8:45am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'Gong Show' Opens OK During Thursday's Reality Logjam
If two is company and three's a crowd, I don't know what you'd call Thursday night. The broadcast networks packed the schedule with what may be a record number of alternative series for a single evening — and viewers were so spread out, no one show definitively came out on top.
The big swings of the night were on ABC. The network launched two new efforts, Boy Band and The Gong Show. Boy Band drew the short straw of the night, ranking last among the six-strong pack of reality series. Its two-hour premiere averaged a 0.7 rating among adults 18-49 and just under 3 million viewers. The silver lining for ABC came at 10 p.m., where the new Gong Show built on its lead-in for a 0.9 rating in the key demo and 3.8 million viewers. That's nothing to write home about for a premiere, but on par with every other effort for the night.
The rest of the reality pack was led by an even Beat Shazam on Fox. The latest episode averaged another 1.0 rating in the key demo. Time slot partner Love Connection was steady, albeit slightly improved, with a 0.9 rating among adults 18-49.
NBC also had premieres for three returning series. The latest season of Hollywood Game Night opened down with a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49. And, at 9 p.m., The Wall returned with only a fraction of its winter audience. The season premiere averaged a 0.9 rating in the key demo. But, with 4.4 million viewers, it did rank as the night's most-watched show.
But it wasn't all reality; NBC also brought the return of Night Shift at 10 p.m. It kept with the night's downward premiere narrative, slipping to a 0.6 rating in the key demo in its new night.
Looking across the networks, crowing a winner seems inconsequential given the relatively even split among shows and primetime averages. Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS were all within a tenth of a ratings point of one another among adults 18-49, something CBS did with three hours of repeats.