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Does tragedy help boost TV ratings?

— Media & Technology —

If any of you read the tabloids regularly like I do, you already know that Courteney Cox and David Arquette are on the outs after 11 years of marriage. Apparently they separated months ago but remain close friends.  I find this not to be surprising at all considering the failure rate of Hollywood marriages. What I do find interesting concerns overnight tv ratings for Cox’s ABC sitcom Cougar Town. According to an article in Media Life Magazine, after news broke of the Cox/Arquette split this week, the show averaged a 3.2 adults 18-49 rating.  This was up 7 percent from last week’s 3.0 rating. Could Cox’s publicized drama have actually given the show a lift?  I wouldn’t go as far to say the two purposefully spread rumors of a split to boost the shows tv ratings. I wouldn’t go as far to say Arquette went out publically with another woman to help boost Cox’s popularity either. Does celebrity tragedy help boost television ratings? What do you think?

In comparison, the 20/20 special that ran last night on the rescue of the Chilean miners averaged a 1.8 adults 18-49 rating.  Does America care more about popular celebrity romances than the tragedy suffered by the Chilean miners and their families? These poor minors were trapped underground for 65 days. They had to follow a strict regimen of diet and exercise just to survive. I wonder what the overnight ratings would be like if the Chilean miners were celebrities?  I’m going to be honest.  I didn’t watch the special.  I watched Cougar Town. But before you’re all ashamed to know me, I saw a little on the rescue on the nightly news and read about it this morning on the Internet. I’m so happy they were finally rescued and can go home to their families.

Amanda Janssen-Egan
Posted by Amanda Janssen-Egan