It hasn't been just the theatres that have been getting hit. People have also been turned off by what's been on the TV.
This Robert Bianco article in USA Today says it all. In the past, summer would be a time when network TV would launch innovative, breakout hits like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Survivor. That has not been the case this year.
Basically there's been only one big hit this summer: Dancing With the Stars. Which I thought wasn't such a great show, but apparently a lot of housewives tuned in so it got good ratings. And they kept up the hype by creating a scandal out of Kelly Monaco's upset victory. Now they're planning a much hyped rematch for this fall between champ Kelly Monaco and the robbed, ripped-off loser, John O'Hurley.
The rest of the shows have been met with yawns from the viewing public. So You Think You Can Dance faded, Rock Star INXS has totally tanked, and we all know what happened to The Law Firm and The Princes of Malibu. The article blames cable TV for a lot of the saturation as they have been showing reality TV reruns all summer. I notice A&E, which built its reputation on running quality programming and high-brow stuff for rich people, is showing the life and times of the Gottis (Growing Up Gotti). They also have some really inspired reality show about life at an airport. Now really, who wants to watch a boring show about life at an airport? Airports are usually a pain in the neck for most people. Who wants to see that?! So cable TV really isn't looking much different from network TV at the moment. No wonder TV keeps on losing viewers. I sure hope these TV people have gotten the message that the viewing public is fed up with these ripoff reality shows, but it seems as if those viewers who want good TV on the air have very little clout with programming executives anywhere, not even with the gang at A&E.
I should point out that the other problem with these summer reality shows is that they aren't the Grade-A reality shows that usually air, like Amazing Race or American Idol or The Bachelor. No, this was the Grade-B garbage they put on, the Hiltons and the Average Joes. The Grade-A stuff is reserved for the regular season- not the summer, rerun, junk programming season. They're airing the promos for the Grade-A stuff- Survivor: Guatemala, the Apprentice with the Donald and Martha Stewart, etc.- as we speak.
And they are airing the promos for a ton of new dramas and comedies for this fall as well, some of which look really promising. The fall season is fast approaching, thank God, and that is good news for the many viewers who have been running to the video store in disgust to rent DVDs and video games this summer.