Friday, June 10, 2005

Final "Oz" Rating Report

It has taken three weeks, but the final rating reports for "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" are complete. Earlier today I received an e-mail directly from the Muppet Holding Company. They wanted to put to rest all the speculation and rumors of how tele-film really did. As many of you may know, this was the first Muppet production to be released since Disney acquired the brand. The fate of the franchise was not solely riding on the performance; but the better Oz did in the May sweeps, the better the Muppets' future would be (as it would show Disney that the brand could still survive today). Needless to say, the Muppet did great, and Oz was a totally success in the eyes of the executives! Below is a portion of the e-mail I received from the Muppet Holding Company. Enjoy!

Hi Greg,

I hope this email finds you well! I was so excited to see that the fans enjoyed the premiere of "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz." Since you love to receive email news about any and all things Muppets, I thought you would want to hear about the films' ratings – and despite what some media spin would have you think, we think they are FANTASTIC! I've given you the top-line information below so that you can share them with Muppet fans. I think everyone will be ecstatic!

Drum roll, please...

Here are the ratings for "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz"

  • Won its slot with children; Girls (ages 2-11)and Boys (ages 2-11).
  • Among teens, Oz placed first with girls (ages 12-17); and among boys (ages 12-17), the Muppets ran a strong and close second.
  • Among adults (ages 18-49), the Muppets placed second with women and men, just behind “Dateline”.
  • Oz ranked #1 overall in four major markets: Los Angeles,
    Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Antonio.
  • The adult (ages 18-49) rating was up five percent over what ABC had
    delivered in the May 2005 sweep with their regular "America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “Hope & Faith”.
  • The movie delivered a 5.2 rating of kids 2-11. (That was the best Wonderful World of Disney numbers for kids in the last two seasons (with the exception of “Lilo & Stitch”, a non-original non-premiere movie).
  • The Muppets provided the third best television kids delivery in prime time this entire season (just behind a couple of “American Idol” episodes on FOX).

Again, as a loyal Muppets fan, this is such great news to receive -- I hope you feel the same way! Feel free to put this information on your site -- I am sure the Muppets fans will go wild (just like all of us working with the Muppets have)!

All the best,

Debbie McClellan
Director, Creative Affairs
The Muppets Holding Company


Scott said...

Hooray! Take THAT media spinsters! (Yes, I'm talking to *you* Jim Hill.)

Seriously, I'm happy it did well in the ratings. Even if the current ratings system is archaic and inaccurate, if those numbers are impressing the people who make decisions, that's good for the Muppets and good for me.

SamuraiFrog said...

You posting this makes me this a damn good day. I've written a few things about this on my own blog, and it's nice to see that I was right to be pleased with the ratings for "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz." Excellent.

Dare we hope the Muppets are back full time?

SamuraiFrog said...

Oh, and one other quick thing: I was pleased to see my sweet home, Chicago, was one of the top markets for the tele-film. It made me proud.

And keep in mind, this was the "Star Wars" opening weekend!

Anonymous said...

Now maybe Disney will make something without Kirk Thatcher. There's GOT to be better screenwriters (Home Alone 4?) & directors out there for the Muppets.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Talk about your media spin!

* ABC did not produce the Oz film with the intention of grabbing a largish audience of 2-11 year olds. (Otherwise it would have been aired on Saturday morning or on a weekday afternoon after schools are out). It hoped to grab a largish audience across the board. The movie failed to do so, at least to those with some understanding of how ratings work and without an axe to grind.

* ABC definitely expected to beat "Dateline" at the very least, even with adults. One of the reasons the May 20th timeslot was chosen was because of the relatively weak competition that night. At least it was THOUGHT to be weak...

* I wonder if the Muppets Holding Company is going to send e-mails to the trade papers and newspapers who made all those, um, "assumptions" about the film's poor performance. I'd love to see how those publications would respond. Remember, unlike the Muppets Holding Company, those publications - and myself - have no reason to spin the ratings figures negatively. It's just that figures don't lie. But spin often does... ;)

Again, just the facts, folks, just the facts. :D

Anonymous said...

Of course it did not do as great as they expected, but this shows that they are not ashamed or appalled by the performance. It did do second best overall and that's not half bad (that's not even a third bad). Sure it was not a killer "A+" performance (it was probally more like a solid "B" or maybe a "B+"). The Muppets Wizard of Oz did a great job in the ratings - but it had room for improvement. But it was not as bad as everyone in the meda made it out to be. But as you can see, Disney is impressed and that's all that matters in the end. Way to go Muppets!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Numero Uno here again, Well, I can understand fandom (I'm a 'Scaper myself), but I never can understand people intent on deluding themselves. But it's clear that the people who frequent this website are determined to believe what they want to believe, facts and figures notwithstanding. To them, a load of spin from some PR person from the Muppets is correct and all the expert testimony from all those impartial media sources I mentioned are wrong. Yowzah. Have fun, kids. ;)


The ratings of Oz had to impress one group of people - Disney. Disney is the ones who decide wheather or not Kermit and the gang get more attantion (and money) or become a dying piece of nostalgia. Oz had to perform well enough to make Disney say "these puppets still attract an audiance". Well, I would have to say 'mission accomplished'! Look at this letter here, you have an official Disney rep saying the ratings were "FANTASTIC!" and "great news".

Sure it was not the best thing on TV this year (ratings wise), but it did not have to be in order to be a sucess for the Muppets. Oz was a test to show Disney if the Muppets still had it or not, and they passed the test.

Sure, the Muppets did not regain control of all media and become the #1 show in town, but that was not the goal and importance of the ratings for this project. It may have been a bit of a disapointment for TV programers; but for The Muppet Holding Company, it did just what they needed it to.

They won many demographics. And they got second by only aprox. 2-million viewers (which isn't that much overall). Coming in second overall is not that bad.

It was not the #1 thing on TV this May, but this time it did not need to be #1 to be a great success for the Muppets.

SamuraiFrog said...

Looking over the comments of Jim Hill (or anonymous number one, or someone who just likes to write in Jim's faux-folksy, highly condescending style), I think the real argument has been lost among everyone. It's not a question of whether someone's fansite is better than anyone else's.

The real question here is what Disney thought about the whole thing, and whether the (limited) success of "Oz" means the Muppets have a future as a viable property. Apparently, they do. Jim's problem seems to be that the movie was a hit with kids but not people who've been fans of the Muppets for the last few decades.

Frankly, as a fan of the Muppets for as far back as I can remember (I am about to turn 29), I was not disappointed in "Oz." I have neither the time nor the inclination to cry over the fact that luminaries such as Frank Oz, Jerry Juhl, and Paul Williams are no longer involved with the Muppets. They've adapted to the loss of key talent before, and they're adapting now. Disney isn't working with these people, and yeah, it would be nice if they were, but since it isn't happening, they have to be free to try other things.

The idiot nature of fandom splits two ways: people who blindly love everything, and people who criticize everything after creative elements change for reasons beyond people's control. Neither one is helpful.

But, Jim, you don't have to hate "Oz" because of everything you wanted it to be and were disappointed to find otherwise. From the tone of everything you've written about it, you never once gave it a chance to NOT be "The Muppet Movie." And from someone whose site I used to respect and used to frequent every day, it's a disappointment.

I'm not saying you have to love it. I'm just saying you should have criticized it on its own terms, and not on something it could never have been.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Numero Uno here yet again. I am not nor have I ever been "Jim Hill". In my research for the Oz ratings, I accessed his website, just like I accessed the websites of The Washington Post, USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, etc. in order to get accurate, spin-free ratings data. At the Jim Hill site, which I discovered using a search engine, someone took the trouble to compare the Oz ratings with the ratings pulled in by regular ABC programming on Friday nights, and since I thought the data was relevant I made reference to it. FWIW I do freelance work for various media publications, focusing primarily on popular entertainment, and I do know a thing or two about ratings. I also know the ways of PR people and their penchant for trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Can every publication which cast the ratings data in a negative light be wrong, and this one person who happens to work for the company who produced the special be right? Your choice. Whatever makes you smile at the end of the day. ;)

Paul Neaffer said...

I think that there are three sets of questions in the mix here:

1) Did the Muppets Wizard Of Oz win in the ratings? Did it perform well overall? Was it a good use of ABC air time?

2) Was the film good? Did viewers like it? Did it have the "Muppet Magic"?

3) Did it impress Disney and The Muppet Holding Company? Did the performance of Oz convince them to keep backing the Muppets? Did Oz show Disney that the Muppets are worth their time to build up or are they dead?

To address the first issue: it did not win first place on its night, and it did not rank real high for its week, or its month. It was not the best thing on TV (in terms of numbers of viewers) this May. However it did win ABC some audiences they have not been able to get (or at least get that high) in years.

To address the second question: that is a matter of taste, preference, and maybe even some critics. Many people are hung up on the fact that they thought the movie was "bad", “missing something”, or “not good” and they try to toss that into the mix (*cough* Jim Hill) and it is really irrelevant to how the film actually did opening night. I personally loved the film. But many people, critics, reporters, and fans try to add their personal preference into the mix on how the film performed. This issue may effect if some of the viewers come back to see the next Muppet project or not, but it does not effect how Oz actually did.

The third thing is somewhat present in this letter here (and can be seen in other things Disney/ABC has said). Oz did good – not great, but good. The Muppets are not dead and Disney is not afraid to work with them. The franchise is not the strongest thing in the world (or on TV) currently, but it is at a strong enough place for them to start. Oz past the test to show that the Muppet/Disney deal was worth the mouse's money.

Now you can decide what is important for you, the Muppets, this film, and the whole dispute at hand.

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