Why not to trust the American public (pop culture version)

I watched this week’s Walking Dead last night.  Why do I keep watching this show?!  So mediocre.  I did read a New Yorker article while watching, though.  I usually multi-task in some way because it is so not worth my full attention.  I fear I’m a victim of the sunk cost trap.  Anyway, I read this news this evening and really find it depressing:

You can’t stop The Walking Dead,” which returned last night to its biggest ratings ever — an incredible 16.1 million viewers and a whopping 8.2 rating among adults 18-49.

Those numbers for the season 4 premiere (which I reviewed here) are up significantly from the season 3 finale, which drew 12.4 million viewers. It also leaves the recent “Breaking Bad” finale numbers (10.3 million viewers) in the dust.

“The Walking Dead” was already the highest-rated show in basic cable history, and last season was the top-rated entertainment show in the 18-49 demo in all of television, trailing only NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” for complete demographic supremacy. Last night’s premiere would be the third most-watched show in all of TV over the past week, trailing only “NCIS,” “The Big Bang Theory” and (depending on the final numbers, which aren’t in yet) the Cowboys-Redskins game it aired directly opposite.
Read more at http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/the-walking-dead-returns-to-record-16-million-viewers#1y1BFe3jxzpEYsyU.99

I know, I know, CSI, NCIS, etc., are all the most popular shows, so it’ s not like popularity is about quality.  But that this is the breakout hit of “high quality” cable dramas is just depressing.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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