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Published on November 16, 2021

The View from my Seat

‘The times, they are a changin’ to stranger

By Ernie Williamson
The Bulletin

We certainly live in weird and changing times.

Here is what I mean.

Remember when … you could enter a store, find what you wanted and carry it out. Or, if it was too big, arrange delivery in a day or two.

We had a built-in microwave oven go kaput early in October.

No problem, we thought. They are cheap and easy to come by.

Wrong.

We found it would take until - get this - April of 2022 to get a microwave in the size and color we needed.

One store did send someone to the house to take measurements and help find the microwave we needed.

We haven’t heard anything.

I assume the holdup is because of the pandemic and disruptions in the supply chain.

Bloomberg reports that as of this writing, there are more than 70 ships anchored off Los Angeles loaded with enough 20-foot containers full of goods to stretch from Southern California to Chicago if laid end to end.

Hopefully, our microwave is out there somewhere.

Remember when … cable was king?

I have thoroughly enjoyed “Impeachment: American Crime Story,“ a 10-part series on the FX cable network that deals with Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp, Ken Starr and his federal prosecutors.

Given how scandalous and controversial the impeachment was at the time, I am surprised how little buzz the series has created. After all, the series attracted plenty of media hype before its premiere and has a fantastic cast.

Additionally, the first season of “American Crime Story” about the O.J. Simpson case premiered on FX in 2016 and was a huge hit.

I couldn’t help but wonder why this look at the Clinton impeachment was ranked a lowly 15th in ratings for cable shows for one day, tied with ESPN’s “Around the Horn” and MTV’s “Teen Mom.”

It took the New York Times to explain it to me.

The answer lies in the agreement between FX’s parent company and Netflix. “American Crime Story” is currently only on FX, and Netflix is not allowed to stream it for 10 months.

The same was true for the initial rollouts of the previous seasons, but things have changed for cable television.

What seemed like a good deal for FX in 2016 when cable was still a robust business has turned sour just a few years later as millions of viewers have cut the cord since then, ditching cable for streaming services.

That first season of American Crime Story in 2016 captured strong ratings when it featured the Simpson case. But at that time, FX had a bigger reach with 92 million households compared to Netflix with 80 million subscribers.

Now in 2021, Netflix has 213 million subscribers, and FX is available in only 76 million homes.

That means the Clinton story has drawn an average audience of 571,000 on FX while the Simpson audience had an average off 3.9 million.

Without a streaming platform, the Clinton impeachment series isn’t creating much buzz now. I predict, however, the impeachment series will be a winner on Netflix next year.

And Netflix viewers won’t have to sit through 19 minutes of commercials and will watch it at their convenience.
Remember when … the Rockets and Texans were contenders?

As of this writing, the two teams have won a total of two games between them. Unfortunately for us supporters of our local teams, there is no turnaround in sight.

One thing hasn’t changed, however. The Astros may not be World Series champions, but they are still contenders.

(Ernie Williamson welcomes reader input. Please contact Ernie at williamsonernie@gmail.com. Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)