01 April 2012

WDYTYA: Rita Wilson review

The first votes are in on the Rita Wilson episode of WDYTYA which aired on Friday 30 March in the US and Canada. What we see is a big contrast between appeal to the genealogical community and to the much larger TV viewing audience.

In my poll presently 46% are rating it well above average, the most favourable response in this series.

But the overnight TV audience ratings for the episode show 5.081 million viewers making it the third lowest viewership in the series, just above Jerome Bettis and Blair Underwood. That is very much in line with expectations from her Google profile.

What makes for a successful WDYTYA episode? Some people follow the series. Others are attracted by the personality. There's a natural inclination to appreciate the things for which you have a more personality affinity. In this instance there was a great appeal to those with an Eastern European background. I doubt it's a coincidence that the two lowest viewership episodes this season have had make and black subjects, not the typical viewer for this type of television.

All episodes need to tell a good story. The best delve into a secret going beyond discovering facts and people unknown and deliver a major surprise. It should move you emotionally.

In addition US audience can unite behind anything showing the oppression of a Communist regime, in Bulgaria or anywhere else. There was an appeal to patriotism in the letter read at the end of the show, and even to the spiritual.

From a research viewpoint it was interesting to learn about some of the records available in that part of the world.

The online episodes are behind national walls restricted by ISP address.

For those in Canada the program should become available online through CITY TV, at least for a short while at http://goo.gl/6RjEY. For some reason, perhaps interference from one of the plugins, it won't play for me on the Chrome browser but did on Firefox.

In the US NBC has it online at http://t.co/ESGyGgax

Dick Eastman has posted a summary of the Rita Wilson episode at http://goo.gl/BrOay

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