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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

The vast -- and emptier -- wasteland

"Misery loves company" department -- the newspaper industry (and print in general) isn't alone if feeling stressed by everybody's new-media options:

So far this season, average primetime ratings for live and same-day viewing among 18-49-year-olds has fallen by more than 10 per cent for ABC, CBS and Fox, according to UBS investment research. Fox has suffered the largest decline, with ratings in that audience group falling by nearly a third so far this season.

Only Comcast’s NBC has registered a season-to-date increase in average primetime ratings among 18-49 year olds, up 22 per cent.

Television executives have an argument not available to the rest of us: People may be watching current TV shows -- on their smartphones or tablets or whatever -- in ways that the ratings services can't measure yet, so we don't really know what the viewership is. TV also has a backlog of old entertainment that newspapers can't offer. Hey, want to hear the news from Oct. 11, 1974? Exciting stuff, I tell you.

There is one other factor here. The new TV season -- if it still deserves to be called that -- sort of sucks. The only new show I've found halfway interesting so far is "Elementary," which is an imaginative retooling of the Sherlock Holmes story and a worthy addition to the problem-child-dertective-accompanied-by- saner-sidekick genre. Whole lot of those lately.