Ratings For ‘What Would Ryan Lochte Do’ Premiere Tops Kardashians

The final ratings for Sunday’s programming are out, and the results are in: a tepid response to the series premiere of “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?”, the new reality-style television show that follows Ryan Lochte through treachorous waters of training, fashion, family, and courtship.

Lochte’s show, in the Nielsen ratings, received a rating of .7 for Live + SD, meaning that .7% of Households in the United States watched the show either live, or on DVR on the same day. These household ratings are based on a Nielsen count of about 99,000,000 households (not people) in the US having televisions, which means just shy of 700,000 households tuned in to the show. Another .46 rating was earned on the re-air an hour later.

The biggest demographic for the show was the Female 18-34 group (not surprisingly, given that this is the E! Television Network and the opening scene was a game of shirts versus skins flag football), where the show earned a rating of .9. That calculates out to approximately 310,320 viewers in that demographic alone.

For some context, how does that compare to other shows? Despite a later time slot on the East coast, the program outdrew the new episode of the reality juggernauts that are the Kardashians on ‘Kourtney & Kim Take Miami.” However, Lochte’s new project received a lower rating than the show on either side of it: Ryan Seacrest’s E! News Special with the Kardashians just before recieved a household rating of 1.24, and the Married to Jonas premier immediately afterward received a rating of .82. Lochte did outdraw the JoBros, however, in the ever-crucial, ever-spending 18-49 demographic (.43-.31 rating comparison).

In other words: if E! is trying to tap into a male audience, they’ve done it: only the Kardashians special scored higher among male viewers all day long.

An analysis from our Hollywood expert, former professional screenwriter Gold Medal Mel Stewart:

With a strong leadin from Ryan Seacreast with the Kardashians, WWRLD captured a .7 rating, specifically an audience of 683,000 people during the 10-30pm window.  WWRLD re-aired during the 11-11:30 window and captured another 446,000 viewers. These are respectable numbers according to industry executives. It’s actually a solid premiere for E! Consider that Lochte was up against Vikings on the History Channel, Two and a Half Men on FX, and the strong network lineups (All-Star Celebrity Apprentice on NBC, The Mentalist on CBS). If Lochte can hold this rating, he’ll likely get picked up for a second season.

Something to consider: WWRLD was hyped aggressively by E! That could account for the solid ratings Lochte netted. If that premiere audience was merely madeup of curious looky-loos, and his ratings fall next week, the show will likely only last one season. Lochte needs to keep his 600,000 plus viewers and build on them as the series rolls out.

The social media response was overwhelming, with some good, and some positive. Late night TV Show host referenced Lochte’s repeated admission that he didn’t know what things meant in this tweet:

@jimmyfallon : Last night was the premiere of “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” Or as Ryan Lochte put it, “Cool, who’s in it?” #fallonmono 15 hours 40 mins ago

Lochte, however, had many supporters, falling into multiple camps. Some expressed the belief that any publicity for the sport is positive, and needless to say, Lochte’s reality show probably brought more web attention to swimming than even the Olympics. Others were just firm Lochte supporters from the get-go, and still others recognized that this is reality TV, so their goal is to get as much attention for the program and its subject as possible, even if that means distorting reality.

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9 years ago

Is this young man, who has brought great performances as an Olympic
swimmer, be such a brainless pretty face as well as a misoyginist, really
wprthy of a TV show

bobo gigi
9 years ago

The Kardashians! Wow, what a reference!

9 years ago

Many good points and perspectives here. As a female, it is a little cringe-worthy to see someone with a lot of good qualities and fantastic accomplishments glorify such a trashy lifestyle at his age. It doesn’t seem like it will be fulfilling in the end, and if everyone did what he does, it wouldn’t be the best for children and families (thank goodness for Plan B)…However, I do understand his desire to make some money, as his other options are probably limited and he most likely doesn’t want to do the whole school thing again…It is just too bad that the show doesn’t seem entertaining at this point. If it is going to be trashy, I’d rather it be 28… Read more »

Kirk Nelson
9 years ago

True enough, but since he’s putting it out there for public consumption seems like we’re entitled to say how we feel about the guy and his life.

Reply to  Kirk Nelson
9 years ago

It appears that there is a lot of hidden envy and jealousy in regard to Ryan. What do you want him to do, sell insurance or financial planning or some other boring or frustrating job?

Reply to  billy
9 years ago

Of course not. He’s a creative person and should be doing something creative. I do hope he eventually finds something fulfilling in that arena.

I don’t think Ryan would like to do a reality show for too many seasons…It would probably get old. I’ve never seen him so miserable looking during the months they were filming, and when it was over, he seemed to be back to his old self again.

Kirk Nelson
Reply to  billy
9 years ago


9 years ago

Come on folks, back off a little. It’s his life, not yours and let him live it. He’s not breaking any laws and it appears he’s having fun too.

He can’t be everything to everybody. He seems cool to me and I’m old enough to be his dad.

It sure beats some mind numbing, everyday job that most folks have.

Go Ryan!

9 years ago

I hope Lochte’s show builds steam, gets picked up for a 2nd and 3rd season, and he goes on to win to 4-7 more medals in RIo…. Said it before and I’ll say it again, it does “not” hurt the sport to have different personalities representing it. Yes WWRLD is a bit over the top…but not too much. I think anyone who swam, really did the year-round grind, had one guy on their team like Lochte. That swimmer may not have had Lochte’s talent or looks, but he kept everyone entertained during the toughest times of the season.

So Very Opinionated
9 years ago

On deck, Ryan is a fan-friendly, generous person who takes his responsibilities to his swimming fans seriously. For anyone has never seen him signing autographs, he will have an agreement to do a half hour, but stay until he has signed every one. NEWS FLASH: This does not apply when he is at a meet trying to get to the warmdown pool. At the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, a mother chastised him “bursting children’s dreams” because he left before signing every autograph in order to warm down. Chill out, woman. He is there to swim, not to sign autographs, although he tries (often to his detriment) to accomodate everyone who wants his John Hancock.

That being said, the core… Read more »

Reply to  So Very Opinionated
9 years ago

As a grandmother of many boys who are very active in sports, I am appalled
at the message that his series sends. Yes, he is an exceptional athlete, but he
is far from an exceptional role model. When people say all he has is swimming so
he should make as much money as he can for his celebrity sends a message to
children that education (and articulation) is not important.
This, and many other reality shows, are dumbing down the media for our next generation

9 years ago

I did see that and I pray it was scripted, otherwise he is more disabled than we thought! But those people who are worried are right to be worried; in general these shows will make fun of whatever mental disability they can find and portray, whether it’s real, scripted, or faked. That’s what they do.

Reply to  liquidassets
9 years ago

How could it possibly be scripted…if so where they trying to protray him as an idiot.
That he did not respect this wonderful charity to spend time THINKING of how he could
put forth their goals is unforgivable. they had to be embarrassed to give him this award

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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