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One Astonishing Chart Shows Just How Much Network TV Is Faltering

One Astonishing Chart Shows Just How Much Network TV Is Faltering

Woe is network TV.  As the 2013-2014 season comes to an end, the numbers are in and they do not tell a pretty story: viewership is down, and networks are not having much success at launching new hits.

Only NBC had good news, with growth of four percent after a 10-year decline.  But the other networks are losing young viewers, and fast–the Big Four had about a 10 percent lower rating (at 9.6) among viewers under 50 than they did last year.

Vulture has put together the primetime averages for 75 returning series (among the Big Four and CW) and crunched the numbers on the decline or growth amongst under-50 viewers.  Just about every show, it turns out, has lost ground.  Almost 40 shows lost 10 percent of their viewership, and more than 20 lost 25 percent or more.  (“Raising Hope” came in with a dismal 50 percent decline.)

Amazingly, amongst this blood-letting, only eight shows got the axe this year: “Community,” “The Carrie Diaries,” “The Neighbors,” “Nikita,” “Raising Hope,” “Revolution,” “Suburgatory,” and “The X-Factor.”

Even more astonishingly, of the ten (ten!) shows that grew their viewership, four of them came from just two producers: Shonda Rhimes and Dick Wolf.  (Rhimes in particular had a great year, with “Scandal” undergoing a 45 percent increase in viewership.)  For nearly everyone else, the last TV season has been a rough one, indeed.

Check out Vulture’s full chart below.

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Some suggestions. Listen up, networks!

1) Stop making imitations of "Friends." It's over. Six young people talking constantly about sex is no longer amusing.

2) Stop noting shows to death. Hire talented writer/producers and leave them the hell alone. (This is the chief reason people are fleeing to cable.)

3) Recognize that the over-49 crowd will still tune in every week if you give them something they want to see.

4) Don't yank new shows after three or four weeks. People can't sample everything at once. Even in the old days of three networks, shows generally had at minimum 13 weeks to settle in.

Or just remain in your present ways and watch foolishly as you continue to bleed viewers until you end up "winning" the night with an 0.6 rating.

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