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.

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

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