Summer Session: Spin 101
- June 7
summer. For most of us, it's a time of rest and
relaxation. A time to reflect on the spring of our year,
prepare for the harvest of the fall, and remember that
during the summer, we're pretty much at reign to do
whatever the heck we want.
Unless you happen to be
a writer for a we-try-harder game show news service...
Wait a sec...
Well, it's Summer School
at the Numbers Game, and I'm your professor. For the
next few weeks we'll see, by the numbers, which summer
games are at the top of their game, and which ones
should head back to grade school. So grab your number
twos, folks, because class is now in session. Open your
textbooks to page one... last week.
On Monday, we got the
latest import that Fox thought was an easy sell...
"Hell's Kitchen." Based on the British show of the same
name, it brings its star chef Gordon Ramsay to America
to open and run a 12-man operation in Los Angeles. At
stake: a restaurant.
The hype: From Fox's
website: "The contestants believe they have what it
takes to work in the adrenaline-fueled atmosphere of a
busy kitchen... but they haven't worked for the
perfectionist Ramsay before. A man they may fear and
respect in equal measure, Ramsay will be assessing their
performance and driving them to achieve the best. For
him, failure is not an option, and nothing and no one
will get in his way."
The opening numbers:
Disastrous. Sorry, I was talking about the service.
Downsides: fourth place in viewers (6.80 million) and
households (4.2/7). Good news: it actually fared (^_^)ing
well in its opener amongst key demographics (3.2/7 for
adults 18-49 - tied for second). Also of note, a 33
percent lead-out over "Nanny 911".
What that means: While
it's far from the bang-out success that Fox was hoping
for, it could be on its way. That depends on what
happens with last night's double feature.
The push: Gordon Ramsay
is probably as well known in the UK as Emeril is here,
and the UK edition posted one of the highest marks for
ITV this year.
Beat the "Geek"?
Wednesday saw the
premiere of the WB's "social experiment", "Beauty and
the Geek". From the minds that gave us "Punk'd" and "For
Love or Money", brainless beauties are paired with
sheepishly shy guys for life lessons in each other's
The hype: From the
"During these competitions, the geek must
try to pass his brains onto the beauty, while the beauty
tries to pull the game out of the geek. They're so far
apart on the social spectrum that they're practically
different species, but if they make it to the end, they
could both walk away gifted and gorgeous."
The opening numbers: Bad
news, when you're on the WB schedule, fourth place is a
triumph. The numbers: 2.2/4 in households, 3.17 million
viewers, 1.6/5 in adults 18-49... all fifth place. Good
news: some demos that don't pop up often popped up to
catch the show: adults 18-34 (2.2/8), persons 12-34
(1.9/7), women 18-34 (2.7/9), women 12-34 (2.4/8), men
18-34 (1.6/6) and men 12-34 (1.4/5)... all second.
What that means: The
niche audience the WB is known for... well served, but
could do better. An encore presentation is usually a
good sign. We'll see if that continues on Wednesday.
The push: The WB's been
killing for a breakout game for a while, only having
it's biggest success with last year's "Superstar USA"
and "Studio 7"... which isn't saying much.
Right afterwards, fans
of ballroom dance headed to ABC, where several famous
dancers teamed with famous celebrities for the US
adaptation of the BBC's "Strictly Come Dancing",
"Dancing with the Stars".
The hype: From
"Dancing with the Stars has broad appeal,
offering viewers dazzling costumes, dancing, celebrity
gossip, behind-the-scenes training and contemporary
music performed by a live 15-piece band. The format has
already been an international hit in several countries."
The opening numbers:
nothing short of exceptional. In it premiere, it scored
top of the hour on all three major fronts: 9.4/15 in
households, 13.48 million viewers, and 4.3/12 for adults
What that means: Big
audience... but could go either way. Were the people
intrigued by what they saw? Did they clamor for
something different or just.. something? Will they stick
around for more? Next show will tell the tale.
The push: The same
production house that made the original British series
is responsible for this adaptation. No way that they can
screw up, right? And flipping Tom Bergeron's involved
and still in top form after H2...
NBC's Bouncing "Baby"
And finally this week,
NBC rolls out the US adaptation of ... yep, another
British series, "Hit Me Baby 1 More Time". Like "Weakest
Link" and "Hell's Kitchen" before it, producers went the
extra mile in importing the host along with the format,
giving the US its first glimpse of UK DJ Vernon Kay.
The hype: From NBC
Universal Media Village:
"Hit Me Baby is
#1 with a bullet!" This came as they released the
numbers for the premiere show.
The opening numbers:
apparently NBC wasn't joking... to a point. Again, from
NBCUMV: "Last night's debut of "Hit Me Baby One More
Time" hit the highest adult 18-49 rating for a new
summer unscripted series premiere in nearly two years,
winning its slot among all adult viewers under the age
of 50." As for total households, at 5.5/9, "CSI" was the
only thing stopping the show from total victory. And
with the latter in the 9 ranges for reruns, that will
continue to be a tall order.
What that means:
Probably a convenient move leaving out total viewers. I
have to hand it to the NBC spin machine. My hat is off.
The push: Nostalgia
factor, especially if you were a child of the 80s or
We'll see what the
follow-up grades are for these entries next week. Big
thanks to Mediaweek and Zap2it for these scores. Until
next week, remember... the numbers never lie.
is waiting patiently for a reality series involving
Dance Dance Revolution to some extent. E-mail your
requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.