Tuesday Night Massacre Hurt Watson’s Ratings

February 18, 2011
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Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy reports that interest in Jeopardy’s Man-vs-Machine match dipped a bit for the final of the three-evening event. The Nielsen ratings climbed following Monday’s match, in which Brad Rutter ended in a deadlock with the IBM computer. Ratings climbed from Monday’s 8.5% of U.S. homes to 9.5% on Tuesday. But Watson thrashed the humans on Tuesday, only letting them answer a combined five clues. The audience then dipped to 9.1% for the final show.

Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy reports that interest in Jeopardy’s Man-vs-Machine match dipped a bit for the final of the three-evening event. The Nielsen ratings climbed following Monday’s match, in which Brad Rutter ended in a deadlock with the IBM computer. Ratings climbed from Monday’s 8.5% of U.S. homes to 9.5% on Tuesday. But Watson thrashed the humans on Tuesday, only letting them answer a combined five clues. The audience then dipped to 9.1% for the final show.

Apparently, people thought the computer had it in the bag–I point I debate in the last chapter of my book. Fact is, if one of the two humans had won a quick $10,000 or so in the final game, and then doubled and quadrupled it with Daily Doubles, they could have been neck-and-neck with Watson. The trouble? It’s hard to land on Daily Doubles when your bionic foe is controlling the board, hitting the buzzer about 1/100 of a second after the light goes on.

Interesting to note that the attendance figures represent only a 30% boost from the same week last year. I would have expected multiples of the normal Jeopardy viewership. But then, I happen to think this was the most fascinating thing on TV since… well maybe game five of the 2008 World Series.

By the way, Speakeasy is the same blog that published an article about our ebook strategy yesterday.