Manners Update: Why Booing Is Good For TV

Pasadena, Calif. -- Let out a good "boo." TV critics do it all the time -- sometimes in their writing, other times in a big room when asking TV performers questions.

This just happened to Kara DioGuardi during the Television Critics Association winter meeting here. Seems DioGuardi, now a judge on Bravo's new songwriting show, "Platinum Hit," didn't want to talk about her "American Idol" exit. (Was she pushed? Was it voluntary?)

This isn't new. TV critics have grumbled and booed and hissed at many presentations through the years -- from network executives who won't answer obvious questions about why they failed, to high-profile, nervous TV talent who don't want to answer some low-rent obligatory questions on the order of: "How is your personal life similar to your character?"



You can't blame people for not wanting to talk. Then again, this is TV. This isn't war, where military soldier's lives are on the line. You fail? Too bad; we all fail. Face the music and then move on.

In this digital world, it has become rarer to hear real boos -- especially as TV has become more personal and solitary with new devices. You go see your favorite professional/college football team that gets crushed 72-0. That could be a piece of entertainment that might deserve some booing.

Some might say TV executives may not hear the groans of families sitting at home in dimly lit living rooms or bedrooms, but they see the stark effects of minuscule viewership numbers -- a more efficient boo.

You might wonder if more live TV shows should allow more negative verbal complaints to filter through -- live reality competition shows and "live-to-tape" late-night talk shows, for example. This isn't always the desired behavior TV networks would like to encourage, however. Shows can be seen as too rough and perhaps out of control. The Oscars? The Emmys? The MTV Video Music Awards? All places where studio audiences boo with some regularity.

TV networks claim they want more social media connections and interactions for their shows. A good "boo" gets to the point faster than any thumbs-down on Facebook.

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