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Season Three, EEEEE!


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#1

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Posted Mar 10, 2006 @ 5:06 PM

I know it feels like VM is a lock for renewal, that they have to take it to the CW, but I don't think we should be so complacent. The ratings, they blow. Hard.

Last year, it was clear the show was in danger, and we organized and campaigned our hearts out, and the show was renewed. I'd like to recapture that fervor because the show is still in desperate need of new viewership.

Think of it this way: even if you believe deep down in your heart of hearts that VM will be on the CW next season...it's actually going to be in more trouble because UPN-sized ratings just won't cut it. But if we grab viewers before the move, that's a few hundred thousand new seeds to bring in new viewers for the third season. The more work we do now, the less work we have to do later. I don't want to go through this again next year.

frankdbunny on LJ has put together an awesome post full of things you can do to increase both VM's exposure and its viewership. It's even matched to your mood: there're even things to do if you're not happy with this season!

One of the main things that needs to be done immediately is to get the word out that the show is returning March 15, and it's going to be a nine-episode rollercoaster ride until the finale.

So throw out your ideas as to what we can do to guarantee a season three.

#2

brimtoast

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Posted Mar 10, 2006 @ 6:50 PM

Well, my favorite campaigns are already on there, since I helped write the list (as did zimshan), but I am happy to single them out.

One of the ones I really liked was making lists or guides on Amazon.com. You make lists of favorite TV shows, stories with best father-daughter relationships, favorite mystery stories, or whatever else you want. We've got one guide that was written for this campaign that has been viewed 460 times so far. And all those people saw Veronica Mars listed with a bunch of other good shows and saw an explanation of why the show was worth watching. I'll bet it got some converts. Plus, the lists are fun to make, and they keep having impact over and over again, months after you first made them.

Another great campaign right now would be to get one of the big TV columnists (Kristin Veitch, Michael Ausiello, Matt Roush) to mention MI.net's $4000 Shower campaign. I am certain that it would get tons of postcards sent and would probably work faster than any other method. Sending them questions about it, asking if they know about it, and stuff like that, would probably all help to make sure somebody eventually mentions it. I'm also going to try to go on Kristin's weekly chat this Monday and ask as many VM questions I can think of, and other people should do that, too, if they think of it, since a Q&A with a ton of VM info might get the attention/interest of other people (like Lost fans) who haven't been watching but would probably like the show.

Edited by brimtoast, Mar 10, 2006 @ 6:53 PM.


#3

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Posted Mar 10, 2006 @ 8:16 PM

I loved those suggestions and will be puting some of them to use.

A couple more low key but possibly effective suggestions is to convince all those who are waiting for the season 2 DVD to come out to actually watch the show now. I can't even begin to count how many people there are out there who have either watched the season 1 DVD or are just waiting to get into the show but refuse to tune in until they are caught up.

Make a deal with people to trade one episode of their favorite show for an episode of VM. People are more willing to give it a try when they are getting something in return. I already have one deal struck and am working to get more.

If you are financially able, give VM season 1 DVDs as gifts. People are more willing to give the show a try if they can at their leisure without spending any money.

Create as much buzz on the message boards and with people you know about the show coming back on March 15th. Get all the columnists to talk about it. We need to make this final half of the season launch as successful as possible.

Lastly, just get the word out about VM. There are still a ton of people who have not heard of VM yet and don't know what they are missing.

ETA: I just remembered one more. When you go to stores that sell the season 1 DVDs, move a copy to the end cap display or to some other prominent location where more people can see it. If that is not possible then just move one copy to the shelf at eye level. With VM being alphabetized at V it is usually at the very bottom of the shelf. The same thing can be done with the CD.

Edited by queenjacyln, Mar 10, 2006 @ 11:31 PM.


#4

notanextra

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Posted Mar 10, 2006 @ 8:49 PM

When you go into your local Blockbuster and HollywoodVideo, look for VM on the shelves. If it is not there, please ask them to get it. Even though we have all seen Season One, the added visibility will increase the odds that people who have not will pick it up. We've all rented movies that we may have heard a little about, or that looked interesting, or that have words like " Critics are calling it the Best thing since sliced bread" plastered on it , or maybe just had a cute blond on the package.

#5

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Posted Mar 10, 2006 @ 10:53 PM

I was at three different stores today looking for a film (Nine Lives with Amanda Seyfried if anyone's interested but that's beside the point) and while I didn't find the film I was looking for, I did spot the season 1 DVDs at all three places. I also pimped VM to the dental hygenist I went to today. She watches AI (she pretty much confessed that's the only show she watches), but I did tell her about the Sunday reruns so perhaps that is another way to get viewers interested. I'm not sure how much the weekend reruns count, but maybe, just maybe if they're interested enough by the weekend reruns, they'll say "OMG, I need see this earlier in the week. Saturday/Sunday is just too long when I know it's on Wednesday." Hey, it could happen. *shrugs*

Edited by Moonlighter, Mar 10, 2006 @ 10:57 PM.


#6

LetRiverRun

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Posted Mar 10, 2006 @ 10:54 PM

These are some great ideas. One other: if you have money to buy DVDs for your friends, try donating a set of VM S1 DVDs to your local library. Most public libraries have DVD sections now but not every library has money to buy entire seasons of TV on DVD. I know there is a campaign to get Joss Whedon's shows in libraries around the country, but I think VM should be there also.

#7

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Posted Mar 10, 2006 @ 11:09 PM

Okay, so I got a pedicure today. And the woman in the next seat works for the UPN channel here in Rhode Island. We were just chatting, but when I learned that she worked there, I asked about the new CWT channel. She said she was very excited and it should be really cool. So then, of course, I segued into my favorite show. And she said it's definitely in the lineup. Most of the lesser UPN shows will be dropped in favor of the WB shows, but Veronica Mars will be on the schedule.

#8

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Posted Mar 10, 2006 @ 11:57 PM

So then, of course, I segued into my favorite show. And she said it's definitely in the lineup. Most of the lesser UPN shows will be dropped in favor of the WB shows, but Veronica Mars will be on the schedule.

While this is great news, I don't think that we can rely on anything until the official schedule is announced in May. If VM ratings don't perk back up to at least pre-winter hiatus levels, I wouldn't be surprised if the network execs dropped it. Frankly, my assumption is that at the time of the original CW announcement and perhaps through till now, the network execs are planning on including VM. But nothing is set in stone and bad ratings could easily cause them to change their minds. I think that's very dangerous to assume that everything is fine for S3. More viewers and better ratings can never hurt a show after all.

#9

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Posted Mar 11, 2006 @ 1:39 AM

Frankly, my assumption is that at the time of the original CW announcement and perhaps through till now, the network execs are planning on including VM. But nothing is set in stone and bad ratings could easily cause them to change their minds.

Thinking about it, the announcement for The CW was made THE DAY BEFORE Donut Run aired, which got the lowest ratings of the whole season. The mention of VM in the announcement was probably made based on the ratings that it had been getting up through OAV which were decent enough at the time for it to be possibly included on the new network. If they had waited a couple of days to make the annoucement until after DR aired, they may have not mentioned it as much. And if they decided strictly based on the ratings from episodes 11, 12, and 13, it doesn't look good for the show.

But since this is coming from a person who thinks very optimistically about most things in life and strongly believes that there will be a third season, I think that what they did with the show(pulling it off until ANTM started to get better ratings and running the last nine episodes without repeats in-between to keep the flow going) shows that they are somewhat-commited to doing what it takes to make sure the show does well enough to warrant another season on the new network. And at least UPN is promoting on the promos for the new episode that they will be running nine original episodes and telling any new viewers that if they need to get caught up on what's going on in the season to go to the UPN website and visit the Video Diary section, which shows that as long as people are watching UPN at the time that they will informed on when the show will return and what to do to get caught up.

That's not to say that new or sometimes viewers actually watch UPN all the time and can see those promos and that if the ratings don't get back up to where they should be that VM will be picked up for a third season. Which is the whole reason for this thread: to give ideas on how to get people informed about the show and give VM a better chance to be picked to be on the new network. Since I'm not a very vocal person in real life and don't have many friends to get to watch the show, I'll probably do the things that don't require a lot of work like the postcards, writing on bills, and making sure columnists like Kristin Veitch and Michael Ausiello mention the shower campaign on their respective sites. But I'll (hopefully) do whatever I can to get people to watch this great show that they're missing out on and get better ratings for the show and give TPTB a better reason to put the show on the new network.

And she said it's definitely in the lineup. Most of the lesser UPN shows will be dropped in favor of the WB shows, but Veronica Mars will be on the schedule.

I also agree that this may sound like great news coming from someone who works at a UPN station, but this may be based on the same information that most other people are basing the fact that VM will be on the new network: when Les Moonves said that Dawn Ostoff said that Gilmore Girls and VM would be the perfect pairing on The CW. Though since this is coming from someone who works at a UPN station they may get different info than we get about the network, so I may be wrong. But I wouldn't trust anything that those people say about what shows will or won't make it to the new network until they make the official announcement in May where it's revealed what shows will make it to The CW. They may be making the same assumptions we are making about the future of the show based on the little information that has been given out about the new network. So I'd say just ignore them and focus on getting more viewers to watch the show when it returns.

#10

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Posted Mar 11, 2006 @ 5:18 PM

I bought Season One of Veronica Mars after only having seen 6 episodes... and I will do my damndest to spread word.

#11

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Posted Mar 11, 2006 @ 6:13 PM

I don't knowabout anybody else, but for me, it's hard to recruit new viewers without making it sound awfully cheesy. I can't get across "teen detective" without making VM seem extremely campy. And I've tried describing it like TV Columnists have in the past (ie. a mix of LA Law and Twin Peaks) but the reality is, neither I nor my friends have ever seen these shows before. It's also hard to squeeze in all the plot twists and arcs from season one into a limited time without making them confused or bored out of their mind.

Any suggestions?

#12

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Posted Mar 11, 2006 @ 8:15 PM

My friends are usually Joss Whedon fans and also like GG, Alias and shows with hot, kick-ass female characters..(GG isn't about kicking ass but they are sarcastic, which we appreciate!). I usually tell people if they like shows with a hot, kick-ass female leads then they'll enjoy VM or if they enjoyed Buffy & Angel, etc.

Other than sharing my DVD's, I'm hitting up my friends that are east coast and sending them the channel + day/time VM is on so they can watch it since I don't think the TPTB care much about the Mountain time zone although I have a lot of converts here that will be watching on Wednesday. I went to www.meevee.com and looked up their zipcode so I could send them info for their local UPN channel. Needless to say I'm only doing this to my close friends since otherwise it may come off as a little obsessed stalkerish as you need to input their zip codes :)

#13

brimtoast

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Posted Mar 11, 2006 @ 8:25 PM

There are a couple of things you can do to convince people without having to rely on the cheesy premise. (For more info, see this post.)

1) You can rely only on what sort of people like it (Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Stephen King) or what guest stars are in it, and hook them that way without explaining. When they ask what it's about, say something like "you'll see," or "it's hard to explain, but just watch an episode or two." A variation of ths is just asking them rely on your taste without explaining the show, or offering to watch something they like in exchange, so they will watch without needed to be intrigued by the premise.

2) There are some quotes from critics that don't rely on comparisons to other TV shows or movies. For example: "Equal parts intrigue, drama, and humor, Veronica Mars is also a lesson book for the disenfranchised. Few tv series aim so high; even fewer succeed so well." - PopMatters or "When it comes right down to it, the sharply written "Veronica Mars" is the story of a girl who lost her best friend and her mom in the same short span of time, and who may never get over either event." which is one of my favorite descriptions, although it might not work on other people as well.

3) Some people on the getting hooked thread have said they started reading CB's recaps and then decided they had to watch the show. So you might direct them to the recap for the pilot if they prefer reading to watching.

4) If they prefer watching short things to watching things with a big commitment, there are a couple of great fan-made music videos that are actually made as spoiler-lite previews of the show. One really good one by naty_ is here.

#14

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Posted Mar 11, 2006 @ 10:21 PM

Didn't RT also say he loved the description of VM--from Salon.com, I think--as "Heathers meets Chinatown"? Both movies are classics and seem to appeal to male audiences as well as female. Since Chinatown is noir and Heathers is a dark comedy (don't know it if it's noir, exactly), the comparison doesn't sound too cheesy-teen-detective.

#15

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Posted Mar 12, 2006 @ 1:54 AM

What, no ad this year? ;)

#16

LexieWallace

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Posted Mar 12, 2006 @ 6:21 AM

Hi, I'm new to Veronica Mars so I will tell you how my sister in law got me hooked...

We went to the video store - she asked if I had seen Veronica Mars and when I said no, told me she was obsessed and that I just had to see it for myself. When I asked what it was about, she said that I would just have to wait and see. We went back to my house and started watching the first episode and didn't stop...

Now I am equally obsessed, and have shared my DVD's with about 5 more people.

Edited by LexieWallace, Mar 12, 2006 @ 6:21 AM.


#17

Pardon My Snark

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Posted Mar 12, 2006 @ 10:00 AM

The ratings, they blow. Hard.

For those of you who think VM's renewal is guaranteed, here are some sobering statistics.

Of the 11 shows in UPN's current roster, VM is ranked 9th. EHC, ANTM, Smackdown, Girlfriends, All of Us, Half and Half, One on One, and Love, Inc. all have better ratings than VM. The only shows that have lower ratings that VM are Eve and Cuts.

Before the CW announcement, VM's season average was 3 million viewers. This is only 200,000 more viewers than last year's season finale (2.85 million). The negligible growth is very disappointing when you factor in the ANTM lead-in, the publicity from Joss, Kevin Smith, Stephen King, the CBS airings, etc.

The average rating for the three post-CW episodes is 1.9 million viewers. That's a a loss of 1.1 million viewer (-36%) from the previous 10 episodes.

1.9 million is the lowest post-CW average among UPN's current roster.

When you factor in the post-CW episodes, VM's current season average is 2.8 million viewers. Kevin Hill's season average was 2.8 million, and Dawn canceled it because "the ratings were not as strong as we really hoped."

If UPN had not pulled VM during February sweeps, with the current trend of 2 million viewers, the show's season average would have fallen below Kevin Hill's average.

With 3 million viewers, Dawn and Les were willing to take a chance and put VM on the CW lineup. With 2 million viewers, the future is very uncertain.

#18

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Posted Mar 12, 2006 @ 11:09 AM

(This post is really aimed for anyone who is going to be writing in to Kristin or Michael Ausiello)

Let me start by giving my brief history of how I started watching and then a little advice-

I am very new to VM. I DID NOT WATCH SEASON 1 (in fact the first time I actually "tuned into" a "new" episode was Donut Run) however, I am a weekly reader of both Kristin and Ausiello's columns/spoilers/Q&A's. Week after week there would continue to be questions/comments starting with "how great was VM last night...can you tell me...." and there were so many questions on the show my curiosity was piqued. I eventually, (in January I think), bought the Season 1 DVD and of course after a weekend of non-stop watching was absolutely hooked.

My point of boring everyone here is this: IF you post a question to Kristin or Ausiello make sure that you start your question off with a positive compliment towards the show (rather than a "VM has been kind of down lately is it going to get any better" type of start). I started watching VM because of all of the POSITIVE feedback that was given (mainly by fans) on the Kristin/Ausiello Q&A's. I honestly don't know if I ever actually would've tuned in to the gem of VM had it not been for all of the glowing remarks by fans.

The other point that I will make is this: writing into popular columnists DOES work - new fans do come out of it, I am a perfect example!

Here's to a Season 3!!!

#19

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Posted Mar 12, 2006 @ 1:08 PM

Honestly I'd feel better about pushing for another season if I knew that it'd be as good as S1. I think the lower ratings are partially because the product has not been up to par.

If they can show me that they've still got it, well, then I'll be happy with supporting S3; what I don't want to do is have a show I really liked driven into the ground because it was a one-season gimmick.

#20

spacecitymarc

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Posted Mar 12, 2006 @ 1:53 PM

Heh. There's a part of me that wants to hug you SO HARD, Kalbear.

I understand how you feel. Unfortunately, there's obviously no way anybody can guarantee that. It's one of those things that we just don't know. Hell, I'm sure it's just one of those things that Rob just doesn't know. But look at it this way: it will never be able to be restored to its former glory if it lies a-mouldering i' the ground.

ETA: Fanaticized!

Edited by spacecitymarc, Mar 12, 2006 @ 1:59 PM.


#21

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Posted Mar 12, 2006 @ 8:48 PM

This thread has been very insightful. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Love, Inc. and Girlfriends pull in more viewers than VM. Not to diss anyone here who watches those shows, but what the hell? I will certainly be talking up this show whenever anyone asks why I won't watch Lost on Wednesdays anymore.

More thoughts on how to "recruit" new fans. I feel like a Jehovah's witness thinking in those terms:

Big ups to the poster who mentioned posting on online bulletin boards. From a marketing standpoint, word of mouth is still the strongest tool that ensures interest in a product. A person is way more likely to watch a movie or read a book if people around him praise it rather than seeing a snazzy commercial or billboard for it. So discussion forums like this one are ideal for generating buzz, especially if you're already active in other forums and other posters tend to respect your opinions. Myspace and Friendster are good outlets for this sort of thing, too, as are writing a blog and commenting on other people's. Ditto with lists on Amazon and other review sites. I've learned about a lot of cool bands and books from reading the lists on Amazon. Other sites such as Epinions get a lot of traffic, too.

As far as the S1 vs. S2 quality debate, it's always hard to get over that initial stage of love. But shows change and evolve, just like people, and you sometimes you have to stick around through some of the awkward finding your footing parts to get to the good stuff. If you know people who have stopped tuning in b/c they don't like the show as much as they used to, remind them that a lot of excellent programs do things that irritate the viewers but pull off a great overall product. Just to use one example, which you may or may not see as appropriate, for every stinker ep and storyline on the X-Files, there was a gripping one that left you intrigued/confused/frightened and made you keep coming back.

#22

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Posted Mar 13, 2006 @ 10:16 AM

For those of us in a letter-writing mood, does anyone have the snail mail addresses for Dawn Ostroff and Les Moonves and/or anyone else who has clout?

#23

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Posted Mar 13, 2006 @ 11:06 AM

I could be wrong, but I'm not sure that letter-writing will do much good. There's been some discussion about this amongst the MI.netters, and (unless I totally misread my colleagues) I think we concluded that the crucial issue here is getting new viewers. Dawn and Les know that we love VM, and I'd wager that they're quite aware of the fervor with which we love VM. But it won't matter if the numbers aren't there. The fact is, ratings are lower than we'd like, and how MUCH the fans like the show will eventually be overshadowed by how MANY fans like the show. So while writing to them probably couldn't hurt, that's effort that could be directed towards generating new fans.

That's not to get anybody down at all. I think that there are a number of factors that make VM an excellent choice to be picked up by the CW, but increasing viewership can only make that decision more appealing. So I think that's where our focus should lie.

#24

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Posted Mar 13, 2006 @ 12:17 PM

I agree that what Veronica Mars needs the most is viewers. However, that is the one factor that we have the least control over. I'm not saying we should abandon our efforts to get people to tune in to the show but if there is something YOU can do to directly affect the powers that be, go for it. I have heard that executives do take notice if they get a large amount of mail about a particular show and it does affect their decision making. Yes, they know that us fans love the show to death but it does not hurt to keep showing them. Snail mail is more effective then email and I'm going to write my letter soon!

Getting back to the viewers thing because it is so important, I think it is the most critical to convince those people who already have decided to watch the show (either through the S1 DVDs or are just waiting for next season to jump in) to watch the dang show now! Those people will be the easiest to sell because they have interest in the show already but just need to nudge to get over the hump and watch the show now. People who have never heard of VM or have no interest in watching are a much tougher sell and may forget to watch the show or keep watching it after an episode. I wonder if we can come up with some specific strategies for those who have shown interest need that nudge to tune in this week.

#25

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Posted Mar 13, 2006 @ 12:17 PM

If you do feel like writing letters, you should probably write about the fact that you've hooked people previously uninterested in the show rather than the fact that you, personally, love it. They need to know that it's possible to increase viewership if people are given the chance to check it out.

#26

nothings

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Posted Mar 13, 2006 @ 12:25 PM

For those of you who think VM's renewal is guaranteed, here are some sobering statistics.

This has been discussed rather extensively in the Scheduling & Ratings thread, and the general opinion is that VM's ratings dropped precipitously when it got the South Beach lead; SB obviously totally tanked. I think the generally-held opinion is that the network powers that be see VM as a show with potential, and understand that it's tough to get numbers when you have a crappy lead-in (SB), a poorly-matched lead-in (ANTM), and serious competition for a significant part of your audience (Lost); therefore all indications are that they're not too worried about the numbers VM has been doing.

Rather than take my word for this summary of that thread, it's probably best to read the (relevant parts of the) thread yourself, as well as put discussion about the ratings and what they imply for a season 3 there.

#27

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Posted Mar 13, 2006 @ 1:05 PM

For those of you interested in writing to TPTB, CB posted about the $4,000 shower postcard campaign here. The postcard-generating script already has the addresses for Dawn Ostroff and Les Moonves. It also has fields where people can fill when they started watching the show and how many people they've hooked. As spacecitymarc and Polter-Cow said, the best thing fans can do to help the show is to get new viewers. We also need to let TPTB know that, despite what the ratings say, the show is gaining new viewers.

#28

LexieWallace

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Posted Mar 13, 2006 @ 2:26 PM

They are doing a survey on which shows should make it to the CW lineup on MSNBC at the address below. Veronica Mars is currently at 8% so get everyone you know to vote!


http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11009635/

#29

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Posted Mar 13, 2006 @ 3:43 PM

I think the generally-held opinion is that the network powers that be see VM as a show with potential, and understand that it's tough to get numbers when you have a crappy lead-in (SB), a poorly-matched lead-in (ANTM), and serious competition for a significant part of your audience (Lost); therefore all indications are that they're not too worried about the numbers VM has been doing.

Those are our assumptions and they don't necessarily reflect what the network execs think. Dawn Ostroff has shown a lot of support for VM, but in the end she's running a business and when the numbers don't work, they don't work. As of now, I believe that running reruns for the last few weeks was an effort to save VM's ratings from being tanked by SB and other competetion. However, if VM doesn't bounce back during the next few weeks, I would be very worried about getting S3.

One thing that concerns me about getting VM ratings back up is that between pre-emptions and long hiatuses, casual viewers may not know that new episodes are back on. (See Matt Roush's column for evidence of this - the questioner missed two episodes and doesn't know it.) They've gotten out of the habit of checking on Wednesdays and may have started watching an entirely different show. I think that one of the best ways to help the ratings rebound is to make sure that people know that there is a new episode this week and every week afterwards. So if you have friends that watch, remind them! Ask Kristin VM questions today. Email Ausiello. All we can do is try.

#30

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Posted Mar 13, 2006 @ 3:55 PM

For people who are interested, Kristin Veitch's weekly online chat is going to be in a little over an hour (at 5 EST/2 PST). Kristin's chat is a live Q&A about various TV shows. The transcripts are posted later that night, and my impression is that they are pretty widely read. Here are the transcripts from last week's chat. As you can see, there's only one question about Veronica Mars, which makes sense, since it was on hiatus. This week, though, and in the coming weeks, it would be great if a ton of people got on and sent in questions about VM.

For anybody who wants to do it, you first have to register with the site. Go here. The link to get into the chat was really difficult for me to find last week, and it turns out it doesn't actually appear until it's time for the chat to begin. If someone knows where to find it, let me know. Once you're in, you submit your questions by typing them in the chat window and clicking a button that says "Ask Kristin" or something. Once you've asked, I don't think you need to stick around to wait for the answer, although you can if you want.