Woods and Lambert: Still Swinging And Singing For Higher Ratings

Tiger Woods takes another break -- and TV golf programming executives hold their breath.


Now that Woods has admitted to "transgressions" -- as well as the fact that Cadillac SUVs are no match for Orlando trees or fire hydrants --- TV executives can only wait for another of his high-rated returns.

The last time Woods departed TV for a while, it came after his "heroic" efforts with a bum knee while winning a dramatic U.S. Open. Big TV golf events then resumed their high Tiger-infused ratings.

This time, of course, there are different circumstances. No matter. TV loves its subjects to be dramatic, in any possible way. TV interest will still be there. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

This applies to new upcoming musical acts who are -- accidentally or not -- creating their own TV controversies. Adam Lambert's rejection from a couple of ABC shows -- "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "Good Morning America" -- looks to follow the same formula, if not on a smaller marketing scale. (After the rejections, Lambert will now get a shot on ABC's "The View" on Dec. 10.)



Why the controversy? During a recent American Music Awards performance on ABC, the highly celebrated "American Idol" runner-up 1) kissed a band member on stage (male); 2) got faux oral sex from a dancer on stage (male); and 3) offered his middle finger to audience members not on stage (both sexes).

Woods and Lambert have nothing in common except for the probable end result: Controversy equals short-term fewer TV exposures, which equals pent-up viewer interest.

The proliferation of media platforms give brands (human brands as well as non-human brands) many options. But for most middle-of-the-road entertainment brands, exposure on smaller, fractionalized options rarely total up big numbers.

TV history shows us all behaviors add to the TV resumes of human entertainment brands. But you need a lot more.

Woods can survive his "transgressions." Didn't Kobe? Hasn't Letterman? Can Lambert survive his? Go ask Madonna and Britney Spears.

What are the key ingredients that keep the engine going for years? It isn't just controversy which, in and of itself, can only jump-start a dead career. At any level in the face of any storm, you need real talent and big TV ratings to keep it going.

7 comments about "Woods and Lambert: Still Swinging And Singing For Higher Ratings ".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, December 7, 2009 at 4:23 p.m.

    Of course it's no big deal. We have Bill Clinton to thank for his Presidency's continuing legacy, that anyone's supporters can claim, "oh, it was just sex that he lied about" -- that marriage vows are just a big joke, right?

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 7, 2009 at 5:34 p.m.

    Is there is a difference when your privates becomes public and your public comes to your privates ?

  3. Marc Dresner from RFL Communications, December 7, 2009 at 9:24 p.m.

    Mr. Ferguson... Bill Clinton?!? C'mon. The world laughed at us when we crucified Clinton for an affair (as if it has any bearing on the president's job qualifications) and then laughed even harder -- and cried a bit too -- when we the people hired in two highly suspicious elections a galactic moron (and repeat drunk driver/cocaine addict) who has to my knowledge not cheated on his wife. I guess Tiger Woods' personal life makes him a lousy golfer? If you take your marriage vows seriously, I say bravo! But scandal feeds the beast. And Bill Clinton (I'm no fan of his, btw) didn't invent the distasteful tabloidism or phony megachurch, faux moralist facists that dominate the media like ying and yang. I could care less for either, but please don't insult my intelligence by blaming Bill Clinton.

  4. Kevin Barry, December 8, 2009 at 7:22 a.m.

    Adam Lambert is a fairly talented, derivative performer. His music is not revolutionary. He is a fame comet. He will have a second act, which will be avidly followed, then he will fade from the public consciousness forever. Tiger Woods is an iconic, brilliantly talented American historical figure. His return will be followed even more closely than his one of his "regular" tournaments. Then he will dazzle us for another 10 years with his unique talent.
    Lambert's controversy on the AMA show will define his short career. Woods' controversy will be a notable event in the story of his life, but will not be what he is remembered for. Lambert is paper. Woods is gold.

  5. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, December 8, 2009 at 9:05 a.m.

    The really unfortunate aspect of this collective behavior - the transgressor's, the media's, and the audience's - is how it manifests as front-page "news".

    Good luck to anyone thinking they can succeed in business with, let alone charge for, these kinds of headlines.

  6. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, December 8, 2009 at 9:45 a.m.

    Marc makes my point: If your job qualifications are "presiding" or "golfing" then your lack of morals cannot possibly affect your job. Although in one documented case, Clinton was multitasking. Don't change the subject by mentioning a different bad President. They were both bad Presidents; the only difference is that Clinton still enjoys his celebrity. The world laughs at us but only to avoid thinking of their own problems.

  7. W. knox Richardson from WKR PR, December 8, 2009 at 7:17 p.m.

    I covered both the Tylenol temperings and the New Coke/Old Coke fiasco for ADWEEK way back when. Both brands we're written off. Tylenol survived only because of new safety rules and packaging. Coke abandoned its new formula quietly after resurrecting the original. Here now, Tiger is like Tylenol. Tampering is like the tabloid media pushing an agenda to sell papers, something I know about. In the Tylenol case, stop gap measures were put in place and today we all enjoy greater food safety. Coke simply had to regroup and take one on the chin. Tiger is not like Coke because of external factors, like tampering, that he has no control over. Regardless of his playing prowess, Tiger can't take the heat. He has shown it over and over again. When and IF he returns to the links, there will be a small but a vocal group of dispirits will cough and sneeze during Tiger's back swings, or perhaps even conjole and razz him. In the 1960s, spectators heckled Gary Player because he was South African, going so far as to roll golf balls onto the green as he putted. In the 1990s, more meat-heads hassled Colin Montgomery, and all Colin did was shot off his mouth. (Tiger has shot off more than that. Oh, yeah.) Brands will run, not walk, away for Tiger sooner than later. There is no win in financially supporting the world's greatest philanderer. I think Tiger will pull a "Booby Jones" and retire before Augusta. Unless some smart PR guy positions Tiger as a victim of sexual addiction. Sure, Tiger has virtually no self control. Who is going to believe that? He's toast. And I was a true believer since he amateur days.

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