More film coverage of Williston. ‘Blood & Oil’ ratings drop as production run chopped from 13 to 10 episodes.

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Update 11/20 – I’m wondering if “Blood & Oil” will even make it through the shortened season of 10 episodes. Wikipedia reports episode #7 aired on 11/8. It had same rating/share as week #6 (0.8/2) with a tiny increase in viewers (up 0.15M to 3.40M, for second lowest showing). Show did not air on 11/15 and is not scheduled for 11/22. Next episode, #8, is scheduled for 11/29. ‘Suppose #10 will ever get on the air? Anyone liking the show might just have to catch it on DVD.

A few articles on shows set in the North Dakota oil fields. One ad libs with locals, one actually has a non-oil plot, and one suggests everyone moving to North Dakota is a low life. Guess I’ve been reading enough lately and am aware enough of what is going on in the Bakken that I can recognize heavy agenda when I see it.

Oh, ‘Blood & Oil”, which I discussed earlier, will only have 10 shows in its first season instead of the originally contracted 13. Their ratings & share is still dropping. If I understand some articles correctly, that means the show is on its deathbed.

10/17 – Dickinson Press – Williston on film – Gotta love the opening sentence!

It’s probably safe to say Williston, North Dakota has the highest per-capital presence of filmmakers on earth.

Or maybe second only to the downtown Hollywood sound stages.

Article points out another film crew trying to record a fictional story set in Williston, which will attempt to tell the same story yet again. The shtick of this crew is to use local people, giving them the general idea what to say since they aren’t professional actors and letting them ad lib the script.

Article does not hint what agenda this crew will be working with.

10/17 – Dickinson Press – Local uproar over Nat Geographic’s “Fracking Hell’: Bar regulars say depictions of violence fabricated – Agenda of this coverage is quite obvious.

Film crews went on ride-along with Williams County deputies. They seek to present a town that has been overrun with prostitution, drug sales (especially methamphetamines), extortion, and theft. Show leads you to think motorcycle gangs control all the meth manufacturing and sales.

One scene in the show reportedly shows deputies rolling out to one particular bar, approaching a couple of guys standing around, and two bikers roaring off with voiceover saying the police broke up a fight.

Challenging part of that scene is people at the bar said there was no fight when the film crew was there. One guy who was in the footage said the deputies stopped by to chat, visited a little, and left.

A named deputy says on film that life is permanently changed in North Dakota. Article quotes him as saying:

By definition the oil field is a dirty job and it brought in a lot of dirty people… there’s not a lot of higher class people in Williston.

Like I said, this crew’s agenda was quite obvious.

Here is a thought experiment for you: how many thousands of hours of programming could be produced looking at the underside of life in Los Angeles or Detroit or Washington DC? Any one of those cities oughta’ have enough material for a dozen seasons.

Finally, a movie about North Dakota, shot in North Dakota, without a visible agenda:

Dickinson Press – 10/23 – Film shot in southwest North Dakota wraps production in-state – Indie movie is about a paleontologist looking for dinosaur bones in North Dakota. Film is being shot in southwestern part of the state.

Star is complimentary of the geography of the state. This is the third feature-length film the producer has filmed in North Dakota.

11/4 – Wikipedia – Ratings for “Blood & Oil” – The soap opera has seen its ratings slide. Dropped about half since the premiere. Seems to have plateaued at a small number.

Here are the ratings and share for the first six shows. Ratings is the percent of televisions in the county which were tuned in to the program. Share is the percent of people watching television who were watching the program.

  • Date – rate – share
  • 09/27 – 1.4 / 4
  • 10/04 – 1.3 / 3
  • 10/11 – 0.9 / 2
  • 10/18 – 0.9 / 2
  • 10/25 – 0.8 / 2
  • 11/01 – 0.8 / 2

Not the sort of trend you are looking for if you want to keep working another year or two on a gig.

Looks like the studio suits have actually seen the ratings & share stats –

Wikipedia article says the show has been cut from 13 episodes to 10 on 10/23/15.

Having read the plot summaries at Wikipedia, the show seems to be primarily a daytime soap opera aired in prime time that just happens to have the hook of an oil theme while it was shot in Utah. Plot summaries don’t suggest any threads that are actually applicable to Bakken or North Dakota. Comments in the plot summaries could happen anyplace there is drilling. Udpate: Or it could be set anywhere there is resource exploration for that matter and at any time in the last 50 years.

Variety on 10/5 calls the show the weak link in the network’s Sunday evening lineup. That was before the rating dropped from 1.3 to 0.8.

10/30 – Salt Lake Tribune – Utah-made “Blood & Oil” is on its deathbed – Apparently cutting a production run from 13 episodes to 10 is a major indicator that a show is not going to continue. Article says networks don’t want to admit to canceling shows. Instead, they cut the production run and just let the show expire.

I think that means at the end of 10 episodes it will just fade away and won’t ever come back on air. If I get the implications, that means the only news about a show’s cancellation is the lack of any news for more episodes.

Article describes the ratings as weak for the pilot and have dropped since then.

Article says the state of Utah kicked in $8.3M to subsidize filming.

Another Variety article, ABC Cuts Don Johnson’s ‘Blood & Oil’ to 10 Episodesalso says that a cut in the run indicates the show will be canceled.

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