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Glee's Ratings Plummet 23 Percent

Noel Sheppard's picture

For over two years, Fox's hit series Glee has been the talk of the town.

But in its third season, the teen musical sensation intentionally stretching the boundaries of broadcast television decency has hit a speed bump seeing its ratings plummet 23 percent according to the Los Angeles Times:

A rare TV/music double sensation just last year, "Glee" — an over-the-top romp about a high-school show choir filled with colorful characters — has officially entered its awkward middle years.

Some of the stats are about as inviting as pimples and braces. "Glee" has shed 23% of its audience compared with last season even after DVR viewing is factored in, according to Nielsen. A 3-D movie tie-in was released in August and drew disappointing box office. Sales of the "Glee" albums — 13 in all, featuring the show's signature, chorus-style covers of pop hits — have plummeted lately compared with earlier efforts.

The show is averaging 10.3 million total viewers this season, down 23% compared with last year. And in its all-important adults 18 to 49 demographic, "Glee" is off by 21%, which indicates young viewers — the ones who drive most cultural trends — are cooling on it. That may leave behind a smaller audience of "Gleeks," the preferred term for hard-core fans.

Bad numbers to be sure. What might be one of the reasons? Could it be the program's expressed intention to more aggressively target conservatives this year?

Or how about this:

In the most attention-grabbing episode this season, entitled "The First Time," the show teased viewers with the possibility of two consummated romances, one straight and one gay: singing star Rachel (Lea Michele) and her sometime boyfriend Finn (Cory Monteith), and Kurt (Chris Colfer) and his boyfriend Blaine (Darren Criss).

Although there was no nudity and the subject was handled discreetly by TV standards, some critics slammed the episode for what they said was promoting teen sex. complained of a "brazen, ratings-boosting publicity" ploy.

NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell noted at the time:

In Hollywood, the only truly serious sexual disease is virginity. It’s a dire and embarrassing condition, desperately in need of elimination. Teenagers that still have “it” are woefully immature. They might as well consider themselves to be walking the school hallways in diapers.

Along comes Fox Entertainment to enlighten us. Get ready. It’s sick.

Indeed. It is quite conceivable that the excessive display of teen sex - or even the discussion of it - has turned off many family viewers as few parents might be interested in watching such fare with their kids.

As the Culture and Media Institute's Erin Brown observed in August, Glee was one of the programs planning an abundance of sex-related content this season.

Maybe they've overdone it.

Others might think the subject of homosexuality has taken on too much focus this season.

When lead character Kurt's struggles with this and his relationship with his father as a result were the focus in previous seasons, it was handled with greater discretion.

Gay co-creator Ryan Murphy said that he wanted to stretch this envelope further. This included an on-air kiss between lead characters Kurt and Blain.

Maybe much of America isn't yet ready for such a thing on prime time broadcast television.

On a lighter note, it is also possible the illusion of teen talent has been destroyed.

I was first taken by this show when its pilot was aired after the American Idol final a few years ago. What struck me as a childhood singer and actor was the extraordinary performances by these kids.

When you discover, however, that these teens are played by actors and actresses ranging in age from 21 to 29, the show becomes far less amazing.

Truth be told, this former Gleek missed all but the first few episodes of this season.

It seems like many Americans, I haven't missed much.

(H/T Big Hollywood)


#1 The pop culture shows, seem to be enjoying shorter and shorter

life spans. I don't know if it is the fault of poor talent in writing, the fickleness of today's youngsters, or the gimmicky nature of the shows hittig high ratings in early days.

Sometimes I find myself wondering if TV was always this bad.

I'd like to thank Hollywood for renewing my interest in reading.

#2 Good morning Lipton

The hype gets the viewers, the content loses viewers.


Jesus Loves You so much He died for you

#3 Never seen the show

However, if it fails, I can't think of a better person to be unemployed than Jane Lynch. Although with her string of hate towards anyone that doesn't openly accept homosexuality as the greatest thing ever, she's got a long career ahead of her in Hollyweird.

President Obama is a Muslim (from his own lips), Kenyan (read it from his publicist) a homosexual (read it on a news magazine cover) and a Socialist (I'm alive and can see it for myself)

#4 Like Rosie ODonnell

Jane Lynch is just another bitter old lesbian, mad at the world for not accepting her chosen lifestyle. She's only one reason i dont watch this show.

If you're not getting flak, you're not over the target.

#5 I read that...

too quickly, and I thought 'biter' at first, but that would be a bit aggressive.

#6 Neither have I TP. Never

Neither have I TP.

Never cared for the premise of the show nor the music.

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so." President Ronald Reagan

#7 Maybe

people are finally getting tired of Hollywood shoving homosexuality and lesbianism down their throats every time they turn the tv on.

If you're not getting flak, you're not over the target.

#8 That's my complaint, too, that it's being shoved down our throat

Yes, I don't mind the occasional gay character, if they want to protray a community or segment of the community realistically. But I often feel that they're intention is to rub my nose in it. As if they view me as a puppy who's pooped on the rug: their assumption appears to be that, outside Hollywood where the "get it," the rest of America are homophobic, intolerant Neanderthals supressing gay-bashing tendencies, and the Hollywood types have to discipline us.

I don't read gay literature, why would I want to watch gay entertainment?

But instead, from Desperate Housewives to Modern Family (both shows I like a lot BTW), it seems almost a requirement that shows have a prominent, openly-gay character if not a gay couple.

I'm a Sci Fi fan, but have given up on Torchwood because of the extended gay love scenes. Who thought that was a good idea? (Somebody gay, I'd assume.)

I'm okay with a realistic protrayal of gays in a community (in Desperate Housewives it DOES give them a lot of plot options), just don't rub my nose in it, that's all I ask.


Fox was warned that if they allowed that Teen Gay show to air, it would not have a good effect. Glee has been dropping ever since they aired that show. Were tired of Liberal shows preaching to us.


#10 more the writing than anything

the storyline is totally sucking this year and the broadway numbers they picked at the start of the year fell flat

#11 Boycott

This is terrible. Tanking ratings are clearly related to bigotry - any company which refuses to advertise on Glee, for the next 10 years (at the top ad rates) should be picketed, boycotted and fire-bombed. Non-complying execs should be forced to take sensitivity training or sent to re-education camps. I'm writing a letter right now demanding legalization which would require companies to advertise on progressive programing or be slapped with punitive fines.

If Glee goes off the air we'll miss plots lines like:

A cheerleader and her girlfriend are both artificially inseminated by the gay son of a Koran-burning preacher. The children are born on the same day, and named Alec and Baldwin and the Glee club performs a musical called the "Emasculated Conception".

A fat kid announces he's gay, then changes his mind and decides he's bisexual and then ops for a sex change/cosmetic operation, to "look" like the female version of Chaz Bono. The glee club performs a musical number called "I had a Bono, now I Don't".

If Glee is canceled none of this will happen! This is the year of the protestor - act up!

#12 JPTSO3

LMFAO!! Thanks!


Facts are like kryptonite to the liberal.

#13 Glee

This is terrible. Tanking ratings are clearly related to bigotry

So everytime someone dis-agrees with you for whatever reason, there a bigot huh? Hmm...Hopefully Glee will do a wonderful Christmas show about the birth of Christ..then I guess they would be a bigot then huh? Forcing their views on someone else...Ghezzz and good grief you libs are something else


#14 huh?

Apparently my post exceeded your depth, or did you stop reading at the first two lines? You appear to have tripped on the shark fin. That, or you were attempting to pull my leg, in which case... I think you whiffed ( see Rocky's reply)
Just a suggestion... spell check?

#15 Sarc on

I usually avoid complaints like this by putting something line "/sarc on" in the message. Your intent was plain to me, but it took me more than a few seconds to realize you were not serious.

Not that your post wasn't great, though. Thanks.

#16 Kind of a strange universe we live in

Very strange universe where the most RATIONAL news on TV is aired, by, arguably, the same network where they air the most PERVERSE television shows. I understand that Fox has to make money off the idiots one way or the other, but I'm not sure that this is the way. Frankly, they should take an economic hint from the movie industry, where the largest grossing movies are PG and G rated.

"The news and truth are not the same thing." -Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER

#17 I often ponder

I often ponder this as well. How two divisions of the same company can be such polar opposites. Unfortunately, the fact that Fox Entertainment puts out such garbage (and so often!) taints my feelings towards the News side of things.

Also, I can't for the life of me figure out why Bret Beier isn't on network Fox from 6 to 7. He would blow away the other network news programs and Fox is just showing repeats at that time anyway. Oh well, I guess that's why I'm not a big time television producer!

#18 "Pushing the envelope" seems

"Pushing the envelope" seems to mean, "I have created a popular show, now how can I sabotage it so I can tell myself I'm a victim of intolerance?"

Meanwhile, legions of high-schoolers are now depressed because they haven't managed to lose their virginity by the ripe age of 15.

#19 Just what tv needs is

more gays, and more gay sex. You need edgy for tv success!!

#20 ⇒ No surprise on the Glee ratings

Only Harry Smith and Katie Couric have allowed more investigation into dark places than Glee.

Paging Doctor Proctor!

#21 LOL - If it wasn't for NB, I wouldn't even know the show existed

And no, I don't live in a cave, either.

-But I might end up in one if Obama isn't run off soon.


Vote for the American in November

#22 I asked a very liberal pediatrician colleague about "Glee"...

...and she said she was horrified by the show's licentious attitude towards teen sexuality. As she practices in the area of pediatric infectious diseases, she sees a fair amount of STDs in patients anywhere from birth to early adulthood. Woundeth not the messenger, oh lurking liberal trolls, as these are her opinions.

She started by saying that far too many shows showing teen sex focus on pregnancy almost exclusively, and not on sexually transmitted diseases or the fragility of emotions that are present in adolescents. She particularly pointed out that most of these shows provide little or no advocacy for the emotional implications of sex and sexually transmitted diseases and always provoke fun at virgins or those who choose to wait out of personal convictions and beliefs (religious or otherwise). She also stated that while most teens will experiment, there are ones who do to excess and end up with multiple cases of various STDs, damaging their reproductive systems and in some cases causing sterility. Another beef she had with shows like this is the absence of an alternative, that being a stable, married, loving couple who actually talk to their children in a thoughtful and cogent manner and instead we get bumbling, out of touch dads or cougar-like moms.

I agree with her on these points, but I will add again these come from a very liberal pediatric infectious diseases specialist that I have known for many years. This shows you that there is disgust about this matter from all points on the political spectrum.

#23 I agree that sex has

I agree that sex has emotional implications that teenagers are often not ready for, but I also think people too often roll the moral implications into the word "emotional" because they think "moral" is a bad word. Having the wrong values in life can lead to problems in your life down the road even if you don't see them yet...

#24 In the case of adolescents and teenagers...

...morals and emotions are essentially the same functional equivalents. They lack the years of experience that tell most normal adults that the consequences of sex can be both emotional and moral, so the result is feelings are equivocal to morals (and vice-versa) in the ambiguously defined world of adolescents and teenagers. Most people who sleep around have regrets about it later in life, and particularly if they affected other lives with STDs or negative emotional reactions like rejection. This ambiguity is one reason I don't practice in the hormonally-addled world of child psychiatry. No thanks--I had four teenagers of my own at home to deal with and they were enough.

#25 jumped the shark

I wanted to like this show sooo much, because I like to see young people working hard and striving for something they want. I enjoyed the singing and performing enormously. But by the end of last season, I knew it was over for me. I have not watched any episodes this year. Jane Lynch's character "Sue Sylvester" was so malignant that she ceased to be remotely believable. The "Christmas" episode where she and her Downs Syndrome cohort slither about the dark school building stealing presents was the "jump the shark" moment for me. I won't even comment on the sexsexsex/homosexuality---that's hardly an original topic on television these days, except I did get rather tired of such teenage homosexual angst. I wish all of the young actors the best of luck in their future careers. It wasn't for a lack of talent on their part that this show has flopped.

#26 What a shock! Too much gay agenda!

See what happens when thats constantly shoved down our throats? And the anti-Republican crap didnt help either, Ryan!

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. BEN FRANKLIN

#27 Never saw it. Thought I might

Never saw it. Thought I might like it because of Jane Lynch, but the show always seemed to pleased with itself.

#28 Sorry, I Can't Mask My "Glee"...

As I have said many times...

There is a big difference between being understanding and accepting of alternative lifestyles and most of what goes on in the lamestream media on these topics.  Examples: 

  • It's more "hip" to be gay. 
  • Rachel Madcow is smarter because she's gay. 
  • If you're not a staunch promoter of LGBT lifestyles, you're a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal.

Quite honestly, the agenda of many, and the liberal press in particular, is NOT balance and acceptance, it is imposing and promoting the lifestyle. 

Big difference to me.  Ms. Lynch learned nothing from watching the original pioneer, Ellen Degeneres.  People generally had no problem with her lifestyle or the fact that it was an open topic on her show, even if tongue in cheek.  But that wasn't enough for her, she had to push the agenda until the show got unpopular and THEN canceled.

At the end of the day, I guess being gay doesn't mean you're smarter afterall.

The Obamination... A crisis leading to a catastrophe..(please donate to MRC)

#29 Losers

Why to they use the symbol for 'LOSER' in the title. G-LOSER-ee.
Is it because the main characters are all losers and the audience is full of losers? That would make sense, I guess.

#30 Glee - Just another commercial for the progressive agenda

Hollywood is just the media wing of the progressive church. All hail dependence of the government program.

Ask yourself why "Gay" is injected into every single TV show these days? Is it to open our closed hetero christian minds or is it to get gay marrage enacted so that more people can get the governement "benne" checks flowing in exchange for votes?

Ask yourself why any show would promote teen sex for entertainment using actors twice the age of teens? Is it to shed our backward christian teachings or it is to get more girls pregnant and plugged into the welfare system to get the governement "benne" checks flowing in exchange for votes?

Ask yourself why Christians and their beliefs are roundly criticized, made fun of, and discredited with every breath of the script from hollywood? Christians are in COMPETITION with the church of the government. Competition for ideas, hearts and minds. The government wants to OWN you and the only way to do it is to tell kids that their parents are stupid and old fashioned. Promiscuous? No problem, the governement has a program for that. Pregnant? The governement has a program for that. Hungry, sick, tired, jobless, drunk, angry, bored? There's a program for that.

In essence, almost every hollywood production is geared to get you to believe that the government is the source of all goodness and light. Anyone who gets in the way of that belief is thouroughly discredited, impugned, or flattly destroyed personally. Tolerance? The only thing that will be tolerated is ever increasing dependence. And don't you dare make fun of our gracious lord-pope president! You racist!

Hollywood is just the media wing of the progressive church. All hail dependence of the government TV program.

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