The Nielsen ratings system is an increasingly outdated way to measure television viewership in a world where more and more consumers are watching their favorite shows days, weeks, and even months later (in binges) thanks to technology like high-speed Internet and digital recording, and the fact that we all still breathlessly report the results a day or two after the initial airing is silly at best and delusional at worst.
But, it makes with the clickety-clicks if I put something like “GAME OF THRONES CRUSHED MAD MEN IN THE RATINGS” in the headline of a post, so, you know, here we are, I guess. Everyone’s hands are a little dirty on this one.
Despite being in only about a third as many homes as “Mad Men,” the much-respected drama that airs on AMC, “Game” was watched by many more viewers Sunday night when the two shows went head to head in the 9 p.m. hour.
The medieval fantasy epic, which reached its ratings high point in its own premiere a week ago with 4.4 million viewers, almost matched that Sunday with 4.3 million. That was almost a million viewers more than “Mad Men” reached, with 3.4 million viewers. [NY Times]
If I’m a writer on Mad Men (and Mr. Weiner, if you’re reading this, I would be honored to be on your staff in exchange for a lucrative salary and WGA benefits), here’s what I do: I walk in tomorrow morning with a printout of these ratings, slam them down on the table super hard to get everyone’s attention, let the moment linger for four or five seconds while I stare into each person’s eyes for a moment, and then I calmly — like it’s the most normal thing to ever come out of anyone’s mouth — say…
“What if there were dragons?”