A Mysterious Farewell to Showbuzz Daily (2011-21)

It is with heavy heart TVRG is reporting a crucial lifeline for the Internet Nielsen Ratings community, Showbuzz Daily, has seen its final day.  Ending mysteriously and abruptly, the Nielsen-reporting website cited technical difficulties stemming on May 13 paralyzing the website.  Showbuzz returned to operation days later, but with a lack of new and updated articles.  Sadly, co-founder Mitch Metcalf announced June 7 they lost their provided data, effectively ending the site.

Co-founded by entertainment executives Mitch Metcalf and Mitch Salem, Showbuzz devoted its entirety of articles to box office performances as well as television ratings.  Where Showbuzz' ending is devastating to internet ratings is they were the main lifeline for Nielsen Media Research data for several outlets.  Any data reported on various outlets such as Variety, Deadline or Spotted Ratings originated directly from Showbuzz, long after the harrowing ending of TV By The Numbers in January 2020.  Co-founder Metcalf tweeted the tragic update:

"A sad and final update: in addition to our ongoing technical issues, we've lost access to the ratings we'd been able to provide at showbuzzdaily.com  Therefore, we're sorry to say that the site is officially done.  (For those who are wondering, the situations are unrelated)"

Showbuzz Daily came into the fold in 2011 at a time which TV By The Numbers (2007-20) was the primary media outlet along with Spotted Ratings and other outlets.  Unlike TV By The Numbers which relied on flashier web design and segued renew/cancel predictions, Showbuzz kept the servings simple in their buffet.  The numbers spoke for themselves without opinions, emotions and feelings.  Even the tables remained primary, as shown in this October 2012 article which relied on excel tables vs. TV By The Numbers' chic displays.  In fact, the green-to-red displays conveyed the proper visuals showing the strong in green to the underperformers in red.  Publishing various demographics for age and gender, Showbuzz held the rare distinction of allowing the readers to analyze the data and draw their own conclusions vs a passionate journalist telling readers what they were supposed to feel and think.  Their beauty resembled a classic horror film which relied on suspense and score to allow viewers to decide what what going on vs the visuals and direction of modern pictures, dictated by the showrunner.

Admittedly, TVRG segued into the adventures of other sites such as TVBTN and others with Renew/Cancel predictions which makes for fun insight, discussion and views.  Showbuzz held their course steady, and were welcome comfort food in the irritating shitstorms of journalism that invasively attacked readers in politically charged 2016 and 2020.  They didn't care which politician was on display, nor did they seem to cater eagerly to interested showrunners and spotlight their shows in exchange for readership.  Showbuzz remained a solid, steady read of few words, a novelty sorely missed in today's skewed world.

What few may realize was Showbuzz Daily was the only site offering this data publicly for broadcast and cable television which was shielded by asinine subscription fees from Nielsen.  Readers of TVRG may have noticed the final ratings for evening broadcast networks, as well as a thinned-down cable table, suffered directly from this blow since May 14.  TVRG will continue broadcasting this data as available, but not without losses as Saturday broadcast ratings as well as complete cable ratings below the top 100 have become rarer as Nielsen appears to be guarding the data with a tighter reign.  Rumors have swirled among several Nielsen and broadcast networks may have played a hand due to ratings eroding to cremains each passing season.  However, they are just that, rumors and speculation.

Where these rumors pick up wind was TV By The Numbers faced pressures and compromises from Nielsen as early as their 2nd year in operation.  TVBTN founder Robert Seidman published a statement on June 30, 2009 announcing the site would limit its browsable archives to 24 months which ominously implied they were forced to make changes to avoid violations of Nielsen's terms as seen below:

While no direct correlation has been confirmed with Nielsen and Showbuzz Daily, their abrupt ending is coincidental to TV By The Numbers.  Both legacy sites operated steadily till a sudden and unexpected ending, much like ending a solid television show mid-season or without wrapping up the plots.  TVBTN ended with little notice on January 31, 2020 with one brief article, having maintained a steady slew of articles leaving few indicators it would be ending.  Perhaps stipulated to maintain business as usual and leave no notice, TVBTN's ending felt like a beloved 13-year neighbor on the block packed up their vehicle in the middle of the night and vanished with only one final note left to their loving neighbors.  Given the site's popularity and sturdiness, a proper finale and announcement would have been expected.

Showbuzz Daily exhibited the same patterns, ending two weeks prior to the conclusion of May Sweeps when there was still nail biting data to deliver.  Neither site exhibited noticeable declines in articles on display, leaving readers on the hook clamoring for their returns.  Both websites enjoyed a free-reign era when the normally tight-lipped Nielsen allowed their data to be publicly displayed.  In fact, take a cruise through TVRG's Ratings History Library featuring the 1950-2021 television seasons and observe a few trends.  Prior to 1971-72, the entire season's data was seldom displayed and kept tightly veiled outside the Top 30.  Occasional releases such as the 1964-67 seasons skirted more partial data.  And for most years from 1972 to 2008, the data was released via newspaper press releases, contained within the articles.  The irony is they omitted television's most impactful season of 1970-71, which featured CBS' controversial rural purge.  Perhaps recognizing the value of this data, Nielsen has never published to the public.

Showbuzz helped contribute to helping TVRG build and cultivate this complete Ratings Library, and are ode a debt of gratitude.  To the readers questioning if this could compromise the future of the site, fear not.  Even if Nielsen data becomes a rarity reported, there is a wide world outside broadcast and cable ratings, and the team at TVRG will never leave readers without new articles to enjoy.  Showbuzz Daily's passing is indeed saddening and left a lasting impact on this cherished community.  We bid them adieu, and are focusing our energies on keeping the ratings community's energy and liveliness going.

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