Summer reality show ratings lead to renewals

Summer reality TV shows are coming to a close over the next few weeks, and although I think they’re largely the “equivalent of high-fructose corn syrup: cheaper, ubiquitous, and similar in taste, at least until you compare it to the real thing,” they are doing well.

Last week, 12 of the top 20 shows were unscripted, and seven were genuine reality shows. The top show, America’s Got Talent, is drawing 10.8 million viewers, which is good but nothing compared to American Idol or even Survivor, which averaged 13.9 million viewers last season. Among people 18 to 49, eight of top 20 were reality shows, led by FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen 3 and So You Think You Can Dance.

As a result, networks have already renewed their summer staples. FOX has ordered Hell’s Kitchen 4 and So You Think You Can Dance 4, the leaders among viewers ages 18 to 49,

And NBC has ordered America’s Got Talent 3, which “is averaging 12.1 million total viewers” and leads the pack in terms of overall viewers, and Last Comic Standing 6, which “is averaging 6.7 million total viewers,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Meanwhile, “cable networks are also doing well with original reality shows,” Media Life reported last week. Ice Road Truckers “ranks No. 11 so far this summer among original cable programs,” and “close behind are shows like ‘Next Food Network Star’ and VH1’s ‘Charm School'”.

Summer reality shows fit the laid-back season [MSNBC]
‘Talent,’ ‘Comic’ series get NBC callbacks [Hollywood Reporter]
The numbers in, cable leads yet again [Media Life]

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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.