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KAI RYSSDAL: The fall television season has started. And the CW network is bringing back West Beverly High and Shannen Dougherty as Brenda. The remake of the popular 1990's show "Beverly Hills 90210" debuts tonight. It's the latest try at getting young viewers to spend a little less time in front of You Tube and a little more time in front of that other tube.
Marketplace's Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.
JANET BABIN: This season, it's all about 90210. Last year's hot show was "Gossip Girl." Variety columnist Brian Lowry says the show made headlines, but . . .
Brian Lowry: The ratings for "Gossip Girl" were mediocre. There were a lot of downloads of it online, but downloads are not the same as a big, mass-network TV audience.
It's going to be even tougher for the networks this season. The writers strike shrunk the number of new shows. It also cut the pilot season, leaving a lot less time to build buzz. And there's last season to worry about.
Peter Tortorici is CEO of media strategist firm Group M Entertainment.
Peter Tortorici: So many shows had a very short window of opportunity to connect with viewers before the strike interrupted.
NBC was able to promote its new season during the Olympics. The Games brought in the biggest audience since the "Friends" finale. But the payoff may not last beyond season premieres.
Roger Smith is with media research firm Global Media Intelligence. He says the needle on network viewing points south. There were 10-percent fewer viewers last year than there were the year before.
Roger Smith: This is a demographic thing. Young people do not watch traditional television in anything like the numbers that their parents do.
Who needs a box when you can watch shows on your laptop or talk to your friends on FaceBook?
Smith expects network viewing will be down this year by 3 percent.
I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.