The Hills is more popular than Gossip Girl

MTV’s quasi-real reality series The Hills is much more popular than The CW’s scripted drama Gossip Girl. That’s striking especially because the reality series airs on cable and the scripted series on network TV–and because The CW is bragging about Gossip Girl’s record-setting ratings.

On Monday, 2.5 million people watched Gossip Girl, and 3.75 million watched The Hills. Perhaps more significantly, Lauren Conrad and company, whose show has been the most popular show among people 18 to 34, “did 100% better among 18-34 year olds” than Gossip Girl on Monday, according to TV by the Numbers.

Although it was easily beaten by MTV’s show, The CW proclaimed in a press release that Gossip Girl “scored The CW’s highest ratings ever in the Monday 8-9pm time period among adults 18-34.” It was also “the series third best performance ever in adults 18-34″ and the “highest rated episode in both of these categories since 11/14/08.”

Perhaps most interesting of all is how few viewers both shows draw (at least on TV; both shows have also been viewed online, although The CW has decided to further limit its audience by not streaming the show online anymore) even though both shows are subject to tons of coverage that seems a bit disproportionate. No one writes as much about CBS’ NCIS, which draws about five times as many viewers. Perhaps that’s because one show is set in New York and the other in Los Angeles, two places that are convinced that they are not just at the center of the world, but are in fact the entire known universe, which may be the only logical explanation for stories like this one.

Gossip Girl vs. The Hills: Don’t Believe CW’s Positive Spin! [TV by the Numbers]
New Night of Drama with “Gossip Girl” Return… [CW press release]
CW to stop free streaming of ‘Gossip Girl’ [Los Angeles Times]

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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.