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Talking Dead is a legitimate hit - TV's Death by Mandoline

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AMC's talk show about The Walking Dead -- TALK SHOW -- is a hit:

Regardless of what one thinks of The Walking Dead — and I have a lot of thoughts! — its aftershow remains a strange exercise in picking clean the bones from an already ravaged corpse.

But here's the thing: Not only is it cheap to produce, Talking Dead is a legitimate hit.

In February, one installment pulled in 2.8 million viewers in the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic. It's a number NBC's hugely expensive scripted programming couldn't match that night — or on any night that month.

Hardwick has recently leveraged this attention into another show, The Nerdist, airing on BBC America. Low-cost and mildly diverting, the hour is a perfect complement to BBC America's microtargeted lineup of Saturday-night sci-fi. Though the content is more free-form — the most recent episode featured Breaking Bad's Betsy Brandt making out with one of Hardwick's Trekker pals — the strategy is identical to the one behind Talking Dead: to give people what they want and then drown them in it.

No longer an upper-channel also-ran, BBC America has managed to create an ouroboros of interest, a cultural cul-de-sac that lures fans by giving them a new episode of Doctor Who and then traps them by applauding their exceptional taste.


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