TV Column: ‘Glee’ doesn’t get a Whitney Houston ratings bump

February 15, 2012

Cable news networks are still recovering from the shock of hearing that Whitney Houston’s family put the kibosh on any plans to host a public memorial for the singer and that Houston’s funeral will be private.

Houston’s publicist announced Wednesday that networks would have to carry an Associated Press pool camera feed of the service, to be held Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, and that the feed would be streamed live.

Elsewhere, despite “Glee” producers’ best efforts, Tuesday’s Valentine-turned-Houston-tribute episode failed to attract the millions of mourners who on Sunday flocked to CBS’s trophy-show-turned-Houston-tribute broadcast of the Grammy Awards.

The “Glee” episode was completed before Houston’s death Saturday but just happened to include Amber Riley (portraying Mercedes) singing the Houston anthem “I Will Always Love You.”

After Houston died in Beverly Hills at age 48, “Glee” producers announced that they would dedicate the episode to her. They added a dedication card at the end of the episode telling the Grammy-winning singer that they would always love her.

The episode wound up clocking not quite a million fewer viewers than did the previous week’s “Glee.”

Apparently Valentine’s Day is not when lovers want to focus on deceased pop stars. Nor is it a great night for networks in general, as Fox noted when it mentioned that TV usage from 8 to 10 p.m. Tuesday was down more than 7 percent compared with the previous Tuesday.

That’s because lovers have much better things to do on Valentine’s Day than watch even a lovey-dovey episode of “Glee,” in which Mercedes bravely decides to go it alone rather than choose between current boyfriend Shane and ex-boyfriend Sam.

Better things to do, like watching procedural crime dramas on CBS. “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Unforgettable” each posted week-to-week gains among the golden group of 18-to-49-year-old viewers the TV networks court — not just on Valentine’s Day, but every single day of the year.

Bachmann’s PR tango

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said that she, too, has decided not to participate in the upcoming season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

“In full disclosure, I did win a polka-dancing competition when I was in the 10th grade at my alma mater, Anoka High School in Anoka, Minnesota,” Bachmann said in a statement Wednesday to ABC News — ABC being home of “Dancing With the Stars.”

“But despite my 10th-grade polka success and my lifelong love of ballroom dancing, the recent rumors are false. I will not be joining ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ ” she said.

Her announcement comes one day after a rep for Herman Cain said the former GOP presidential hopeful would not participate in the dance series because “he can’t dance in an eight-count. He can only dance in a nine-count” — as in his 9-9-9 plan.

In Bachmann’s case, she turned down “Dancing With the Stars” before the show even asked her to participate. An aide explained that she wanted to release a statement to quash all the buzz that she was under consideration.

Buzz?

The casting folks on “Dancing” are really under fire this season to come up with something big because, for the first time, the show will air against NBC’s singing-competition series “The Voice,” which has gotten off to a strong start.

“Dancing,” which debuts March 19, rises and falls in the ratings based largely on the celebrity casting. And polarizing political figures seem to do well for the show.

With the pressure of waiting for a possible “Dancing” invitation now off her back, Bachmann says she can focus on more serious issues, such as “cutting wasteful government spending, a successful conclusion to the decades-long St. Croix River Crossing Project in my district, and repealing the government takeover of health care.”

Dating, table for ‘3’

CBS has ordered a new dating reality series called “3” that’s kinda like “The Bachelorette,” except that three women simultaneously kick the tires on eligible guys to see whom they’d like to select as their made-for-TV true love.

Only on this show, a guy may turn down the advances of one of the women if he’d like to hold out for, you know, the cuter one.

That does so much to restore the natural order of things and make this show much more realistic than the Disney fairy tale that is “The Bachelorette” on ABC.

“Three women share a nationwide journey to find true love through mass auditions,” Voiceover Guy says on the producers’ Web site.

“ ‘3’ is a relationship show that won’t perpetuate a fairy-tale myth about dating,” said Jennifer Bresnan, CBS’s executive vice president of alternative programming, during Wednesday’s announcement. “It intimately documents the search for love and the reality of dating — the anticipation, the excitement, the rejection. Along the way, we’ll see personalities who are real, and flawed and simply human.”

On the Web site, you can see a snippet of the Israeli version of the show, in which one of the women goes on several dates with her guy of choice — until he suddenly announces: “It’s not working. It’s not working. You can’t force it.”

“So — you say it’s not working?” the woman responds, seeking clarification.

“No,” the guy explains again, gallantly resisting what we’re sure had to have been an urge to hit her over the head with a brick.

And if CBS gets really lucky, all three women in the U.S. version will decide that they like the same guy and a catfight will erupt — in which case, it’s sure to be the highest-rated show that week

In Israel, this show was a hit. Last summer’s premiere was the country’s most successful reality show launch in four years.

The original format is from Keshet Broadcasting, which, weirdly, is the same company that did the original Israeli version of Showtime’s political thriller, “Homeland.”

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