How Low Can Summer TV Ratings Go?

Courtesy of FOX


From Seacrest's latest misfire ('Knock Knock') to critical darlings ('Rectify') taking a nosedive, networks' strategy to stick with original programming may be misfiring: "The floor is really low."

This story first appeared in the August 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

It turns out Ryan Seacrest has about the same appeal as encyclopedia salesmen and evangelists in terms of whom Americans want to see show up at their doorstep. Fox's feel-good Knock Knock: Live, emceed and produced by TV's go-to host, joined summer's growing list of ratings losers when it debuted July 21 — leaving many to question the value in keeping so many soft performers on the air. "Every summer it seems like there's a new threshold," says media analyst Brad Adgate. "The floor is really low. There's a strategy now to run originals, not reruns, so networks are going to air the full orders whether something is a hit or not."

Knock Knock: Live (Fox)

Apparently viewers aren't home. Airing Seacrest's charity game against America's Got Talent (NBC) was devastating. It averaged a 0.6 rating and 1.75 million viewers, one of Fox's lowest series debuts ever.

Golan the Insatiable (Fox)

The animated entry is averaging only a 0.6 rating (with DVR) in the key demo — but it had no original lead-in. Plus, it's the off-season's youngest-skewing entry, with the average viewer just 39 years old.

Rectify (SundanceTV)

Championed by critics, the third-year drama still can't lure viewers. Rectify only pulls a 280,000-strong audience with time-shifting, just 74,000 of them 18-to-49, making it the lowest-rated scripted program on TV.

Welcome to Sweden (NBC)

NBC might not be footing the bill on this Swedish import from Greg Poehler, but it won't keep the sophomore comedy on Sunday. The series, which averaged a sickly low 0.3 rating in the key demo, was canceled on July 28.

Dates (The CW)

Things could not possibly be worse for this CW comedy. A 2-year-old British acquisition, its first six episodes have averaged a bottom-of-the-barrel 0.1 rating in the demo and little more than a half-million viewers.