Real World Denver watched by less than half of Key West’s viewers, but not according to MTV

The debut of The Real World Denver last week was watched by 1.56 million viewers. That’s 53 percent less than the 3.33 million who watched The Real World Key West, Variety reports.

Among those 12 to 24, MTV’s primary, depressing demographic, 965,000 people watched, a drop from 1.87 million that age who watched the first Key West episode. That’s surprising, considering the episode was nothing more than a pathetic series of hook-ups and drinking sessions, which I thought bored me to the point of fast-forwarding because I’m outside of the show’s target demographic.

In the Washington Post, Lisa de Moraes calls the show a “loser” for the week and notes that The Real World Austin was watched by “nearly 4 million” people, The Real World Philadelphia by 3.3 million, and The Real World San Diego by 4 million. She asks if “it was the ‘Denver’ or the Thanksgiving Eve debut that rendered this one DOA.”

Amusingly, although Variety calls the Denver debut ratings “lackluster,” MTV has heralded them in its own press release, which may be studied in school as an example of spinning numbers. The network says the show was watched by 8.5 million viewers, according to Get Real Denver, which has seen a press release. MTV also says the episode “reached close to 5.3 million P12-34 viewers, 10% higher than the previous season.”

MTV is counting the two one-hour airings of the show that preceded its normal timeslot debut at 10, but Variety says those “drew 1.18 million and 1.59 million viewers, respectively.” Counting the 10 p.m. numbers from Nielsen, that’s just 4.33 million, half of the number MTV says watched. Someone who’s better at math than I am can figure out how MTV is coming up with those figures.

Besides TV viewings, a few hundred thousand people watched the episode online; 223,000 watched “in the 24-hour period following the premiere,” Variety says, while MTV says “over 330K streams” have been shown “to date.”

Ratings drop for ‘Real’ [Variety]
‘Real World: Denver’ premiere pulls in 8.5 [Get Real Denver]
Charlie Brown Feasts, Madonna Gets the Crumbs [Washington Post]

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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, 36, 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.