TV Summer Keeps It Real: Better Ratings For MTV, ABC, Little News About 'Idol'

In case you haven't noticed -- it's been quite a good TV summer.

MTV finally found its mojo working again, and is now posting some of its biggest summer ratings in three years, thanks to the likes of "Jersey Shore," which seemingly has a float effect of lifting all boats, including "Teen Mom," The Hills," "Real World: New Orleans" and other shows.

No doubt some of this success comes from the substantial cross-marketing MTV and traditional cable networks do so well. Another reason is the usual TV gestation of program development, which for the network started two years ago.

While all this is happening, perhaps the more alarming news comes from consumers who have put the brakes on their cable TV subscriptions. For the first time in the history of pay TV, subscriber numbers are down.



We'll need to wait a few decades to talk about the newest TV platform in the same vein-- the Internet -- to see when the premium TV shows find their first-ever down period (against whatever metric one will use to measure such stuff).

Forget cable for the moment. It has been interesting to see a broadcast network like ABC have a pretty good summer period  -- even including a bunch of original scripted series flops -- with viewership numbers, by one estimation, up over 20% versus the summer of a year ago.

The network's "Bachelorette," Bachelor Pad" and "Wipeout" have contributed here. "Wipeout," for one, has done something fairly remarkable in a reality show: it's posted decent ratings even in repeats.

Even more stunning is the lack of news when it comes to TV's No. 1 rated show, Fox's "American Idol." Even though we are in September -- when in theory the show needs to start shooting its new season -- we still don't really know which crazy music celebrities will be making fawning, caustic, kind, angry, ripping, or weird remarks about some of the most promising vocalists this country has to offer. 

The new fall season is here. Forget the usual trends. We'll look to keep it real.

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