PBS Trying To Kill Great British Baking Show’s Ratings?

Did you know two episodes of The Great British Baking Show aired this weekend?

I certainly didn’t. And I recap the show and give them free publicity. Why didn’t I know? Because PBS bumped Friday night’s episode back for a special on Police Violence….and then my local PBS station decided to air an episode of Midsomer Murders, so episode 3 did begin airing until 11pm on Friday night. Episode 4? Aired at 12:01am on Saturday morning. My DVR had no idea. I had no idea. I was asleep.

Tamal's Mango, Hazelnut&Rosemary cheesecake trio

PBS says they allow their stations to decide when to air the show, and then insist over and over we can always watch on-line, like that’s somehow going to work. Was Downton Abbey a Sunday night phenomenon because it aired “sort of whenever” over the weekend and then everyone watched on-line? No. It was a Sunday night phenomenon because Masterpiece Theater cracked a whip, and the majority of PBS stations lined up and obediently aired it on Sunday nights at 9pm. Will Poldark air “sort of whenever” when it comes back in September? Will the hoped-for Downton replacement Victoria air “sort of whenever”? Not a chance.

In fact, the entire reason Downton could be aired at Sundays at 9pm in January, MONTHS after it aired on ITV is that PBS counted on most of their audience not being savvy enough to go find it on-line and watch months prior. So on the one hand they stand here and say “Oh, it’s ok for us to delay bringing Downton Abbey until it’s been aired and wrapped and recapped to hell and back by the press, because our audience isn’t savvy enough to go find it.” On the other, they say “Oh, it’s ok for us to not really care that Baking Show airs whenever over the weekend, because our audience can always go watch it online.” Which is it, PBS?

Maybe Lady Mary can teach PBS to use her riding crop.
Maybe Lady Mary can teach PBS to use her riding crop.

Did you know there are two episodes airing next week? And then after that, we’ll go back to one episode a week? Do you know how I found out? I tweeted the PBS Food account publicly and was nasty and bitchy enough about the fact that their channel is being incompetent about this to get them to pay attention and tweet back. How many other fans would think to do the same?

They bleated back by the way that my “missed” episode 4 was on PBS online. I did not point out to them it was also on YouTube, had been since August of last year, and that was how I had to watch on Friday nights anyway because my local PBS station insists on airing Baking Show half an hour later than the “official” start time, while the second one airs it on Sundays….and as far as I can tell the third one doesn’t air it at all. If I want to tweet along I have to watch via YouTube. Good thing I’m savvy enough to go find the episode on line, since it airs on PBS “sort of whenever”

Our recaps for episodes five and six will be Monday and Tuesday of next week.


3 thoughts

  1. And that, girls and boys, is how PBS pisses off and annoys its most faithful viewers and boosters and slides away from usefullness.
    Well, that is how they annoyed Ani, for me it is only second, second to the repeated showings of infomercials by financial grifters and medical scaremongers with books and DVDs to sell.
    Ani would rate their efforts as a fail.
    Paul Hollywood would declare it tasteless and underbaked.
    Mary Berry would shake her head and say witheringly, “not good enough, I am afraid”


    1. If only we could get Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry to record messages like that!! I only caught the two episodes by accident, since they were shown back to back in the middle of the afternoon over the weekend and I had turned the television on to check the weather forecast. Grrrrr.


  2. I only know because I have a TiVo, and it automagically records things no matter when they are on. Unless the networks fail at updating the information, which is reasonably rare.


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