Second season debut of Gladiators earns low ratings

When it returned to television in January, American Gladiators was watched by 12 million viewers. But its second season debut drew less than half that number of viewers, despite having a new set, new challenges, and new gladiators.

Monday’s episode was watched by 4.9 million viewers, earning “its lowest original rating and finishing a distant third in the 8-10 p.m. time period,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. It even “finished behind Univision,” Media Life reports, which notes that the show “was a strike hit, performing very well for NBC during winter months when repeats and untested unscripted fare ruled the networks. But facing strong competition on ABC, Fox and CBS last night, the second edition of ‘Gladiators’ saw its ratings plunge.”

That competition included Dancing with the Stars, which was watched by 17.6 million people, and How I Met Your Mother guest starring Britney Spears, which was watched by 9 million people. Soon, though, both those shows–and most other scripted shows–will be off the air, and perhaps Gladiators will rebound. Or maybe the nostalgia wore off fast.

‘American Gladiators’ has weak return [Hollywood Reporter]
NBC’s ‘Gladiators’ returns as lion feed [Media Life]
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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.