Summer Originals in Ratings Doldrums

Jun 17, 2007  •  Post A Comment

CBS’s “Pirate Master” is a sinking ship. Viewers refuse to stay on Fox’s “On the Lot.” ABC’s “Fast Cars & Superstars” is skidding off the road.
Choose any bad pun you like, there’s no shortage of ways to criticize the performance of this summer’s latest batch of reality shows.
“The primary purpose of summer programming is to find the next ‘American Idol’ or ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ and I’m not sure there’s one this year,” said Brad Adgate, senior VP of research at Horizon Media.
Coming off a ratings downturn in the spring, the summer reality onslaught has failed to turn the tide for broadcasters. Most networks have lower averages compared with the same period last summer, some by double-digit margins.
Only Fox — which has been on a tear with the return of “So You Think You Can Dance?” and “Hell’s Kitchen” — has managed to maintain its summer viewership. Yet Fox also has had to endure the most-talked-about misstep with “Lot,” a show that proved marquee-name executive producers do not necessarily draw viewers.
In addition to “Pirate” (2.1), “Lot” (1.5) and “Cars” (1.2), other struggling freshman shows include CBS’ animated program “Creature Comforts” (1.6) and ABC’s “The Ex-Wives Club” (1.9) and “National Bingo Night” (1.6). ABC’s “Next Best Thing” is faring a bit better with a 2.4.
Scripted efforts are doing no better.
The CW soap “Hidden Palms” has averaged a spectacularly low 0.5, and ABC’s “Traveler” has earned a 1.7. NBC’s burnoff of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” averaging a 1.7, shouldn’t give the network any second thoughts about canceling the drama.
Many returning shows have continued to perform well, however.
Fox’s “Dance” and “Kitchen” have averaged strong 4.0 ratings this summer among adults 18 to 49. NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” has averaged a 4.1. ABC’s “American Inventor” is treading water with a 2.6.


  1. In the Detroit area there is a huge boycott of NBC and Im sure it will keep going until well after Christmas

  2. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day 🙂

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