Scrubs & Better Off Ted

Prominent and reasonably influential television ratings website TV By the Numbers has for some time been predicting the cancellation of two of ABC’s better half-hour comedies, namely Scrubs and Better Off Ted, based purely on ratings numbers. In fact, the site is bewildered by Ted having ever gotten a second season in the first place.

I’m not; it’s a very funny show that’s culturally relevant and accessibly to a lot of people. I’m a huge fan, and I make no apologies for that. I also like the “new” med-school incarnation of Scrubs, and am not at all bothered by the new cast. So JD and Turk are going away? So what? I liked Dr. Cox, and as far as I can tell Denise is more of the same, albeit cuter. And so far Lucy seems a perfectly adequate replacement for JD, as far as lead characters are concerned.

I mean, Dr. Cox and Denise for half an hour, followed by thirty minutes of Portia de Rossi’s Veronica on Better Off Ted? Hello, Tuesday Night Snark Bloc.

Clearly, this is not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine. It’s a mostly free country; I don’t have to watch America’s Next Something Or Other or Survivor, and you don’t have to watch Scrubs or Better Off Ted. Live and let live, I say.

Now, TVBTN and people who have nothing better to do than obsess over meaningless figures – and they really are meaningless – think Ted and Scrubs are doomed, because the ratings figures just don’t indicate that ABC has decent ratings for either show. I think that’s not at all true.

First, I think they’re overlooking things like Hulu, where both shows are apparently among the top twenty most-watched, and top-ten subscribed-to. I have no idea what that amounts to in terms of actual numbers, but that’s got to be pretty respectable. (As near as I can tell, Better Off Ted is watched on Hulu more than 30 Rock.)

Second, I think they’re overlooking internet piracy as an audience. Now, I’ve written about this before, and how meaningless absolute figures are when discussing piracy, but I think it’s probably useful to note that on a large (the largest?) television download site – dedicatedtv.net – the two most downloaded shows last week were Scrubs and Better Off Ted.

That ought to count for something. It doesn’t, but it should.

Scrubs and Better Off Ted air tonight on ABC, at 9 Eastern. Catch them while you can, because they’re good – and like all things that are good, they’re probably doomed to be all too short-lived.

Published in: Geekiness, General | on December 29th, 2009| No Comments »

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