Do TV Critics Still Matter?

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When shows like Jersey Shore become major hits, one has to wonder what kind of influence TV critics still have on viewers. The question is reflected in the recent repurposing of many traditional critics, who find themselves navigating an increasingly Web-based reviewing culture and the changing journalism field in general.

Yet anecdotal evidence still suggests that TV critics wield more industry power, especially with creative executives in charge of programming. In light of the recent DirecTV rescue of critics' darling Damages from cancellation, The Hollywood Reporter argues that, even among the thousands of TV blogs on the web, the influence of traditional reviewers is not to be underestimated:

"The television critic cuts through the massive amount of programming that's available," says Susan Young, president of the TCA, of which this reporter is a member. "The other role is to say, 'Give this show you watched one time another shot.' Neither 'Mad Men' nor 'Breaking Bad' would have gotten a second look if not for TV critics."

For now, professional TV critics, whether online or in newspaper and magazines, still hold sway. A swell of critics decrying the likes of a monster failure, like ABC's "Caveman" in 2007, can encourage a show's quick demise, or, by contrast, influence keeping underdogs on the air -- like their much beloved yet struggling "Friday Night Lights" on DirecTV/NBC.

Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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Kevin Fallon is a reporter for the Daily Beast. He's a former entertainment editor at TheWeek.com and former writer and producer for The Atlantic's entertainment channel.

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