HDTV Ratings: The Event Less Than Eventful

TV critic Jane Clifton’s review of The Event in this morning’s Dominion Post summed up the HD drama’s dilemma.

“How is it possible to thoroughly enjoy a television programme, but understand only a tenth of what’s going on?” she asked.

“After Lost, TV3’s The Event, on Tuesdays, is doing a terrific job of driving the viewer nuts with its incomprehensibility, without being at all switch-offable.”

But while Clifton may be “hopelessly addicted”, that incomprehensibility seems to me turning off viewers here just as it did in the US.

This week’s episode was the lowest-rated yet, drawing only 4.4% of TV3’s target audience, 18-49 year-olds – or exactly half the number who tuned into the premiere a month ago.

The decline was similar for the viewership TV3 is focusing on next year, 25-54 year-olds, and the demo all networks crave, household shoppers with kids.

In the US, NBC has taken The Event off-air for three months and won’t screen the remaining 12 episodes of season one until late February, a strategy that bothers star Blair Underwood.

He told TV Guide the network wants it “to end with a big bang in May”.

TV3, too, will break the series mid-point in January but if the ratings haven’t improved by then, don’t expect it to resume in such a plum time slot.

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