My Last Sopranos Post As Tony Beats Tony -- Blogger Snags Gig at the Grey Lady
According to figures released this morning by Nielsen Media Research, nearly 12-million people watched the Sopranos finale Sunday -- nearly twice the 6.3-million who watched the Tony awards on CBS. That's an amazing number, given that only about 30 percent of the nation's homes even receive HBO.
That also put the finale ahead of the 5.7-million who watched WWE Raw on USA Network and the 5.8-million who watched House of Payne on TBS, the next two highest-rated programs on cable that week. And because network TV viewing was depressed last week by summer reruns, only one network TV show drew higher viewership -- the Hasselhoff-ilicious America's Got Talent, which drew 13-million viewers last Tuesday.
The question now: What happens to all those viewers, now that they know there will never be another new Sopranos episode on HBO? Check out my piece, wondering how HBO is going to fare trying to replace Sex and the City and The Sopranos with Big Love, Entourage and John From Cincinnatti.
And while we're on the subject, one of the Sopranos pieces which stuck in my craw the worst was this column from New York Sun TV critic David Blum, who tries to turn the legitimate difference of critical opinion over the quality of the Sopanos finale into just another lame-o bloggers (cool) vs newspaper writers (not cool) food fight.
"For decades, television critics suffered as second-class citizens in a world where scholars and essayists preferred plays, operas, and ballet as an opportunity to expound on grand theories and great ideas," he wrote. ""The Sopranos" changed all that, and gave dozens of pale, miserable video pundits something to slam their fists on the table about. Finally, television had achieved the stature of literature — and did so with humor, bloodshed, and ample amounts of mayhem and nudity."
Um, okay. Does that mean I don't fit this insulting, BS generalization since I'm not pale?
Blum's Exhibit A as clueless newspaper writer is, of course, the New York Times' Alessandra Stanley (for a writer at the conservative New York Sun, hating the Times is easy as breathing). He notes "it will be the bloggers and insta-critics following closely behind that make it exciting, interpreting and Monday-morning-quarterbacking in ways that have changed the face of criticism."
But his examples for whip smart bloggers who got the Sopranos intepretation right? Alan Sepinwall and Matthew Zoller-Seitz -- two guys who also write about television for the Newark Star Ledger.
Talk about somebody who missed the point....
Nuts Pay Off - Jericho Returns to CBS July 6
Here's the press release: JERICHO, CBS's drama about how residents of a small, peaceful, Kansas town band together to survive in the wake of a nuclear explosion, will return to the Network beginning Friday, July 6 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT). Rebroadcasts of episodes from the first season will air in the Friday, 9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT time period for the remainder of the summer.
Brian Stelter Leaves TVNewser for the Gray Lady
One of my favorite sources on TV news -- I quoted him probably four times this year alone -- is Brian Stelter, editor of the way cool site TVNewser. The Baltimore Sun reported today that Stelter, newly graduated from college, is headed for a job writing and blogging or the New York Times on cable TV news.
It's an interesting parable on where the top newspapers are finding their talent these days, and a troubling development for those of us who had grown addicted to his amazing coverage of the TV news industry. (though the NYT is developing a blog for him, his old site is owned by Mediabistro and will get a new editor; Stelter gets an editor at the NYT, which he may yet come to regret.)
According to the Sun, everything changes July 20.