Shark Tank, Neighborhood, Millionaire’s return get low ratings, but Big Brother still strong

Two new reality shows and one returning game show didn’t get many viewers Sunday night, but one show did, Big Brother 11.

The Hollywood Reporter says the three new shows “delivered disappointing ratings,” as the return of Who Wants to be a Millionaire– one week shy of its 10 year anniversary, when it kicked off the revival of prime-time game shows–at 8 had 7 million viewers. There are 10 more nights of the game show, hosted by Regis Philbin. Shark Tank, Mark Burnett’s ABC adaptation of the BBC’s awesome Dragon’s Den, features people pitching inventions and ideas to rich people who may or may not invest.

Good news for ABC, though: their “performances are slightly above ABC’s recent time period averages in the slots,” according to THR, which also notes that “August is notoriously tricky month to draw audiences and these numbers suggest last night might not have been a good date to debut anything.”

CBS issued a press release to say its reality TV pair beat ABC’s, although There Goes the Neighborhood, CBS’ series following families living and competing after their houses are literally walled off and disconnected from the world, had just 5.1 million viewers, and lost .9 in the demo and 2.1 million viewers from its lead-in, Big Brother 11, which continued its trend of getting increasing ratings.

Sunday was a busy night for new show debuts, including the fourth season of MTV’s Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best Dance Crew. I was on a plane coming back from two weeks in Los Angeles learning about what networks will offer us over the next six months, and getting information from the people involved in present and past shows, but I did see Shark Tank, and thought the first episode did a good job of retaining everything that worked on the international version. Its executive producer, Clay Newbill, told me that a new set will debut with episode three and make interaction between the sharks and entrepreneurs a bit more personal, which should make it even more like Dragon’s Den.

Anyway, Sunday night was a good example that there’s so much debuting and airing and concluding that it’s hard to filter through it all, and since that’s one of reality blurred‘s missions–besides relentlessly hammering away at my reality pet peeve of the moment–I’m going to address that. Although I constantly update the current debut schedule, I realize not everyone checks that every day, so starting this week, I’ll debut a new feature that both looks backwards and forwards, recapping the past week in case you missed something, and highlighting the week ahead. (I’m currently soliciting suggestions for a creative name for that feature.) Watch for that, never mind interviews with Julie Chen, Chris Harrison, and more over the next few weeks.

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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.