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.