Idea for a tv show

It seems like television programming is all about appealling to the right demographics. The logical extension of this would be to cater to the only demographic that actually matter: People with Nielson boxes, whose viewing habits are extrapolated out to generate the ratings.

If you made a show about a family with a Nielson rating box, or one of those TV watching diaries, or whatever they use to calculate viewership, mightn’t actual Nielson families be inclined to watch it? Even if you shifted only a small percentage of these people, it would be reflected in the rating as huge jump, alllowing the network to charge more for advertising.

I guess advertisers might be inclined to discount such an increase in ratings, but surely networks could find a subtle way to go about it. Maybe it could be given some kind of ironic treatment, and done very knowingly, like some kind of 30 Rock product placement joke kind of a thing.

Alternatively, if you could create some kind of online community for Nielson people, it would be an idea spot for TV networks to advertise. Why waste millions on billboards and such to reach everyone, when all they need is to get the message across to the thousands of people whose viewership actually matters. How to bring all those people together might be kind of a tricky question, since by definition they’re meant to represent the full spectrum of demographic groups. But it must be kind of alienating to be a Nielson person, always filling in diaries and whatever, but unable to really talk about it to friends or co-workers or whatever who can’t really relate.

Perhaps the ultimate meta realization of this would be to create an online show about a fictional TV network trying to create a show about a family with a Nielson box. Nielson people would hear about the show, they surf over to check it out, and thus create an audience that would be ideal for advertising network TV shows.


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