MTV's 'Electric Barbarellas' Isn't Lighting Up Ratings Charts

8:31 PM PST 05/25/2011 by Marisa Guthrie
MTV

Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone's pet project has been a network disappointment so far.

The Electric Barbarellas, the MTV docusoap about a girl group looking for fame that was championed by Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, is not exactly burning up the ratings charts.

In three weeks on the air, the series is averaging 858,000 total viewers, with 652,000 of them among the net's target demographic of 12-34-year-olds. Barbarellas, which airs Wednesdays at 11 p.m. after Real World: Las Vegas, is down 34% in that time slot versus the prior four weeks, when an encore of Real World aired there.

TV Review: The Electric Barbarellas 

 The show, which has been widely panned by critics, became a reported point of contention between former MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath, who was not a fan. McGrath stepped down earlier this month after three decades at MTV.
 
The women, who go by their first names only, told Zap2it that they met Redstone through his grandson Brandon, who was dating someone in their circle of friends.
 
"He's been a fan of the group and a friend to us. We're so humble and grateful that he's been through this with us," band-member Heather told Zap2it, referring to Redstone, while Raven, added: "I know that Mr. Redstone is an amazing man. He's been a big fan of ours and we really appreciate it."

Despite Redstone's apparent interest in the show, it received only the usual promotional effort -- promos across the network, a show page at MTV.com, some billboards in Los Angeles -- though it did get the coveted post-Real World time slot. Last week, Barbarellas sank more than 50% from the original 10 p.m. episode of Real World: Las Vegas -- which pulled in 2.1 million viewers.

But Barbarellas has so far improved the time slot performance year-over-year. It's up 17% over encores of The Challenge: Fresh Meat II. And last week's episode, which pulled in 959,000 viewers, was the its highest-rated yet.

Email: Marisa.Guthrie@thr.com

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