Twin Peaks Usenet Archive
Subject: ABC antsy over turn in 'Twin Peaks'
From: jgp@rutabaga.Rational.COM (Jim Pellman)
Date: 1990-04-25, 21:13
ABC Antsy Over Turn in 'Twin Peaks'
by Chuck Ross
Chronicle TV Writer
(Reprinted without permission from 4/25/90 San Francisco Chronicle)
It's going to be another frustrating night for "Twin Peaks" loyalists tomorrow,
and ABC executives are nervous that the seemingly never-ending mystery is
beginning to alienate some viewers.
Last week's episode ended with FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) having
the strangest of dreams and declaring that he knew who killed Laura Palmer, the
high-school homecoming queen whose murder is the impetus for the action in the
show. The implication was that the murderer would be solved on tomorrow's
In fact, however, an ABC spokesman said the murder isn't solved until the
final show of the season, which is five episodes away.
The problem ABC has is that by that time there might be so few viewers watching
the show that most people won't care who did it.
High Marks for Premiere
The show, co-created by film maker David Lynch ("Blue Velvet," "The Elephant
Man") and former "Hill Street Blues" writer Mark Frost, premiered to critical
acclaim and high ratings on April 8. The two-hour debut was seen in 33 percent
of the homes that had TV sets on at the time.
The following week, up against "Cheers" on NBC, that dropped to 27 percent of
the audience that was watching TV between 9 PM and 10 PM. Last week, even
fewer homes tuned it; only 21 percent of those who had their sets on at 9 PM
last Thursday were watching "Twin Peaks."
Locally, the show, seen on KGO (Channel 7) has had a similar drop. "Twin
Peaks" was seen in 35 percent of the homes in the Bay Area that were watching
TV when the series premiered. That fell to 32 percent the next week and 27
percent last week.
Losing Women Over 50
"What's happening is that we're losing primarily women viewers over 50 who
watch the 'Father Dowling Mysteries' on right before 'Twin Peaks,'" said Larry
Hyams, ABC's director of audience analysis and research.
"The show continues to be strong with women 35 to 49. Younger viewers,
especially males, are watching NBC and 'Cheers.'"
Hyams said the show appeals to three groups: "David Lynch fans, those who like
nighttime soap operas, and murder-mystery fans." It is viewers in this latter
category, which is the most broad-based, that ABC is concerned are starting to
"It's one thing to go maybe two or three episodes without finding out who done
it," said one ABC programming executive who asked that his name not be used,
"but we think there might be a real problem going eight episodes (including the
two-hour premiere) without solving the thing for viewers. It's a damn shame,
too, because the show started up with such big numbers."
The trade magazine Daily Variety reported that "Twin Peaks" has been renewed
for next season, but ABC denied it. Word at the network is that the decision
could swing either way.
"If the ratings continue to drop, and they slide under what 'The Young Riders'
got in that Thursday time slot (which was about 16 percent of the audience who
watch TV from 9 to 10 PM on Thursdays), from a ratings point of view, you
wouldn't want to renew it," another ABC executive said.