Happy guy and Grumpy

Tuesday, Bill Donohue claims that The Real O’Neals was renewed for a second season because of politics. These non-profit guys who have never really worked anywhere have some odd ideas about economics and even arithmetic. The O’Neals was renewed because it is profitable. It is just that simple.

Bill Donohue doesn’t like The Real O’Neals because it has some connections to Dan Savage. Blowhard Bill loathes Dan Savage. Anything to do with Savage causes Blowhard Bill to become deranged. Well, even more deranged than usual.

Anyone who thinks that money alone drives Hollywood doesn’t understand the role that ideology plays. For instance, we’ve known for years that “G” and “PG” movies fare better at the box office than “R” rated films, yet the sages in Tinseltown continue to offer the trash that often marks the latter. That’s because they can: they make enough cash from family-oriented films to subsidize their underperforming “R” rated flicks.

Please. R rated films can be extremely profitable. Godfather anyone? Lately, PG and G rated films are “franchise” movies (we’re up to Furious 7). Blowhard Bill can provide no evidence whatsoever to support his claim that the renewal of The Real O’Neals had anything to do with anything other than money.

Similarly, when it comes to TV programs, the Hollywood crowd will go the extra mile for shows that advance its ideological agenda, even if it means taking a hit in revenue. Bringing back “The Real O’Neals” for a second season, which starts a week from today, is a case in point.

Nielson ratings for the 2015-2016 season reveal that ABC chose to cancel four shows that drew a larger audience than “The Real O’Neals.” Here is the proof (TV shows were ranked from 1-196):

That proves nothing. It doesn’t account for the disposition of viewers to actually buy the stuff that is advertised or the kind of advertisers that the show attracts. Moreover, if IMDB ratings mean anything, viewers love The Real O’Neals. This says nothing about what these shows cost. Audience size and profitability are two different things. If Blowhard Bill ever worked in the private sector he might understand that.

Of the four shows that had better ratings than “The Real O’Neals,” three of them were cancelled after one season; “The Muppets” lasted eight seasons. So why was “The Real O’Neals,” with its offensive anti-Catholic fare, renewed but the others were not?

It is hard to resist the conclusion that Disney/ABC made a calculated ideological decision not to give in to pressure from the Catholic League, the Media Research Center, and others. These organizations objected to the show largely because it was loosely based on the life of co-producer, Dan Savage: He is a raging anti-Catholic bigot.

I doubt that the Catholic League is important enough to warrant their attention. At least Donohue admits that his objections are not based on content but the association with Dan Savage. It didn’t make for a very compelling complaint. By the way, Savage is Catholic.

It does not speak well for Disney/ABC to allow its politics—the politics of bigotry—to color its decision making. Let’s see how its predilections affect the upcoming scripts.

Actually the scripts are the product of the three production companies. The prime is Windsor & Johnson followed by Di Bonaventure Productions followed by ABC Studios which is somewhat autonomous given that it produces content for the CBS Network and Netflix.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.