On the Lot drops to 2.4 million; Burnett says it’s a success “from a business perspective”

FOX flop On the Lot was watched by 2.9 million viewers last week, and last night it lost another half-million viewers. The show was watched by just 2.4 million people, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In two separate pieces, two of the men behind the series both defend it and admit that it has failed. FOX’s Mike Darnell, the man responsible for the network’s reality shows, explains On the Lot‘s low ratings by saying the show is “a little bit ‘inside.’ … It’s about the making of movies, [which is] maybe not as interesting to people.” He also told the Los Angeles Times that the show has “a narrow concept.” Perhaps that’s true, but the show hasn’t actually followed the making of movies since its first week; since then, it’s simply broadcast lame short films in between a lot of filler.

Executive producer Mark Burnett admits “[t]he show hasn’t delivered on the ratings we’d hoped.” However, he tells the Times, “An expensive reality show costs half what a cheap scripted show costs,” and considering they’ve basically only paid for lighting and scissors to decrease the size of annoying host Adrianna Costa’s wardrobe these past three weeks, they’re certainly not spending any money.

Meanwhile, Forbes profiled Burnett and his career, and in that piece Burnett says that On the Lot has been successful “from a business perspective. Did you know there are 50 new shows this summer? I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve had 3 hits. Some producers never get one,” he said.

Burnett talks about his increasing work in scripted TV, but says that he won’t be abandoning reality TV. “Roughly half of the top ten shows on TV are reality shows. They’ll remain the bulk of our business, and to suggest that I wouldn’t want it that way is silly,” he said. Still, he says he can see himself as a filmmaker: “I’ll admit that the idea of making Hollywood movies is very seductive.”

12.4 mil in audience for NBC’s ‘Talent’ show [Hollywood Reporter]
Reality is tough, even for this guy [Los Angeles Times]
Reality check: Mark Burnett’s kingdom [Forbes]

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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.