I do not think I can even put it into words how irritated I have been recently with all the headline-grabbing news in the media reporting about "Desperate Housewives plunging in ratings as ABC launched its third season" or "Lost fading fast in ratings in third season".
First of all, let us look at the current numbers. "Desperate Housewives" premiered its third season on September 24, 2006 to over 24 million viewers. Now, although that's almost 5 million viewers less than the second season opener in September 2005, we all know that the ABC dramedy struggled in its sophomore season creatively and lost some of the viewers in the course of the season.
But, those bloated second season premiere numbers (following a red-hot inaugural season) did not reflect the actual second season average. In fact the ladies from Wisteria Lane averaged 22,1 million viewers last season, so the third season opener actually did much better than that.
And the episode was also on a par with the 2nd season finale figures from last May. In fact, the 3rd season opener also improved on the first season average - 23,4 million viewers. And so far this season, the series is not only winning its timeslot, but it has also been the top Sunday show and the top-3 show in America overall.
As for Lost, you may have read today that the ABC mystery thriller is "fading fast". Also, there was an article written by a Reuters columnist recently blaming the "hideous hatch twist" for the drama losing over 5 million viewers during the second season. Obviously her disappointment with the storyline development clouded her judgement.
Again, the second season opener of "Lost" last year did exceptionally well following all the buzz and critical praise of the first season. So yes, the show did premiere to over 23 million viewers last September.
But, its second season average was only 15,5 million viewers and the third season premiere (as well as the second episode last night) did much better with 18,5 and 16,6 million viewers respectively.
And that means there is still very strong interest in the series that may have lost some viewers exhausted with all the complex drama and plot twists, but that may always happen when there is a truly compelling and complicated character-driven mystery series.
In any event, the two shows are creatively stronger than they have been in a very long time and contrary to all the barking about their decline, the recent numbers do reflect that.