Monday, September 29, 2008

Matt Roush on Bones


Question: I have read from time to time the show Bones referred to as a cult hit. I would appreciate if you could explain what the philosophy and/or the ratings must be in giving the show that description. In checking the ratings this season, it seems to be at the 9 to 10 million mark and with DVR audiences goes over the 10 million mark. It seems to be a solid performer for Fox, no matter how many times they change its schedule, so could you explain what numbers it needs to be moved beyond cult status? Other Fox shows, other than House and Fringe seem to be going down in the ratings, so I just wondered where Bones stood. I realize the competition for Bones is just starting up for the fall season, so I was just curious as to your views. I know you are a Pushing Daisies fan, so I'll just hope you would still fall into the DVR group for Bones. — Margo

Matt Roush: If I've ever patronized Bones as something of a cult curiosity, I take it back. But there is a sense, given the show's erratic scheduling, that Fox takes it a bit for granted (maybe not now that it appears to be holding its own on Wednesdays), and it does have the aspect of an underdog even this far into its run. But despite its title, it's one of the closest things Fox has to a mainstream crime drama, albeit with more humor than most. And it's doing well so far this season, so no reason to worry about it, no matter how anyone refers to it. As for what happens when Pushing Daisies joins the mix, I'll make room for both. They're my No. 1-No. 2 picks on Wednesday, not just in that time period but for the entire night.


Jeannie said...

This is not actually related to the article but I noticed that it seems always to be the very same person asking Matt the questions regarding Bones. Unless Margo is a supercommon name in the US.

CupcakeBean said...

I will never understand why networks treat excellent shows like crap. Bones is so under-appreciated, yet they never seem to even attempt to draw in new viewers. Instead, they've moved it around like crazy, testing the loyalty of its fans. It seems like the label of "cult hit" is almost a kiss of death. Look at Arrested Development, another excellent "cult hit" that, unlike Bones, received lots of critical acclaim and awards. Despite all that, the network did very little to boost ratings and it was canceled way before its time.

On the other end of the spectrum, The X-Files was originally a cult hit and eventually became a mainstream hit (no thanks to Fox). Therefore, when the show had reached a place where it logically should have ended, they tried to keep it going. To me, this is almost worse than canceling it to soon. When I look back at The X-Files, I think, "Wow, that was a great show... before it became mainstream." I'm so afraid the same thing is going to happen to Bones. I just wish the networks would wake up and actually pay attention to what works and what doesn't!

Stephanie said...

I would agree with the underpromotion thing...until this year. They seemed, in my opinion, to promote the season premiere at least pretty darn well. I saw ads for the Bones premiere on several different non-Fox websites (Entertainment Weekly being one) and the promos were also on non-Fox channels. I think the network has realized that Bones is a show that's gaining viewers during a time when almost every show is dropping in ratings.

I also don't think the label "cult hit" is necessarily the kiss of death. Charmed was called a cult hit, and it lasted 8 years and never really became mainstream. I'm sure that's just one example. And I don't think I'd necessarily call Bones a cult show to begin with. Below the radar? Yeah, a little bit, though I think they're getting a little more attention lately. I'm just not sure "cult hit" would be the right word for this particular show.

chattypatra said...

Why exactly is Bones a "cult hit"? Because it's on Fox, the network that supposedly nobody watches? That can't be it, American Idol, House, and Prison Break are on that network and they are all well known shows.

Because David Boreanaz is the lead actor? Ahhh...I could accept that, being that he became famous playing a vampire in two cult shows. The thing is, Bones is not an obscure little show that plays on a network that nobody knows. It is both a procedural and a dramedy, with a lead actor who is well known and - by TV Guide's own admission, "as affable an actor as you can find in Hollywood". Isn't that what they said after the Emmys?

To me, a cult show is one that is obscure and belongs to a very narrow television genre, not one that belongs in the most popular type of show on television.

Maybe this Margo person works for Fox or for the producers of Bones, and she periodically sends Roush questions about the show to keep it on the grapevine. Maybe.

Jeannie said...

Since I'm the one who brought it up I feel I should correct that. No, she's just a very active fan it seems. She 'confessed' to having asked this question on the official Fox forum and said it was because she was tired of Bones being referred to as a cult show.

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