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DVD Talk review of 'The Rat Patrol: The Complete Series'

Old 07-06-08, 09:35 PM
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DVD Talk review of 'The Rat Patrol: The Complete Series'

I read Paul Mavis's DVD review of The Rat Patrol: The Complete Series at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=33719 and...

His speculation that

"Unfortunately, ratings faded for The Rat Patrol's second 1967-1968 season. It's always tough to ascertain why a series suddenly drops off in the ratings; so many variables are at work. The Rat Patrol didn't face any tougher competition this year than it had the previous season"

is, in fact, incorrect. U.S. commercial television series have traditionally been produced through what's known as "deficit financing," in which a network pays the producing comany less for each episode than it costs to actually film the show, on the principle that the producer, who retains ownership of the series, will make its profit via syndication sales after the series has ended its network run.

In the case of "The Rat Patrol," the show's ratings were good enough that the ABC network DID want to commit to a third season of episodes, but United Artists, the studio producing the series, was tired of making the show in a deficit financing position, with no guarantee that syndication profits would ever be forthcoming (in those days, the rule of thumb was that a show needed five years'-worth of episodes to syndicate successfully).

As such, the studio ignored the desire of the network, and producers The Mirisch Company and Lee Rich to continue.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:23 AM
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Thanks for writing, and I appreciate your info.

But what you wrote (based on my quote) doesn't have anything to do with my quote that you reference. And the two statements in my quote -- that ratings fell off for the second season, and that the show didn't face any tougher ratings competition -- aren't speculation. They're facts. In Season One, The Rat Patrol was tied for 23rd in the year-end Nielsen's. In Season Two, it dropped out of the Nielsen Top Thirty. That's not speculation; it's just a fact. Same with the competition: it faced The Lucy Show head-on each season.
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