According to Aaron Sorkin, pregnant women in peril are great for ratings, or more specifically, the highest possible scenario for a ratings bonanza. Now that the November sweeps are behind us, we’ve seen a tornado ravage the Desperate Housewives, an episode that featured a pregnant Susan (Teri Hatcher) getting knocked downstairs by her prescription drug-addicted husband. We’ve seen the wife of a cop on Law and Order SVU in a severe car accident after which her baby was delivered on the way to the hospital. She looked like she was going to die but in the last moments, she lives!
It seems like Grey’s Anatomy is one long pregnant woman in peril, although they’ve gotten rid of their baby doctor (she went off to have her own fun in Private Practice) and they had the no-name pregnant woman in peril the last time they had a ratings sweep.
Meanwhile, on Without a Trace, one of the stars, Poppy Montgomery is pregnant in real life, but when she fretted over telling the producers, she was apparently surprised to find out that they were okay with it. They would simply work it into the story somehow. You bet they will.
When pondering the “pregnant women in peril” concept, a quick scan of the potentially pregnant women in television yields a promising crop. Since Dancing with the Stars has helped ABC leap to the lead in the ratings war, perhaps “Dancing with the Pregnant Stars” would be a double ratings coup. Just imagine dancing ladies with various pregnancy complications in various stages – perhaps one might even go into labor for the series finale?
Boston Legal already did the pregnant lawyer thing, and she was put in minor peril. It seems to me that someone on that show could get pregnant and then sue the firm for getting her pregnant in the first place due to the overtly sexual nature of the firm’s partners. It could work!
What is it about pregnant women that draws viewers in so? And when you think about it, doesn’t it remind you about just how primal our species really is? We like to play tough, watch our crime shows and our reality shows and our music videos, but we also can’t help but feel protective of a woman about to give birth.
Funnily enough, the ratings only last so long. Eventually the baby is born and then the show dies. The idea, then, is to let them get pregnant and be pregnant, experience peril, get rescued, have the baby, then make the baby disappear. What kind of a sick society is this?
It’s the kind of sick society that likes watching stars learn how to dance. Dancing with the Stars drew 22 million viewers last week and became the second highest rated program of the entire season. ABC was tops with the target demo, the 18-49ers, while CBS was the highest rated overall. So if you’re over 50 or under 18, no one cares about you. Unless, of course, you happen to be pregnant and in peril.