Tuesday night TV in Miami was an absolute classic--and I would submit historic. I would go so far as saying that it was historic TV programming in ANY LANGUAGE.
Readers of this blog know that I'm a huge fan of Jaime Bayly. To be sure, I don't always agree with the political analysis he presents on his show (for example, I don't agree with his opinions of Michelle Obama or Sarah Palin). I enjoy watching Bayly because of his audacity and his generally libertarian attitude, and certainly because of his unique nature on television--again, English or Spanish. I'm certainly not privy to what went on between Bayly and his former Telemundo bosses who dumped him a few years ago but I can see clearly why TV in the U.S. is better because of his intelligence, insights and articulate delivery.
For those of you who don't live in Miami, or don't get DirecTV, Bayly had a classic meltdown on Monday night, when he railed incessantly against his bosses at SBS for a lot of reasons, babbling about how upset he was with his contract re-negotiations and the "freezing" studio where his show takes place. It was, as they say, a sight to be seen. And what happened next was just as remarkable. Cynthia Hudson, the GM of the station on which his show airs, Miami's and SBS-owned Mega TV, finally had had enough and threw him off the air (switching to old programming after a commercial break).
If you thought the drama ended there, think again. The next night, Bayly was back on the air at his regularly-scheduled slot, having one of the most interesting interviews he's ever had: Cynthia Hudson. It was historic. Bayly was having a conversation with the very person who had shut him up the night before.
The conversation between Bayly and Hudson was remarkable and enlightening on several fronts but the very fact that it was happening was amazing. In the end, Bayly and Hudson made peace but it conjured up images of the unthinkable: David Letterman bitching to Leslie Moonves (CBS head-honcho) about being treated unfairly by the network. It has never happened and I don't think it ever will. But the on-air conversation was also remarkable because Hudson took advantage of the time by throwing in some interesting demographic nuggets about Bayly's viewers (cleverly done, by the way).
This was no ratings sweeps month (and I'm sure Hudson wished it had been) because Bayly was the king of Miami TV Tuesday night with a 12.8 rating, beating every program at the 10pm hour in Miami--English or Spanish--except Telemundo's boobs-inspired "Sin Senos no hay Paraiso." I don't want to get carried away with ratings but this certainly confirms what I've sensed about Bayly before: he has fans. And they're passionate. And I think they had something to do with the fact that Bayly was back on the air and not fired.
Consumers in general, as we know, are moving in all directions when it comes to media consumption and we marketers need to follow them. Bayly proves once again that's it more than just ratings. It's about quality and it's about passionate engagement. It's why I subscribe to the "emotional connection moments" philosophy of media strategizing. Look for those times and places where emotions run high, and you will find great opportunities to tell your story. Look for quality TV programming and you will run into Jaime Bayley.