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.