What’s the Point of Push?

I’m having a real problem with what ABC’s Push, Nevada programme is supposed to be about now. I recently read an article (I can’t remember where) which described how both ABC and Liveplanet are saying that the show will do badly, underplaying expectations. Apparently only a tiny audience is expected for the series, due to the following combination of factors:

1) It’s up against CSI and Will and Grace, both of which are hit shows and are targetting the same demographic as Push.

2) The premise of Push, $1 million prize notwithstanding, is not actually all that attractive to most people. It’s like Twin Peaks, really, and Twin Peaks was a cult show, which means that it didn’t have that many viewers.

So, like I say, ABC and Liveplanet are predicting that audience numbers will be terrible, essentially covering their asses for the inevitable. Which leads me to pose the question – what the hell is the point of the show? If it’s going to do badly, and you know it’s going to do badly, and you’re blowing $1 million on it, what’s the point?

The argument that I’m seeing on the web is that the only way ABC can compete against CSI and W&G is by producing a cult show that will have a loyal audience. But then why do you need a $1 million prize? It’s no small amount of money, and shows like Buffy and Star Trek have done perfectly well in capturing a loyal audience without such gimmickry.

The audience figures for Push’s pilot show (aired on Tuesday, not its permanent Thursday slot, which is when it’ll be up against the big boys – CSI and W&G) were middling. It pulled in 12 million viewers over the hour, but it lost audience throughout that hour. Push’s loss in audience is vitally important because it means that people were switching off from the show, and this is at a time when the show was only up against re-runs. In other words, it’s not good news.

At the moment, I’m not optimistic about Push’s chances. It could surprise everyone, however, and regain its audience – it’s too early to tell. What I’m interested in is the fact that this will be yet another blow against the burgeoning mmoe genre; producers will ask, “What’s the point of doing this web game thing if it didn’t help Push, even with a million dollar prize?”

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