Saturday, June 03, 2006

Bad News Bees

While we loved watching the finals of the National Spelling Bee, the ratings say that much of America did not:
Despite all-day Disney networks coverage of the Scripps National Spelling Bee that started on ESPN and carried over to a final two-hour live telecast on ABC, the Alphabet Network couldn't get more than a C in the preliminary Nielsen Media Research ratings released Friday.

Only 8 million people tuned in the telecast, which earned a 2.2 rating/7 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen. That tied it for third place with NBC in the demo between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., when its competition was Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" reality show, CBS's game shows and a "CSI" repeat and NBC's four repeats of "The Office." But the spelling bee -- which was won by Spring Lake, NJ eighth grader Katherine Close, who correctly spelled "ursprache" -- rose steadily in the ratings. At 8 p.m., only 6.7 million people tuned in; at 9:30 p.m., there were 9.1 million viewers.

Unfortunately for ABC, that was still only good enough for a third-place showing in the last half hour in both total viewers and adults 18-49, behind Fox's "Dance" and CBS's
More about the Bee's ratings here.

I continue to be disappointed by the sad fact that our mass culture does not celebrate the academic achievements of our young people while countless millions get all hot-and-bothered at the mere prospect of watching two groups of pampered millionaires playing a children's game one Sunday each year.

I hope the networks give the Bee another chance.
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