In the comments section of the Journeyman canceled post that I did a while ago, a commenter named Jeannie asked “why isn’t the customer, the public considered in these decisions?” I think that is a question worth exploring a little further.
I cannot remember where I read it, but someone rightly pointed out that the advertisers are the customers and we (the viewing public) are the product. The networks sell time on their airwaves (and don’t fool yourself into thinking that the airwaves are public, they are controlled by a select few, but that’s a topic for another day) to the advertisers. The networks tell the advertisers that they will promise an estimated number of people will look at their ads at a given time. In exchange the advertisers give the networks a lot of cash.
In order to entice the viewing public to watch the ads, the networks give what they consider to be entertaining programming to place around those ads. The networks really don’t care what the quality of the shows actually are as long as they get more eyeballs to watch the ads. The ads are what really matter, think about it, when was the last time a breaking news story happened during a commercial? I have never seen one.
Journeyman was an excellent show, one that was well worth watching. Like most people I thought it was just a Quantum Leap knockoff, but it seems unlike a lot of those same people, I liked Quantum Leap enough to give it a chance. I am happy that I did. The only real similarity Journeyman had to Quantum Leap was the fact that both shows featured a time traveling white guy with fair hair.
However, no matter how much I liked the show and no matter how much a bunch of others liked the show, the fact remains that not enough of us were watching who were also Nielsen families.