About 50 years ago CBS ruled the roost with a series of shows that appealed to rural audiences such as Petticoat Junction, ,Beverly Hillbillies, Mayberry R.F.D., and Hogan’s Heroes. Around 1971 these shows were canceled in what was called the Rural purge. They were all still popular, all still successful but generally paned by urban critics.
These shows continue to make money in syndication.
Fast forward to 2009 and it looks like comedy central has decided CBS had a point:
Achmed the Dead Terrorist has been all but buried on Comedy Central. Press representatives for the network said on Tuesday that its hit series featuring that contentious puppet — not to mention Jeff Dunham, the man with a hand up his back — will not be picked up for a second season, confirming a report that appeared in The Hollywood Reporter.
Well it isn’t like the old days with only three networks, a specialty network like comedy central has to cater to the shows that bring in the absolute highest ratings not just red state stuff…oh wait:
The decision comes as a bit of a surprise given that “Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special,” a performance shown on Comedy Central in 2008, is that channel’s most-viewed broadcast ever, drawing 6.6 million viewers, and the premiere of “The Jeff Dunham Show” was watched by 5.3 million viewers.
Well ok it had millions of viewers a whole lot more than the entire MSNBC lineup, but it’s not as if it was in response to the decisions of urban critics…oh wait again:
A widely read post on the Web site videogum.com declared, “‘The Jeff Dunham Show’ Is the Worst Thing in the Entire World.” In The New York Times, Neil Genzlinger wrote, “Offensiveness is a mutable thing, especially on television, where everything is interchangeable: a Lewis Black joke could be a Jay Leno joke could be a Jeff Dunham joke.”
So bottom line a niche network chooses to cancel a show that still brought in millions of viewers after critics pan it.
I guess comedy central isn’t immune to PC.
Update: Welcome Salon readers, I haven’t quite figured out what this post has to do with the article that linked me but welcome just the same. Feel free to check out my weekend Amazon Reviews. Read a Massachusetts Republican’s take on the Brown Coakley race. Check out my Dr. Who End of Time rant and read my poetic answer to Al Gore.