Quarterlife Bombs

All those aspiring internet-based television producers out there may want to re-consider trying to make a living crossing over from the web browser to the TV screen (sorry Clark and Michael) because the first attempt of this new genre has apparently tanked in the ratings by epic proportions.

The show "Quarterlife," which was originally an internet-based series by Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (producers of "thirtysomething" and the teen drama "My So-Called Life") is an online drama about a group of 20-something artists coming of age in the digital generation. The title of the show refers to the first quarter of a persons life (25-29 years).

The program was originally launched on MyspaceTV and funded by NBC as a pilot for ABC. That was before the writers strike, however. Once the heart of Hollywood dropped their pencils and walked out the door, networks were left with a lot of empty spots in their production lineup to fill.

At the time, NBC had hoped that this new foray into the unknown void of internet-based entertainment would help them to be seen as pioneers in the genre and spawn a whole slew of new ideas and shows that (conveniently) circumvented the striking writers.

But all that changed on Tuesday night when the ratings for the show are apparently the worst that NBC has recorded in about 17 years.

Herskovitz, speaking at an entertainment and media conference at Harvard Business School Wednesday said that putting his show on network TV was in hindsight a bad idea:

"It never should have been a network show. It's too specific. It will
probably end up on cable."

Just how bad were the overnight ratings for Quarterlife? Abyssmal, really. The show earned 1.6/4 in the coveted 18-49 demographic at 10pm. That makes ratings for shows like "Cavemen" look like the season finale of M.A.S.H.

So I guess its going to be a while before the networks look to the internet for further creative ideas, which is sad, really as there really are some fantastic stuff out there, like the afforementioned "Clark and Michael." Had NBC decided to go with this program over Quarterlife, they probably would have had an overnight success, rather than a ratings embarassment on their hands.

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