From 'Rising Star' to 'Riot': New Reality Hits and Failures

Josh Groban, Brad Paisley, Kesha and Ludacris in Rising Star

Rating analysis of new unscripted summer shows on U.S. broadcast channels. 'Rising Star', 'Running Wild with Bear Grylls', 'Food Fighters', 'Bachelor in Paradise', 'The Quest','Famous in 12','Sing Your Face Off', 'Riot', 'I Wanna Marry Harry'.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

U.S. broadcast channels introduced 9 new unscripted formats this summer. These are their ratings in the 18-49 target group according to Nielsen data:

Here is a detailed analysis of live+SD viewing (includes time shifted only within the same day) in 18-49 target group:

'Running Wild with Bear Grylls' (NBC, Mondays 8:00 PM)

While previous projects of Grylls focused mostly on survival skills, this is the first celebrity-supported project. Some A-list names that have appeared are Zac Efron being the first episode with a goal to "survive".

New survival show produced by Bear Grylls and Electus' Ben Silverman debuted well with their first episode achieving 1.4 live+SD rating in 18-49 demo. This falls in line with NBC average for that launch week. Rating success continued:

  • July 28, Zac Efron: 1.4 rating, in line with NBC average in week 45
  • August 4, Ben Stiller: 1.3 rating, 0.2 better than NBC average in week 46 - first time competing to ABC's 'Bachelor In Paradise' (1.4)
  • August 11, Channing Tatum: 1.5 rating - defeating 'Bachelor In Paradise' (1.4)

NBC ordered 6 episodes of 'Running Wild with Bear Grylls'.


'Rising Star' (ABC, Sundays 9:00 PM)

Keshet International's singing format and best format newcomer of 2013 was launched on ABC with 1.5 live+SD rating in the demo, overcoming ABC's average by 0.5 rating that week. It later declined to 0.7 last Sunday.

More about 'Rising Star': Interview with Cynthia Kennedy, Sales Director of Keshet International

'Food Fighters' (NBC, Tuesdays 8:00 PM)

A battle of amateur cooks and professional chefs 'Food Fighters' from Electus debuted with 1.0 rating in the demo (live+SD), only 0.2 below NBC average that week. The second episode rose to a 1.3 rating (compared to NBC's 1.4 weekly average). Strong results for a summer show.


'Bachelor in Paradise' (ABC, Mondays 8:00 PM)

Dating show with former 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette' contestants premiered on Monday, August 4, with 1.4 rating in young demo and repeated the same result next week. It is too early to make conclusions.


'The Quest' (ABC, Thursdays 8:00 PM)

New reality competition 'The Quest' debuted with 0.7 rating in 18-49 demo, which was significantly below ABC's 1.1 weekly average. The show which "takes contestants and audiences to an imaginative realm" declined to 0.6 in the second week. All while CBS comedy reruns are strong in Quest's Thursday 8:00 PM slot.


'Famous in 12' (The CW, Tuesdays 8:00)

Can they become famous in 12 weeks? That was the question in this new unscripted show 'Famous in 12'. Unfortunately only 5 episodes aired. The show was described as a "social experiment that films a fame-seeking family around the clock for 12 weeks straight", generated only mediocre ratings in live+SD. This series didn't grow in viewership even with a time-shift and was canceled.

'Sing Your Face Off' (ABC, Saturdays 9:00 PM)

This globally popular talent variety competition didn't find sufficient trust from ABC program managers in USA. The show is based on Endemol's format 'Your Face Sounds Familiar' and was scheduled by ABC as a 3-week special. Putting it at a typically low-watched Saturday evening slot, a sign of low expectations. Ratings averaged in expected low numbers from 0.5 to 0.7 in 18-49 (live+SD).

It is still unclear whether 'Sing Your Face Off' will get a second season.

'Sing Your Face Off' was paired with 'Bet On Your Baby' at 8:00 PM, which averaged 0.4-0.5 ratings in weeks 36 to 38.

'Riot' (Fox, Tuesdays 8:00 PM)

Improv comedy show 'Riot', from executive producer Steve Carell, debuted on Fox in May. The broadcaster ordered 8 episodes but the show was cancelled right in the middle with 4 remaining unaired episodes. Our opinion: the format wasn't universal enough for a channel targeting a 18-49 audience like Fox; being more suitable for cable TV. At times opening sequences of the series were not captivating enough and lacked pizzazz.

The format is sold internationally as 'Anything Goes' and distributed by Shine International.

'I Wanna Marry "Harry"' (Fox, Tuesdays 9:00 PM)

Undoubtedly a failure for Fox. The show put naive young women dating a look-a-like to prince Harry, started with a 0.7 rating in the demo. This was a 0.6 increment below Fox's weekly average. It declined to a 0.4 rating the following week. 'I Wanna Marry "Harry"' was canceled after four weeks and remaining episodes went straight to online.