Veep Debate TV — Beyond Boffo!

Veep Debate TV -- Beyond Boffo!
Senator Biden and Governor Palin debate, Thursday, October 2, 2008.

70 million U.S. television viewers watched the 2008 Vice-Presidential debate last Thursday. Even PBS had 3.5 million viewers. The first Presidential debate got 34 percent fewer viewers, 52.4 million, including 2.6 million on PBS.

The Veeps reaped 45 percent of households in the top markets, said Nielsen, while the September 26th McCain-Obama presidential debate got 31.6 percent. The Veeps vied on Thursday, a popular TV-watching night, and McCain and Obama tangled on a date-night Friday, but still . . . .

Nielsen uses electronic monitors in 55 major markets. The Palin-Biden matchup was hot in Baltimore, with a 59.1 household rating. Los Angeles was relatively lukewarm; with a 34.4 household Neilson number  (each rating point represents 1 percent of the total TV audience in a given market). Sociologists: is household structure the same in LA and Charm City? Just asking. Neilson can’t measure “households” in bars, but that’s where a good part of the prime advertising demographic caught this show.

But we digress. Compare the Nielson Household Rankings for TV programming during the week of September 22, 2008 to September 28, 2008:

Dancing With the Stars: 13.4
Grey’s Anatomy (Thursday 9PM): 11.9
Dancing With the Stars Special (9/23): 11.7
Desperate Housewives: 11.4
NCIS: 11.3
CSI Miami: 11.1
NBC Sunday Night Football: 11.8
Criminal Minds: 10.5
Dancing With the Stars Result: 10.4
The Mentalist: 9.9

Even Super Bowl XLI (Feb 4 2007) only pulled Nielsen numbers of 42.6.

Governor Palin and Senator Biden: Forget Washington. Forget Alaska and Delaware. You guys should have a TV series. We suggest a title like, oh, Debating with the Stars (the name just came to us out of the blue).

Much as we love Gwen Ifill, she is very busy right now, appearing on two PBS shows, writing a book, singing in her church choir. Ms. Ifill is also a bit too . . . PBS. We suggest a host with a bit more show biz pizzaz. If Sean Hannity isn’t available, try Fred Willard.

The concept: each week the moderator asks questions, Senator Biden answers them, Governor Palin answers questions no one asked, and a panel of wise-cracking celebrity has-beens scores the results. Maybe we can re-cycle contestants from Hollywood Squares (re-cycling is very big right now).

Governor Palin has been angling for the “Joe Sixpack” vote, so we could approach America’s biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch, about sponsorship (anybody here speak Belgian?).  Maybe Cindy McCain can help us there. Senator Biden’s endorsement could land the Amtrak contract. And Todd Palin races an Arctic Cat F6 600. Think Arctic Cat has an advertising budget, Governor?

Let’s do lunch. Our entourage will call your staffers.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Say “”Goodnight,” Gracie.

One Response to “Veep Debate TV — Beyond Boffo!”

  1. McCain and Palin Love Joe Six-Pack. You Betcha. « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] Ifill’s first question to the candidates at Thursday night’s Vice Presidential Debate, concerned their thoughts about the $700 Billion Congressional rescue (or bailout) bill, which had […]

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