Archive for October 14th, 2009

Southland is Dead; Long Live… Southland?

A while ago, I wrote about Southland, the last great straight-up street-cop drama on American network television. It had one of those weird short mini-seasons that seem to have become more common of late, airing just seven episodes back in April-May 2009 on Thursday nights, in ER‘s old timeslot. It did okay in ratings (for a scripted network show, anyway…) and was renewed for a “second season” of 13 more episodes halfway through its original run. That second season was supposed to start back in September. Well, because NBC pinned all their hopes and dreams and money on the revamped Jay Leno Show, Southland got moved to Friday evenings at 9pm, and had its second-season premiere bumped back to October 23 “so the network could promote it better”, or something like that.

You, um, aren’t going to see Southland on television next week, because it got canceled last week, after they’d already shot half the new season, believe it or not. Why? Officially, because it was too dark and “gritty” for the 9pm network timeslot. Unofficially… depends on who you ask. It would have been on right before Leno, and some suspect that the demographics between the two shows didn’t mesh well. (The lineup for the night would have been original Law and Order followed by Southland, which seems a decent enough match, and then Leno.) I kind of wonder if the move of Medium from NBC to CBS was a factor? Maybe it was all about the money – Southland seemed to have a pretty decent budget in its first mini-season… Either way, Southland is gone, and in its place… Dateline NBC.

Never mind that Southland generally drew higher ratings than Dateline, and could (IMO) have been fairly competitive in the timeslot against Ugly Betty and Medium, which I can’t really see as having a huge audience overlap with Southland. (Fox’s feeble attempt at Friday 9pm programming? Dollhouse, about which the less said, the better.) But, no, they’d rather can Southland and get rid of, you know, a new and fairly original scripted show.

Well, there’s a fan site for the show which is urging people to try and get the show saved, one way or another. Right now, there’s a glimmer of hope that TNT might get the show, but there’s nothing official yet.

Anyway, here’s hoping NBC can negotiate something to keep the show alive, somehow. I have my doubts how much shows of public support for the program would actually help, but if you’re feeling particularly activist-ish today, or hate “reality television” game shows as much as I do, go send Warner or NBC (or both!) a nicely-worded email reminding them that there are in fact people out there who watch television who aren’t, you know, developmentally-challenged idiots… and like television with things like plots and writing and acting in it. Please? Kthxbai…

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on October 14th, 2009 | 1 Comment »

How to Lie With Numbers, U.S. Army Style

You might have noticed today’s big news that the U.S. Army – and other military branches – met their recruiting goals for Fiscal Year 2009 (FY2009), for the first time in several years.

That sounds like amazing news, and everyone seems to be suggesting the recession is to thank for the quantity and quality of new recruits.

I’m sorry to say, that’s absolutely and completely untrue.

The U.S. Army is once again trying to manipulate the recruiting narrative and improve their public image by. How? “Fuzzy math”, basically. “How to Lie With Numbers 101” sort of stuff.
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General | on October 14th, 2009 | No Comments »