"My Name Is Earl" gets best internet buzz

TV Arts

from the hollywood reporter

Web study finds NBC's 'Earl' abuzz
By Paul Bond

NBC's "My Name Is Earl" is typically the highest-rated new show on
television among the targeted demographic of 18- to 49-year-olds. But
is it enjoying the best so-called "buzz"?

It is, and the show getting the next-best buzz, a seemingly intangible
metric, is Fox's "Prison Break" from Fox. Getting the worst buzz --
before they were canceled -- was NBC's "Inconceivable" followed by
Fox's "Head Cases."

Such are the findings from research firm Brandimensions, which used
its proprietary technology to gather written comments from Internet
chat rooms, message boards, blogs and the like in order to determine
which new shows boast the best -- and worst -- buzz.

"Earl," though, didn't prevent NBC rival CBS from ranking
"best-in-class" for its slate of new shows overall, according to the
73-page report due out today. The eye network garnered especially
strong buzz for the shows "How I Met Your Mother," "Ghost Whisperer"
and "Threshold."

ABC generated "below average sentiment for its new shows," according
to the report, despite the success of "Commander in Chief," deemed the
seventh-best generator of positive buzz.

"Earl" bested all 31 new shows studied by Brandimensions by commanding
a 4.41 out of a possible 5 "sentiment score," which is determined by
comparing positive to negative remarks about a given TV program.

"The majority of viewers have nothing negative to say" about "Earl,"
the report indicated, and after it premiered, "audience expectations
were exceeded and viewers quickly became invested in the show."

If there was a pattern to the remarks made by those critical of
"Earl," it was that they didn't care for its "redneck" humor. But
sentiments like "They nailed the trailer-trash stuff perfectly," were
far more reflective of the buzz surrounding the show.

"There hasn't been a bad episode yet, and most are laugh-out-loud
funny," one amateur critic proclaims. Star Jason Lee "is funny in
everything he does," writes another.

In its study, Brandimensions used not only technology but also human
intelligence to review 395,000 relevant online sources, eventually
narrowing down the sample size to 6,497 comments.

Brandimensions CEO Bradley Silver said that his firm could have
predicted the fate of "Head Cases" early on because in the early days
of the marketing campaign, before the show ever aired, it was tracking
very low.

"Love, Inc.," on the other hand, is a low-rated show from UPN that
scored low on the Brandimensions scale during the marketing campaign
but has gained steam, climbing from last to No. 26.

"It has found a small but loyal audience and is trending upward,"
Silver said. "UPN would do well to keep it on the air."

Silver uses his firm's data to offer advice about more shows, like
"Break," which he said sometimes engages too much melodramatic
dialogue. "Viewers will put up with that for a limited time, but Fox
should be careful about which direction they take the show."

Silver said that for "How I Met Your Mother," "It's pretty basic. Get
rid of the laugh track." And for "Everybody Hates Chris," he suggests
UPN "make it less the 'Wonder Years' and more Chris Rock-ish."

CBS executive vp research and planning David Poltrack said he used
data supplied by Brandimensions during the midcampaign summer months
to tweak the network's promotional activities concerning what were its
soon-to-air new shows.

"We always knew -- and it's true of any new product -- that what makes
them succeed is word-of-mouth, which is hard to measure," he said.
"With the Internet, we can eavesdrop on the conversation."
The internet's HUGE, man, and w/ billions of pages, it's hard to keep 
track of REAL numbers especially w/ people creating false buzz, but 
interesting none the less.