Maybe audiences don't love
On Thursday, the new reality show on
, a unit of
, saw its ratings slide a precipitous 39% from its
debut on Wednesday, according to
Nielsen Media Research's
preliminary ratings in major markets.
A big factor in the drop is that
on Wednesday, when some 22.5 million viewers tuned in to the show, followed
, another reality show on CBS that is already a bona fide hit. Having a wildly successful lead-in, especially during the summer, when the schedule is littered with repeat telecasts, can artificially inflate a show's overall rating success.
Thursday numbers seem to confirm that. The show drew about 13.5 million viewers on Thursday.
"Losing more than one-third of your audience from one night to the next is eye opening," said Marc Berman, who closely tracks television ratings for trade publication
. Berman predicts that
, which is airing five nights a week, could see its ratings decline to around 9 million viewers by Saturday's episode.
For its time slot Thursday -- 8 to 8:30 p.m. EDT
-- Big Brother
, which throws 10 strangers together in a house full of cameras, placed second to a repeat of
Other observers remain more sanguine about
prospects. The show's ratings are "almost exactly what we thought it would do," said Stacy Koerner, vice president of broadcast research at media buying firm
. "That's pretty good for CBS on a Thursday night in the summer."
Koerner said she expects the show to gather more momentum going forward. "I would expect that number to get a bit better as people get to know the people in the house and they start fighting and stuff," Koerner said.
The show's demographics, which will be released later Friday, could ultimately determine its success. Like
on Wednesday brought in reams of the younger viewers coveted by advertisers, a viewership that has eluded CBS for years. Koerner said there's no reason to think that Thursday night's telecast should do just as well among 18- to 34-year-old viewers. That said,
has historically attracted large chunks of that demographic.
, meanwhile, saw its smash-hit game show
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
win the night, attracting around 22 million viewers, with its first new episode in more than two weeks. ABC won the overall ratings battle Thursday night, while NBC placed second and CBS third.