12:36pm PT by Jethro Nededog
Ryan Seacrest's 'Shahs of Sunset' Opens Strong for Bravo
The premiere of Bravo and Ryan Seacrest Productions’ reality series about upwardly mobile Iranian-Americans in Beverly Hills, Shahs of Sunset, didn’t disappoint for the network. The debut episode attracted an audience of 1.1 million viewers to its Sunday at 10 p.m. airing.
That means the series pulled off a 6 percent increase in its time slot compared to average viewership over the last four weeks. It also retained 48 percent of its lead-in The Real Housewives of Atlanta's 2.3 million total viewers and 47 percent of its ad-coveted 18-49 audience.
Some of Shahs’ viewership my be attributed to recent controversy over its portrayal of Iranian-Americans, which has inspired activists to launch petitions asking Bravo to pull the series.
And here’s an interesting comparison -- since Ryan Seacrest Productions is also behind E!'s Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Its series premiere opened to only 898,000 total viewers in Oct. 2007. Fast forward six seasons and last year’s Sept. season finale attracted 3.3 million viewers. That may be a good indicator for Shahs.