ABC Employs Hard Sell Seeking ‘V’ Viewers

ABC gave “V” about as hard a sell as a network can on Tuesday, running an irritating countdown clock to its return throughout the preceding “Lost” episode.

And the show did OK: 7 million viewers, with a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen data, as roughly 30% of the “Lost” audience took the clock striking 0:00 as an invitation to go and do (or watch) something else. (“Lost” producer Damon Lindelof, by the way, was among those clearly annoyed by the doomsday clock in the corner.) 

As they say, though, desperate times call for desperate measures.Vpic As I noted in a recent column, “V” has become ABC’s last hope (forget “FlashForward”) to establish another big-concept, sci-fi-type replacement before “Lost” sails over the horizon. But the show doesn’t appear to measure up creatively, with the latest hour more notable for its camp moments (alien sex; wow, that rat looks yummy) than suspense or excitement.

ABC should get through the spring in solid fashion thanks to the ratings infusion from the latest installment of “Dancing With the Stars,” but development-wise the season is looking like a very mixed bag for the network: A long-coveted, exceptionally worthy comedy breakthrough with “Modern Family,” but shaky half-hours around it, and potentially a big goose egg with high-profile dramas if “V” doesn’t take hold.

Up next for ABC: The comedy “Romantically Challenged” and mystery “Happy Town,” premiering on April 12 and April 28, respectively.

Until then, I’d suggest visiting a Visitor Healing Center, or take two rats and call me in the morning.

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