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Summary:

In a development that could kill the network dreams of other fledgling web series, quarterlife‘s premiere on NBC last night bombed. TV by the Numbers paints the not-so-pretty picture: quarterlife came in last place in its time slot, with a mere 3.86 million viewers. An ABC […]

In a development that could kill the network dreams of other fledgling web series, quarterlife‘s premiere on NBC last night bombed. TV by the Numbers paints the not-so-pretty picture: quarterlife came in last place in its time slot, with a mere 3.86 million viewers. An ABC Primetime news special won the hour with 7.64 million viewers, and even the wait-wasn’t-that-canceled Jericho did way better, attracting 6.9 million people.

Over in the quarterlife forums, the faithful are licking their wounds, but remain confident that once the show is switched to its Sunday night slot, everything will be better. Elsewhere on the boards, quarterlifers have created a special “Welcome to the New group from NBC” thread to greet the influx of new fans — but as of this writing, only two noobs had posted a response (and they had seen the show on MTV).

The disappointing debut combined with the end of the writers’ strike could spell an early demise for the show’s TV aspirations. Maybe quarterlife star Bitsie Tulloch needs to find the time to start interacting with quarterlife fans online after all. The show will need all the help it can get.

UPDATE: Our own Liz Gannes spoke with quarterlife creator Marshall Herskovitz at the Harvard Business School Entertainment and Media Conference today. In a nice moment of candor, even Herskovitz admitted that the show “bombed” last night, and offered up some interesting commentary.

Herskovitz said “We shouldn’t have been on a network to begin with. Our show, probably if it was going to TV should have been on a cable network, and that’s probably where we’re going to end up.”

When asked about critics who said quarterlife was just a failed TV show on the web, and now it’s back on television where it belongs, Herskovitz said “I watched it last night, and when you saw it on TV it didn’t look like TV, and when you saw it on the Internet it didn’t look like the Internet.”

Liz has promised to post more good bits of info from the show, so check back later for her story.

  1. Not to be self-aggrandizing (but to be self-aggrandizing), don’t say I didn’t tell ya so:

    http://www.reelpopblog.com/2008/02/quarterlife-wil.html

    There’s not much chance Quarterlife’s going to do better up against Oprah’s Big Give…

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  2. Oh no! Last night was the first time I saw Quarterlife and I really liked it!

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  3. Ratings is only one barometer – with this type of multi-platform experience, it is also about engagement too (it is concerning that engagement isn’t happening on that board).

    This type of cross-platform series is the future, but early tries may not always get the ratings that made-for-TV shows are receiving, but they are important experiments nonetheless. Be kind. :)

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  4. You must also consider that it was a replay of the their most watched webisode. It wasnt new material, only new to network viewers that arent into new media. Its ratings probably lacked most of its core viewers that have seen that episode a million times.

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  5. [...] = FAIL NewTeeVee, among plenty of others, has noted that last night’s network TV premier (yes, it had already [...]

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  6. I haven’t watched it yet but I recorded it on my DVR (along with Jericho.) I’m really looking forward to seeing it in HD on my TV. Now my wife and I can watch it together.

    It’s too bad about the ratings but I’m wondering how much promotion it received on TV before it aired. I just happened to see it in the DVR guide by accident and I already knew what it was. If NBC wants the TV viewers they’ll have to promote it and not just count on the fans who saw it on the internet to tune in and watch it again. TV is a different audience.

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  7. I agree with Frank. Using the # of viewers at one point in time isn’t the point of new media. It’s the number of views after it’s shown and the aggregate views years after the show is released.

    of viewers for one measly time slot is a really old metric.

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  8. Unfortunately rb, viewership numbers are the top metric for the networks right now.

    And even if the online vid site does well, that won’t please TV advertisers. And I wouldn’t expect Quarterlife’s fans to put up a Jericho-esque battle for the series, either. 3M viewers won’t keep you on network TV for long.

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  9. [...] Can’t Solve New Media With Marketing Jump to Comments Douglas said to me regarding the disappointing Quarterlife debut: it just goes to show that you can’t market crap (or something like [...]

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  10. I think NBC rushed it and I think it hurt them badly.

    Though I’m not a huge fan of the show, it could’ve done better if what went on TV was completely new and they continued doing some form of web series online — appease both fans and hope for crossover.

    Honestly, I’m just not sure it’s strong enough as a show in general — that is, internet TV or not, it needs a better script to appeal to people.

    But then again, I know very little about very much.

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