It’s another week of eager anticipation for a new episode and to check in on this very busy Supernatural fandom, so I’ll just get right to it.
First, I have three clips this week for this Thursday’s episode, “Monster Movie.” If you notice everything is in black and white, you’re correct! This was originally supposed to be episode three, but I think bumping it a few weeks worked very well for pushing the heavy mythology of the other episodes. It’s perfect timing now for a comedic break. Here’s the official CW summary:
Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) investigate several murders at Oktoberfest. The first victim was found with bite marks on her neck, much like a vampire would leave, while the second victim has wounds that look like a werewolf attack. After a mummy rises from his crypt, Dean determines that a shape-shifter demon is terrorizing the town as iconic monsters from the old Hollywood movies. Robert Singer directed the episode written by Ben Edlund.
As a bonus, Warner Brothers send out a bonus clip, called “Supernatural Surprise.” The entire clip is slated to air at the end of “Yellow Fever” on October 23, but in the meantime, we get teasers. Another “clue” will be available on Friday.
Lindsay Warren and Heather Vitas from Support Supernatural have some great news to report on their fundraiser. They have met their goals! A few months ago when the campaign was kicked off they named four charities to be recipients of collected donations. The goal was set at $750 per charity. As of today, they have raised $837 for Doctors Without Borders and $847 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital to be donated in honor of Jensen Ackles, and $871 for People of The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and $765 for The Human Society of The United States to be donated in honor of Jared Padalecki and his two dogs, Harley and Sadie.
“We could not be more thankful or more overwhelmed with the response of Supernatural fans,” said Heather. Lindsay added, “We are so appreciative of every donation – no matter the amount. Everyone has been giving what they can afford and we could not ask for more.”
Donations will still be accepted at their site until November 1. Congratulations Lindsay and Heather and to all those that contributed and helped with the efforts. I’m honored to say I’ll be there to see the presentation at Creation Entertainment’s Salute To Supernatural in Rosemont, Illinois on November 16. It’s truly remarkable to see what fans can do, and I think Jensen and Jared will agree after the presentation.
I now have compelling proof that Supernatural fans are the most loyal and most passionate. The big news sweeping the fandom recently has been season four ratings (the US ones anyway). All across the board, they’ve improved. Overall live ratings are up 12% when comparing the first four episodes of last year versus this year. When DVR+7 ratings are factored in (only the first two weeks have been reported) that number goes up to 18%. The best improvement though is in demo numbers. For the 18-49 age group, Supernatural is up 20%. Considering Supernatural goes against Grey’s Anatomy, which is usually the top rated juggernaut in the 18-49 demographic, any increases are remarkable. Most shows are showing declines.
The improved ratings and positive buzz for the show have happened with little promotion from The CW and no show of faith (or even acknowledgment) from the network president, Dawn Ostroff. Warner Brothers publicity earns kudos for working with TV critics and bloggers to spread positive buzz, but most of the credit goes to the fans. Through actively encouraging friends and family to watch, by spreading Internet buzz by voting in polls and leaving comments, and by partaking in all sorts of promotional efforts in the name of the show, Supernatural manages to succeed.
Even though ratings have always been a threat to this show, the big worry going into this season was if Supernatural would have a network to air on after season four. The CW is in trouble financially and this year pinned its hopes on 90210 as the show to save the network. While that show has done well, it’s hardly been a savior thus far. Despite the massive ratings for the show’s premiere, 90210 has settled the last several weeks in the 3 to 3.1 million viewers range. Their demo numbers are strong, but aren’t as strong as America’s Top Model or Gossip Girl. 90210 in the overall ratings for the network ranks sixth right now, but the DVR ratings are often at the top of the time shifted percentage rankings.
The good news is Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, and Supernatural are all showing strong gains over last year and 90210 is doing better in its timeslot than last year’s show, Beauty and The Geek. While overall ratings are down for The CW because of the loss of Smackdown, ratings are up in the 18-49 and 18-34 categories, which is the market The CW is gunning for. Advertising sales are up 8.5% over last year, but I noticed that just by the increased number of ads while watching Supernatural. Last year there were so many promos and cutaways to my local affiliate I didn’t think anyone was advertising. Whether or not these promising increases are enough to please the parent companies remains to be seen.
However, the 2009 ad sales forecast because of the weakening economy is bleak, so any gains earned this fall may be erased. The slump is affecting all networks and cable, so it remains to be seen if The CW’s niche will be enough to keep advertising steady. Also, despite all the promotional efforts for their teen programming, Smallville is still the CW’s number one scripted show, and is battling neck and neck with America’s Top Model as the highest rated show. Both are the only two programs pulling overall ratings over 4 million.
This is where the Supernatural fans truly have earned their due though. Q ratings, which measure the emotional attachment of viewers to shows on the broadcast networks, were released late last month. Of the top twenty shows listed with the highest emotional attachment, Supernatural was the only CW show to make the list and it came in at number eight. The presence of Supernatural on that list proves that a show doesn’t have to be highly rated to earn a loyal audience and be successful anymore. Q ratings are measured because in today’s age of various media platforms available to watch a show, the viewer has become their own programmer and doesn’t necessarily follow timeslots. A higher emotional attachment is important to networks and media buyers, because it helps predict what kind of a following a show will get.
So, what does all this mumbo jumbo of facts and figures really boil down to? All good news for our show. Pat yourself on the back, fans, because it’s all of you who are making this show succeed. Sure, a very awesome season four is helping, but no one would know about it if it wasn't for the fans talking all about it.
Considering the season is only four episodes in, there’s still much work to be done. Ratings are always highest in the fall, so the goal now is to keep them consistent through the rest of the season. I get messages from people all the time telling me how they turned on friends and family to the show and most of these stories have a common thread. The new recruit had never heard of Supernatural before or even The CW. That was my story, too.
I got a friend to become a regular viewer by issuing the four episode challenge. I challenged her to watch the first four episodes of the series. If she wasn’t hooked, it might not be the show for her. She got hooked after the pilot. I also started writing this column to spread the word and some have confessed they’ve started watching after reading my praises.
I’m asking for everyone out there to share below how you’ve gotten people to watch Supernatural. Sharing experiences will not only help others with ideas to get people they know to watch, but it’s also fun to read. Don’t be shy, you’re among many friends here.Powered by Sidelines