind of shared experience that can validate and reassure.
This doesn't surprise me. When there's something for the village to talk about, they gather around the biggest watering holes. There's still a very real sense of "what the fuck is going on?" mixed with the urge to laugh about what the fuck is going on (with SNL, The Daily Show, etc).
But if they keep doing stunts like Rachel Maddow's re-enactment of "The Decision" the other night to reveal little about President Trump's tax records, the crowds will start to disperse again...Read more...