Reality TV Bites; "Sex" Sizzles
Tue Jun 24, 7:05 PM ET
By Joal Ryan
Reality TV has met its rival: Summer.
The lure of real beaches and real bikinis apparently is tempering demand for the televised versions. Either that, or we're all just trying to get caught up with King of Queens.
Theories aside, the reality for summer's new reality shows bites.
The WB's Boarding House: North Shore wiped out with a premiere watched by just 2.4 million, the 103rd "most"-watched program for the TV week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Fox's Paradise Hotel, meanwhile, checked in at 41st place, with 7.3 million voyeurs.
Among shows with actual scripts and actors and stuff, the sixth-season premiere of HBO's Sex and the City was watched by an estimated 7.3 million, the pay-cable network said Tuesday.
Sex's ratings were down just a tick from its fifth-season debut in July 2002. Sunday's episode, kicking off the final round of sexcapades for Carrie Bradshaw and pals, ranks as the comedy's fourth highest rated ever.
But back to reality...
Boarding House and Paradise Hotel are the two latest entries in a reality-rich summer. Boarding House is a Real World-style show in which seven pro surfers serve as the roomies. Paradise Hotel is a Tempation Island-style show in which 11 singles mingle and, in a Survivor-style twist, compete to stave off elimination.
The two shows weren't alone in meeting cool receptions. NBC's For Love or Money, the Bachelor-style show, continued to lose suitors, dropping to 7.8 million viewers (27th place), off from its 10.2 million-watched season premiere.
Fox's American Juniors, the American Idol-style show, continued to be the class of the summer set, with 9.8 million viewers (10th place) for its Tuesday competition episode, and 7.7 million (28th place) for Wednesday's elimination round. Befitting its pint-sized performers, Juniors' numbers are less than half that of the elder Idol.
NBC's Last Comic Standing: The Search for the Funniest Person in America, the American Idol-style show with jokers in place of croakers, stayed in the game--19th place, 8.6 million viewers.
The season premiere of NBC's Meet My Folks, a reality show that to its credit really can't be compared to anything else (except, perhaps, the movie Meet the Parents), was vetted out by 7.4 million, a respectable 38th place finish.
Two more Peacock reality shows, Dog Eat Dog, the Fear Factor-style show, and Fame, the Idol-style show, got plucked. Dog Eat Dog was chewed up in 50th place (6.7 million viewers); Fame remained relatively anonymous in 51st place (6.68 million).
Fox's Anything for Love didn't endear itself to many. Its two episodes averaged 6 million viewers.
Overall, viewers, enamored of reality TV throughout the regular season, wanted nothing more last week than to watch as many CSI and Law & Order repeats as possible.
The top 10 was dominated by the two drama franchises, with their various incarnations taking up half the spots. American Juniors was the only non-repeat, non-scripted show to make the cut.
In the small victories department, CBS was the most watched network of a little-watched week, averaging 8 million viewers. NBC trailed with 7.4 million, followed by Fox, with 6.2 million, and ABC, with 6.15 million. UPN outdrew the WB, 2.8 million viewers to 2.5 million.
Elsewhere, USA's offbeat detective show Monk went back on the beat with 5.4 million viewers. Ratings for the second-season opener were up 18 percent from the first-season debut. Last year, the cable show was repeated on ABC. No word yet if the Alphabet will make room for Monk again.
Fox's much-hyped cop show Keen Eddie didn't look so keen in 80th place, with 4.9 million viewers. CBS' non-hyped Nathan Lane sitcom, Charlie Lawrence, met a similar fate--79th place, 5.1 million viewers.
Drew Carey's Whose Line Is It Anyway? returned to ABC's lineup with two episodes, averaging 5.9 million viewers, not far off from the lowly numbers it averaged during the regular season.