Christian journalist Gary McCullough claims that the reason American Idol has seen such low ratings is because Ellen DeGeneres’ lesbianism turns off many viewers. McCullough believes the show’s choice of DeGeneres is part of a larger push to have more gay people on TV, or what he calls a “pro-homosexuality bender.” His theory is that the networks will stay on this “bender” as part of a politically correct agenda, even if it means declining ratings and advertising dollars. He believes this is why American Idol and many other television shows are performing so poorly, but I think there are two real reasons for why TV is becoming irrelevant.
1. Current TV shows are just really awful. People from the baby boomer generation often talk about how good television was when they were younger and judging from some of the classic shows I have seen, this seems to be true. Even I recall be extremely interested in 1990s television shows (Seinfeld, The Simpsons, etc.), yet now the only show I feel compelled to even attempt to follow is South Park, which is itself a pale imitation of what it once was. I believe that shows tend to “jump the shark” around the middle of season two. Bonethefish.com, the successor to the original Jumptheshark website, lists Ellen’s arrival as only the eighth biggest reason the show jumped, and makes no mention of her sexual orientation. Indeed, the major reason the site lists for the show tanking is that it “sucked from the start” and was never worth watching.
2. People don’t watch TV as often as they used to. This is not only because people seem to work longer hours than they used to, but also because there are simply many more visual entertainment mediums to indulge in. From the internet, to 3D movies, to video games, to porn, the available options make traditional television look less and less appealing everyday. So far this year, 18-34 year olds, Idol’s core constituency and the group most likely to support gay rights, have been watching 5.8 percent less television. People of all ages are watching 2.3 percent less. Even my grandfather, one of the die-hard viewers who has been mesmerized by TV since its inception, now spends a large amount of time on the computer.
Conclusion: The gays are not killing TV, TV is killing TV. Maybe Gary McCullough and his “Christian” buddies watch Pat Robertson all day, but everybody else is finding better things to do.