Fox has cancelled Coupled after one season, but a Fox programming executive was surprisingly candid about why the Mark Burnett-produced summer dating show failed.
Fox’s Dana Walden, the co-CEO and chair of Fox Television Group, told Deadline, “Mark delivered a beautiful-looking show, that didn’t resonate with our viewers.”
She added, “It probably felt a little bit too close to other reality shows being done well right now. There wasn’t any need to do another relationship show on an island.”
Yes. Let’s pause for a moment to reflect on how remarkable it is for a network executive to admit a show didn’t work because it was the same as other shows. This is, of course, the problem plaguing a lot of reality television, but everyone keeps doing the same thing anyway.
This show, a dating reality series hosted by Terrence J and filmed in Anguilla, had exactly one interesting twist, and also had an impressively diverse cast that—as easy and obvious as it is—should still be applauded, considering that other network dating show’s consistent casting failure.
But beyond that, Coupled offered nothing new. It just devolved into the same sexist format that gives men all the power, though this time with on-screen texting. It was pretty, but also pretty boring.
More importantly for the business of television, its ratings were not good. The Aug. 2 finale actually had (slightly) fewer same-day viewers than The CW’s Whose Line Is It Anyway?, 1.11 million versus 1.12 million, and tied that show in its 18-49 rating, a .4. The only good news there was it hadn’t lost many viewers from episode one, which had 1.39 million viewers and a 0.5. (By comparison, the Fox series American Grit—which was renewed for a second season—concluded with 2.11 million same-day viewers and a .7 rating.