Despite some hits, summer ratings are down

Network ratings this summer “are down a collective 10% among adults 18-49 vs. last summer — and 15% in viewers 18-34,” Variety reports. While dramas and sitcoms have also seen a decline in viewers, the slew of summer reality shows that the networks sort of barfed up didn’t all do well. There were hits–Dancing with the Stars, Hell’s Kitchen–but there were plenty of misses.

An NBC scheduling exec, Mitch Metcalf, tells Variety that “A couple years ago, just about any reality show you launched in the summer could at least improve the time period if not move toward the top of the ratings. That’s over.” He notes that, “If it had a distinctive hook or a bigger-than-life character to it, people responded.”

In other words, if the show didn’t suck, people watched. Variety also notes that a lot of these shows were old. For example, “most of the half-dozen reality skeins launched by NBC since June had been languishing on Peacock shelves for months.” For example, Average Joe: The Joes Strike Back‘s “production had been completed nearly a year ago.”

Summer reality sinks in [Variety]
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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.