Returning summer shows draw fewer viewers than last season

American Idol end signaled the beginning of the summer reality TV season, but the shows that networks are now offering–most of which have become summer staples–aren’t performing as well as they did last year.

So You Think You Can Dance 4 leads the pack, debuting with 8.7 million viewers. While that’s “up 59% over Fox’s previous four-week Thursday night average,” it’s “down a slight 5% year-to-year,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The paper notes, however, that it didn’t lose as many viewers as “the more dramatically eroded season finales it ran against,” although it still finished behind them.

NBC’s Last Comic Standing had its “lowest rating ever,” according to THR, with just 5.9 million viewers, although it aired opposite Grey’s Anatomy’s finale. And American Gladiators‘ second season “continued to drop” with just 4 million viewers. Finally, the paper notes that The Bachlorette 4‘s debut “was down slightly from last year” with 8.8 million viewers, although the “last year” part doesn’t make sense since the show hasn’t aired in years.

This past Wednesday night had some good news. The CW’s Farmer Wants a Wife was watched by 2.8 million viewers, a low, low number but “credible numbers” for the network and “its best scores since its premiere,” Variety reports. On ABC, Wife Swap (5.8 million viewers) and Supernanny (6.6 million viewers) “were both solid,” Variety says.

‘Dance’ the night away [Hollywood Reporter]
‘Dance’ scores for Fox [Variety]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.