The popular movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes is expanding its reach beyond feature films. Variety reports that tomorrow the site will launch "TV Zone," an area focused solely on television ratings. It will collect reviews and assign seasons of television — not individual episodes — a "Fresh" or "Rotten" rating as appropriate. Along with covering the new fall shows, Rotten Tomatoes will also be offering up ratings for primetime shows that have received coverage over the last four years. The section will not cover reality television, but long-running programs that have reached a certain level of cultural prominence — Mad Men and Breaking Bad are listed as examples — will have all of their seasons reviewed.
Moving into television provides a somewhat different challenge for Rotten Tomatoes. When a movie comes out, it usually remains in a singular, fixed form (special editions or unrated cuts aside), but television programs stretch out over the course of many months. When assigning ratings for a new season of TV, Rotten Tomatoes will be pulling from early reviews that traditionally cover only the first few episodes. As a show evolves over the course of a season that critical sentiment could change if subsequent episodes don't deliver. The site's editor-in-chief, Matt Atchity, told Variety that Rotten Tomatoes will be monitoring the critical assessment of shows as their seasons progress and will update scores if appropriate. With Rotten Tomatoes film ratings already integrated into a large swath of online film services, television is the logical next step — and a huge opportunity given the creative renaissance the medium is currently experiencing.