Friday, 21 January 2011
In a comprehensive study of cable viewing demographics, an astonishing finding shows that TBS's Lopez Tonight has claimed nearly complete control over one very specific household group. The study was conducted by Nielsen Media Research, the research firm that provides the influential "Nielsen ratings" that are a key determinant in any show being dropped or continued, and examined the viewing habits of households across the US from June through December of 2010. The results were made public earlier this week.
According to Nielsen, over the survey's seven-month span 87% of households where a sex offender resided tuned in regularly to Lopez' late night talk show (regularly being an average of at least 3 times/week). The study was able to make use of "Megan's Law," which obligates law enforcement throughout the US to make known where registered sex offenders live. Then, they simply had to monitor those households' cable usage.
Officials from Nielsen were taken aback at the level of success, which had never been achieved for any show in any demographic during past determinations of Nielsen ratings. The previous record belonged to Sex and the City, which 61% of sex offenders regularly viewed in 2002 (during the show's fifth season). It is being speculated, however, that the timing of the survey, which began shortly after the conclusion of the ABC series Lost, may have played a part.
Brad Shennanigans, one of Neilsen's head researchers, and a key figure in this latest study, explained why:
"Lost was always a strong competitor in the sex offender market, and had been around for some time. When that show ended in May 2010, sex offenders had to find new television shows to suit their needs; a new void existed that needed to be filled. We expect that within a few months, the sex offender market will begin to balance itself out, returning to normalcy. In fact, towards the end of the survey, TLC's Sarah Palin's Alaska had started to tap into Lopez' dominance, and the new MTV series Skin, which debuted after this study was completed, already appears to be seizing some more of the market, but it is still too early to tell."
It is important to remember that these studies are reflective only of the sample they used, in this case 834 households from all 50 states in which a sex offender resided, and not the sex offender population as a whole. Also, let's not forget that there may be others living in the home who have never been convicted of a sexual crime (though it's really not too likely). Still, Shennanigans felt confident that the information learned is quite valuable.
"We took great care to account for and neutralize as many outside variables as we possibly could. We feel that this outlier resulted not from an error in the survey, but from Lopez' tremendous ability to appeal to individuals who are also scumbag perverts."
One thing's for certain. Follow-up studies that measure the show's future viewership ratings, alongside further development of the television market, will be needed to really get to the bottom of Lopez's charm.
Nonetheless, this high Nielsen rating has many speculating that Lopez Tonight will be offered a multi-year contract extension from TBS, keeping his fans happy for years to come.
George Lopez was not available for comment, but a spokesperson for TBS told Mancouch that "TBS prides itself on providing valuable material to individuals of all demographics. Any increase in viewership is considered a positive sign, and a victory for the network."