Real World’s creator says Denver ratings reports didn’t reflect MTV’s “smart strategy”

The executive producer and co-creator of The Real World says reports of low ratings for the first episode of the Denver season are “frustrating” because the show aired more than once.

Jon Murray tells TV Week “that more people watched that premiere, that premiere night, than the fifth-highest in terms of all of our premieres, and certainly more people watched it than the Key West premiere.”

He says that was because of the “really smart strategy” to repeat the premiere over three hours (at 8, 9, and 10), and stream it online. Thus, he says, “it’s frustrating to see people say, ‘Oh, you’re ratings are down.’ Well of course they’re down because they’re down for the 10 o’clock hour.”

Maybe so, but according to Variety, adding up the three hours shows that 4.33 million people watched, which is more than the 3.33 million who watched Key West’s debut, but far less than the 8.5 million viewers MTV says watched. Get Real Denver reports that a Nielsen representative Brandi Preston says that MTV’s number is “what is called a reach number. That is the number of different people who watched at least (X) amount of minutes of that particular 1st episode. They could have run the episode 20 times and any unique viewer who saw it gets counted.”

MTV also responds to Variety’s story, agreeing that just “4.33 million viewers (3.25 million in the target 12-34 demo) tuned in to the three airings of the premiere episode,” but does not explain how they reached their 8.5 million viewers number.

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