Big Brother 17 was the most-watched Wednesday evening show and had what CBS said was “its largest audience for a premiere since July 12, 2012.” Yet a number of viewers stopped watching in the middle of the premiere. Perhaps that can be explained with what happened on Thursday, when the show introduced its first BB Takeover, starring The Amazing Race‘s Phil Keoghan as an embarrassed reality show host doing cross-promotion.
First, ratings. While the show did win the night on Wednesday, and had higher premiere ratings than usual, what’s most interesting to me is that 1.016 million people who tuned in at 8 on Wednesday bailed by the second half-hour: An average of 7.423 million people watched the first half-hour while 6.407 million people were tuned in the second half, according to Nielsen data. (Update: In the middle of Thursday’s episode, half a million people fled, with 6.16 million watching the second half.) That’s not a great sign. But maybe all that matters is the average number of viewers, which kept the show in a good place for CBS.
Creatively, however, it didn’t improve night to night. On Thursday, Phil Keoghan was the first BB Takeover guest, and I cannot begin to describe how lame it was. Phil did not seem to be his effusive self; he seemed pained to be sitting there. And his “takeover” was nothing of the sort, it was just an excuse to introduce the two remaining houseguests that everyone knew were coming.
Why waste that time, besides cross-promotion? And how does this count as a twist? Shouldn’t the producers be leading with some of their stronger material, or are they holding it for later in the season?
Watching the second episode, which was largely a repeat of the first episode except with new people, I realized this show is approaching The Amazing Race territory for me: it’s found a comfortable rut, and it’s one that doesn’t emphasize the things I love. And the promise of weekly twists actually doesn’t seem exciting at all.
I’m going to keep an eye on it, and rely, as always, on the awesome feed watchers to see what unfolds. A this point, though, I cannot see spending three hours a week on this.