How Trump has hurt our TV rat­ings

The Week (US) - - News 15 - John Doyle

The Globe and Mail

Cana­di­ans are bored with Cana­dian tele­vi­sion, said John Doyle. The Cana­dian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion had its premiere week re­cently, and the rat­ings for home­grown se­ries such as Alias Grace and Mr. D were “shock­ingly bad.” But it’s prob­a­bly not the fault of the shows them­selves; it’s be­cause of our “in­creas­ing, in­tense fas­ci­na­tion with the drama that is the United States.” Cana­dian view­er­ship of U.S. se­ries has shot up in the months since Don­ald Trump was elected pres­i­dent and be­gan pit­ting Amer­i­can against Amer­i­can. “Cana­di­ans watch, of­ten gob­s­macked,” as sit­coms like the new Will & Grace joke openly about how Trump is

up­end­ing friend­ships and forc­ing char­ac­ters to take a moral stance against the White House. The di­vi­sive­ness “reaches even into late-night, with a fe­roc­ity that is en­tirely new.” Host Jimmy Kim­mel, for ex­am­ple, has mor­phed “from jokester to na­tional spokesman for the an­gry,” first help­ing to tank the Repub­li­can ef­fort to re­peal Oba­macare and then call­ing for gun con­trol in the wake of the mass shoot­ing in Las Ve­gas. As for news, how can we pay at­ten­tion to lo­cal pol­i­tics when the man in the Oval Of­fice could start a nu­clear war at any minute? The U.S. is drama in­car­nate. “We are watch­ing, trans­fixed, as a coun­try tears it­self apart.”

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