During the 2016 to 2017 TV season, just one major broadcast network show had an increase in viewers in the demographic advertisers love most, 18- to 49-year-olds. That show was The Bachelor, which grew its audience in the demo by one-third of one percent.
Two other shows were flat, but every other show, scripted and reality alike, lost viewers. Every one.
I looked at those charts and filtered out all of those scripted shows, and then organized all the reality shows by how much audience they lost last year. (This list does not include new shows such as Hunted, of course, not that there were many new broadcast reality series.)
- The Bachelor, ABC, +0.3%
- Dancing with the Stars, ABC, -5%
- Hell’s Kitchen, Fox, -6%
- Great American Baking Show, -8%
- Undercover Boss, CBS, -13%
- Survivor, CBS, -14%
- The Voice, NBC, -14% (Tuesday) and -16% (Monday)
- Masterchef Junior, Fox, -17%
- Amazing Race, CBS, -21%
- Shark Tank, ABC, -23%
- Little Big Shots, NBC, -27%
Why did The Bachelor do so comparatively well? ABC reality executive Rob Mills says in an interview with THR—an interview mostly focused on Mills’ acquisition of American Idol—that it is getting new audience members: “The audience actually gets younger each year. Women who didn’t have children when it premiered now have daughters who are old enough to watch it with them,” he said.