Fox's 24 falling to political correctness

The Wall Street Journal reports that political correctness hits "24":

Producers would later experience trouble casting roles, once some of the most desirable in television, because the actors disapproved of the show's depiction of torture. "The fear and wish-fulfillment the show represented after 9/11 ended up boomeranging against us," says the show's head writer, Howard Gordon. "We were suddenly facing a blowback from current events."

Last spring, Fox executives asked producers to come up with a plan for what to do with their onetime crown jewel. The producers decided to take the radical -- and rarely attempted -- step of reinventing the show. While some fans complained "24" had grown too formulaic, the producers also grudgingly saw the importance of wrestling the show from its ties to an unpopular conflict. . . .

If you look at the viewing data provided in the article, it seems very hard for me to discern a fall off in viewership because of opposition to torture. If you look at the last season, there was a drop that was already occurring before the New Yorker piece repersented by the orange dot in the 2006/2007 season (the vertical lines represent viewership). If you click on this link, you can use the interactive features in the WSJ picture.

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Blogger Greg said...

This is the only show my whole family gathers to watch (time-shifted), and we've missed it this year. I was suprised that something this much fun could be episodic TV, but now it will be just like everything else on network TV -- unwatched by us.

2/02/2008 10:37 AM  
OpenID t2brn2b said...

I've neverunderstood our desire for weakness and our rush to 3rd world status as put forth by our news outlets and political lackeys.. I talk to hundreds of everyday Americans every month,not one yet has ever opposed the idea of America and American forces using whatever means necessary against those that would kill us and have no problem using any means at their disposal,innocents included. A massive brain-washing is and continues to be bomboarding us minute by minute and apparently with some success. Those of us that sit by watching this country continue on it's head long rush into midiocracy are feeling more desperate for a saviour day by day. Jack represented all that was right about America,the show should be discontinued rather to be used as a further push into this downward spiral. May God help us all ET

2/02/2008 12:18 PM  
Blogger James said...

I've been a hardcore fan of "24" for years. I've religiously watched the show and have written roughly a hundred pages about it in college, even during my graduate work.

I'm with you in not buying their explanation for the decline. There are several factors that are better at illustrating the ratings decline:

1. Age. People are used to "24" and aren't in as much of a rush to see it.

2. DVD. Many people would rather watch "24" on DVD where they can burn through several episodes in a row instead of waiting week by week.

3. Quality. Although I'm a defender of the most reason season, it was the least well received by critics and fans.

Consider that the audience who likes "24" already consists of people who have no problem with its politics (even if those viewers are adamently opposed to them in real life). Why would they suddenly decide to stop watching? And if "24" is so conservative, why are Barbara Streisand and Bill Clinton such big fans?

Also, it is a complete lie that the show "always" shows torture as successful. Anyone who has watched the whole series would know that torture fails about as often as it works in the show. It is NOT an ad for torture. Additionally, Jack Bauer is not supposed to be a morally pristine instrument of American policy, but a bleak man grappling with his own thirst for blood, incidentally able to use this for the greater good.

I wish they'd get a writer even vaguely familiar with the series to write about it.

2/03/2008 2:09 PM  

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