Lifetime’s much-criticized biopic of the late R&B singer Aaliyah shot to the top of the week’s Twitter TV charts, beating out The Walking Dead even as critics, led by superstar hip-hop producer Timbaland, beat up the production online and beyond.
It didn’t hurt the show in either its broadcast ratings, which were very solid for a Lifetime movie of the week, or with the Twitter TV ratings that Nielsen also puts out. There, the show set off nearly 1 million tweets seen by 3.4 million people during the broadcast or in the three hours before and after. Given the lingering stink raised by Timbaland and other music notables over the film’s shortcomings in portraying the late R&B princess, it’s a good guess that Nielsen’s numbers don’t come close to capturing all the conversation that went on long after that three-hour window elapsed.
Another much-savaged show, the Hollywood Film Awards, also attracted plenty of online commentary as a range of Oscar contenders got their first on-camera campaign opportunities while Johnny Depp engaged in what could be considered his take on Joaquin Phoenix-style performance art.
Disdain for the show (broadcast by CBS and produced by Dick Clark Productions) carried over to mediocre broadcast ratings, but it almost certainly will be back for another run this time next year, with probably even more tweets, and awards-hungry stars.
Perhaps the week’s bigger surprise on the series and specials side might be the No. 3 showing for ESPN’s 30 For 30 sports documentary about Randy Moss, the NFL wide receiver with Hall of Fame numbers and a Hall of Shame penchant for problems. Given Moss’s many self-inflicted PR wounds, there’s probably plenty of additional material for a Rand University Pt. 2.
On the sports side, the NFL season, now about two-thirds done, is clearly entering its dog days. Three college games poked their way into a top 10 that had decidedly less activity than common when the season was still freshly underway.
Two Philadelphia Eagles games, on a Monday and a Sunday, led the way, but not far behind, at Nos. 4, 5 and 6, were crucial college match-ups affecting not just three big conferences but also likely the first-ever four-team playoff for the national championship and possibly the Heisman Trophy race.
Of particular note was that Wisconsin-Nebraska game, where the Badgers’ Melvin Gordon set a record for major college football with 408 yards rushing. And that came even though he had two early fumbles and played in only three quarters.
Gordon sat out the final quarter as Wisconsin was cruising to an easy 59-24 win, but among the tweets about his performance was one from the man whose 1999 record he broke, retired NFL star LaDainian Tomlinson: “That kid @Melvingordon25 bad!! Congrats on breaking the NCAA single game rushing record. #respect“
Respect, indeed, and to the always classy LT as well. No doubt plenty of fans evinced their own respect online too: @LT21’s post alone was retweeted more than 11,300 times.
As always, Nielsen adds a few caveats to its numbers, to wit:
Nielsen Social captures relevant Tweets from three hours before, during and three hours after an episode’s initial broadcast, local time. Unique Audience measures the audience of relevant Tweets ascribed to an episode from when the Tweets were sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5am. Sports Events include those on Broadcast and National Cable Networks only across all day parts. For multicast events, networks are listed alphabetically and metrics reflect the highest Unique Audience across all airing networks, denoted with an asterisk.