Episode 8 Run-Through
October 15, 1999

We got a talking to today. The creator, Alan Ball, finally sat us down and began to address the issue of ratings. They have not been fantastic to date. We have aired four episodes and for the last three, our numbers have slowly dipped. The most recent episode suffered the largest drop in Drew Carey's audience to date. No one is saying they're panicking just yet, but there is concern. That concern manifests itself in two ways:

All of that nonsense is just that: nonsense. It is beyond our control and could only serve to undermine our confidence in the show and consequently hurt our performances. So, is it better not to know? Is it better to be told week after week that we're doing really well in the ratings when we obviously are not? What expression am I looking for here? 'Ignorance is bliss?' or 'The truth will set you free?' Well, now we know. What happens next is all speculation. We don't know what ABC is thinking. We only know what they tell us and I think they subscribe to the 'Ignorance is bliss' philosophy. It's certainly in their interest to keep our hopes up, regardless of their actual plan. I do have faith in their words, that they believe in the show and will try to make it work, whether through more vigorous advertising or changing our timeslot or both. And the Sweeps strategy could be perfect for us. Put Millionaire on the air to draw viewers away from West Wing and maybe after Regis and baseball have done their damage, we can sweep in and pick up the viewers who have lost interest in West Wing or who just don't want to make the effort to catch up with the story.

Go on to Episode Eight Shoot.

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