The biggest social TV busts from the past week: new Celebrity Apprentice announcement creates a giant yawn

With The X-Files, Republican debate feud and controversy around the Oscars, it was a busy week in TV. The biggest bust however was the new Celebrity Apprentice announcement, which failed to generate a ton of buzz. Here are the full insights from Union Metrics' Jenn Deering Davis.

Last week's biggest TV news:

  • Megyn Kelly, a reporter for Fox News has moderated several Republican presidential debates, much to Donald Trump's dismay. The two have a turbulent history, though how you describe their relationship probably depends on where you fall on the political spectrum (most agree it's somewhere between a professional feud and blatant sexism). Last week, their "relationship" flared up when Donald Trump refused to participate in the most recent GOP debate.
  • Earlier this month, Stacey Dash made some comments related to the Oscars diversity controversy suggesting we need to get rid of BET and other black-only events. So then last week, Gabrielle Union was asked what she thought of Dash's comments, she replied "Who's Stacey Dash?" (Many of us remember Dash from Clueless.) This blew up on social media, causing the hashtag #WhoIsStaceyDash to trend.
  • The revamped X-FIles premiered last week, with back-to-back episodes starting January 24. The first episode was boosted by being broadcast immediately after the NFL AFC Championship game, and received very high ratings. The audience dropped for the second episode, but remained high. So what did Twitter think?
  • The cast of the new season of Celebrity Apprentice was announced last week. This new season will be hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, and features four interesting advisors: Jessica Alba, Tyra Banks, Steve Ballmer and Warren Buffet. The contestants are a group of reality show stars and other celebrities whose actual celebrity has seen better days.
  • Our final item could be described as simply as "Oprah tweeted about Weight Watchers, and made a bunch of money." The slightly longer version is that Oprah Winfrey - beloved TV icon and inspirational billionaire - has been talking a great deal about Weight Watchers lately. She recently bought 6.4 million shares of Weight Watchers, which accounts for about 10% of the company. Over the past month, she's been publicly endorsing the company, culminating in some tweets last week about how she's lost weight with Weight Watchers and is still able to eat bread. The day of those tweets, Weight Watchers' stock price jumped 20%, earning her personally more than $12 million. That's a lot of bread.

Twitter's reaction to the news:

  • The Trump-Kelly story spiked on Twitter the second half of last week, generating more than 200,000 tweets in just a few days. As you might expect, these tweets are wildly polarized, with some supporting Trump, some supporting Kelly, and many just yelling nonsense to both. But the real question is, was Trump hurt by not participating in the debate? Trump typically generates about 260k daily tweets, with spikes around debates up to 500k or 600k. During the height of last week's feud, he was earning 500-600k tweets per day, 2x what he normally sees on a typical day. The people who support Donald Trump will support him regardless of his participation in one debate. But how did Fox News do? The debate generated about 900k tweets on Thursday, right in the normal range. So not having Trump didn't hurt them on Twitter.
  • There were 3,300 #WhoisStaceyDash tweets last week. The larger story earned 18k tweets as Union's epic burn spread across Twitter. So the hashtag itself didn't go nearly as viral as some media outlets reported it had, but the story did get picked up fairly widely for a few days.
  • The X-Files saw huge Twitter numbers last week. It generated more than 400k tweets on Sunday, January 24, and earned a million total tweets for the week. It was one of, if not the most tweeted-about show of the week, which corresponds to its high ratings. While reviews were mixed, fans seemed very happy the show was back, and we predict it will continue to perform well over the next few weeks of its 6-episode run.
  • The announcement about the new season Celebrity Apprentice earned 11k tweets last week, and 8,000 of them were on the day of the announcement itself. That's less than the previous season's casting news generated. Given this low engagement, it's possible this season's cast - or the show in general - is a bust.
  • Oprah's Weight Watchers tweets earned about 15k replies, retweets and mentions last week. On a typical day, Oprah earns about 9k tweets. She has tremendous clout, on social media and off. For this reason, she's a great spokesperson for a brand, because they can expect a big audience and large conversation. Is 15k tweets in a week large enough for Weight Watchers? If their stock price keeps increasing, that certainly matters more to them, but 15k tweets isn't anything to casually dismiss.
  • So what was the biggest bust in TV news last week? That award goes to the Celebrity Apprentice casting news, which Twitter received with a collective yawn.

Jenn Deering Davis is Editor-in-Chief of the San Francisco-based social analytics company Union Metrics. She has 15 years of industry and academic experience in organizational communications, social media and research, spending her career turning turning data into effective stories and helping stakeholders more easily understand new technologies. Union Metrics has been delivering social media answers to brands and marketers since the company launched TweetReach in 2009. Today, Union Metrics’ multi-channel social analytics are used by thousands of digital marketers at the world’s most innovative brands to optimize social media strategies and create impactful campaigns across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr. Visit Union Metrics at unionmetrics.com and @unionmetrics to learn more.

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