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ABC To Cancel Further Episodes of Obama Show?

July 29, 2009

ABC executives are reported to be considering cancelling "The Barack Obama Show" after its pilot episode, which aired in mid-June, garnered a dismal 1.2 in the ratings war. The premiere of NBC's "The Philanthropist," one of the network shows against which Obama's "special" was competing, garnered a 2.0, while a rerun of "CSI:NY," whose star, Gary Sinise, is a strong conservative, grabbed a respectable 1.8.

"It's between bringing in someone like John Boehner to take over host duties of the show and cancelling it altogether," said one ABC executive, who preferred not to be identified. "Our contract with Obama's people calls for five more programs over the next 12 months, but we're really thinking that the President, who's already overexposed, just doesn't have what it takes to pull the numbers we'd like to see."

Obama certainly seemed to be the perfect candidate to host the ABC show. First, his appeal to the disenfranchised, the outsiders, seemed to be very strong, and ABC execs were positive that that demographic, coupled with his strong showing among so-called political moderates, meant that the show would have "legs." Indeed, Obama seemed to have built up a catalog of resentments during his life that had resulted in a massive chip on his shoulder, and the powers at ABC felt strongly his attitude would resonate with Americans still dissatisfied with the previous administration.

They further reasoned that the President's need to ally himself with dictators such as Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be a powerful attractor for the many Americans who, despite the very affirmative action policies that enabled the President to rise to a position way "above his pay grade," still feel that they're denied access to "enfranchisement." Like Obama himself, the demographic with which this propensity resonates hates America and what it stands for, and that in itself was deemed to put Obama's prospects over the top as regards television ratings.

The message, ABC seemed to think, was something along the lines of, "See, even with a main character who's lacking a first-class intellect and who's at best a pawn in the international power game, if you ally yourself with someone who's garnered favor with power brokers such as George Soros and Goldman Sachs, you still have a chance to succeed in the ratings war."

That powerful and affirming message came crashing to the ground, however, with the dismal ratings the President garnered in his first made-for-tv special. It looks like it's back to "So You Think You've Got What It Takes To Be President" for Obama. The problem even with that, though, is that BHO's performance in several audition callbacks has been less than spectacular.

"He's had a tough time building his 'brand' the way we'd like to see him do that," said one blogger who's followed Obama's rise to stardom closely. "We're just not sure he's got what it takes to rise above 'William Hung' status in the ratrace that the competition to become 'International World Leader of True Consequence' has evolved into."

It also seems as if ABC misread the American people's degree of identification with Obama's attitude. As one of my ABC contacts put it, "I mean, even Nikolas Sarkozy of France has denounced the 'birka.'" ABC was also surprised at the negative reaction in the opinion polls to the President's not speaking out against Iran's killing its citizens in the streets, and to the fact that he caved when he had a chance to side with the people supporting a true democracy in Honduras. He went with Hugo Chavez and against the people of Honduras, who were trying to point out that their Supreme Court had ruled against former president Zelaya, who had tried unsuccessfully to eliminate term limits, and in favor of term limits. The U.S. President didn't really seem to have the people's interests at heart was the consensus at the network.

The bottom line is that the people who have their finger on the pulse of ratings success in America have spoken, and Barack Obama, despite his recent attention-grabbing performance in the racially-charged incident between the President's Harvard buddy Louis Gates and the Cambridge police, has come up short. It remains to be seen what Obama's "people" have up their collective sleeve, what Mephistophelean manipulations they're able to generate that can convince even network executives - whose very livelihoods depend on the American public's swallowing what they put out there for public consumption - are willing to entertain as not threatening the very economic system in which they've placed their faith, not to mention the very way of life that has kept the United States at the top of the ratings war . . . well, pretty much ever since there's been a ratings war.

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