(By Jeff McHugh) How much entertainment news are you airing? We are advising clients to consider pumping the brakes on that content.
Showbiz gossip was once an “A” benchmark for most shows, but too many B-list names and too many entertainment channels have resulted in less common interest in pop culture today.
Consider what a “big” TV show’s ratings is in 2019. ABC’s The Bachelor averaged 6.3 million viewers in season 22. Compare that to Seinfeld which averaged 26.6 million per episode. Friends averaged 23.6 million. Network and cable TV numbers are down.
Ratings for awards shows like the Oscars and the Grammys are the lowest they have been in years. Music specials are doing worse — both nights of the heavily promoted 2019 iHeart Music Festival on The CW got less than a million viewers each.
Audiences today get updates directly from their favorite celebrity’s social media, often faster than they hear it from broadcasters.
Broadcasting and Cable just published Nielsen data showing that audiences for programs like Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, and Extra have dropped by nearly half.
Once a ratings powerhouse, TMZ has shifted to political coverage alongside Hollywood stories in an effort to recover.
Inside Edition is the only showbiz TV program with consistent ratings. Their content includes human-interest stories and dramatic news on other topics. A smart approach for radio/podcast hosts to study.
There’s no one correct approach for every show, so consider which of the tips below are right for your audience when determining how much or how often you air entertainment content:
- Run 1-2 great stories instead of 3-4 good ones.
- Consider airing the feature 1-2 times a show instead of hourly. Float it around the show through every ¼ hour.
- Combine celeb names with a half-sentence explanation of who they are. “Aaron Paul, who you may know from Breaking Bad as Jesse Pinkman…”
- Consider skipping the feature altogether if the stories that day are not as captivating as your other content.
- Consider running showbiz news only as a bulletin, when something remarkable happens.
- Always playing clips when discussing a TV show, movie, actor, or musician. Clips add energy and help clarify lesser-known players and projects.
- Do stories about people, not announcements, numbers, and info. Limit celebrity birthdays, TV listings, movie box office results, etc.
- Limit movie critic segments. Focus on back stories and behind-the-scenes anecdotes.
- Go big on major stories: arrests (Harvey Weinstein), deaths (Prince), firings (Roseanne), and allegations (Matt Lauer). Consider updates every half-hour or more as news breaks.
Jeff McHugh is a member of the team at the Randy Lane Company.