The premiere of Oxygen’s The Glee Project attracted only 455, 000 viewers Sunday night at 9 p.m. with only 211, 000 in the 18-49 demographic. More bad news–among Oxygen’s core demographic of women 18-34, only 80, 000 watched. Yikes!
Granted, it was competing against the Tonys. Even I–a die-hard gleekster–blew off the Glee project premiere to watch the Tonys, and I would assume other song-and-dance lovers like me did the same. There was also the final game of the NBA championships to contend with. So, the real test will probably come next week when the fledgling show isn’t up against such stiff competition.
Still, those numbers are NOT good. It makes me wonder if part of the problem is due to a backlash against Glee. The tour has been selling out everywhere, but those tickets were sold weeks ago. Could storm clouds be gathering over the popular FOX TV show? Season 2 had lots of problems–with the shows after the midseason hiatus being particularly weak. Character development and solid story arcs went out the window in favor of more and more music (the better to sell on iTunes) and big guest stars and gimmicks. The New York episode sounded great in theory. It was rumored to cost 6 million dollars to make. But in reality–it was a string of moments with no clear story. It was a big disappointment.
The critics appear to be in a state of revolt. The new Critics Choice Television Awards almost nearly shut out Glee–nominating it for Best Comedy Series, but shutting out all of the actors, including favorites Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch. Glee won the TCA awards’ Program of the Year in 2010 but did not even get a nomination in 2011.
When Emmy nominations are announced on July 14, it will be interesting to see if Glee picks up its usual slew of nominations.
In the meantime, The Glee Project will be repeating ad nauseum all week on Oxygen. The publicity machine has been in high gear for the new show. It could be the kind of thing that eventually catches on. It’s not a bad little reality program. I wouldn’t say I’m hooked yet, but the cast is promising. I’m definitely giving it a shot.
Oxygen hasn’t given up. After today’s bad ratings news, Oxygen Media president, Jason Klarman, sent his staff a memo:
“We couldn’t be more proud of this critically acclaimed, first of its kind series that I – and this company – believe in 200 percent, ” wrote Klarman. “From development and production to the marketing and digital initiatives to the spectacular press — your work was flawless. And the critics agree unanimously using adjectives like ‘Mesmerizing, ’ ‘Captivating, ’ and lauding it as the ‘Best Talent Competition Show Ever. Period.’ Which is why, the 719, 000 total viewers for the 9 and 10pm premiere and encore presentation was not the start that we had hoped for.”