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 Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.