Last night, The River, which appeared to be a highly anticipated Lost "clone", turned out to be nothing more than a water stain on your new carpet. It premiered to extremely lackluster ratings, and it's very unlikely it will recover from the very bad start. Here are the goods, and then I'll illustrate exactly how DOA it is.
The River (ABC, Tuesdays, 9pm ET)
8.20 million Overall Viewers (first hour)
2.5/6 in the 18-49 Demo
6.82 million Overall Viewers (second hour)
2.2/6 in the 18-49 Demo
I'll list the practical example of the Charlie's Angels premiere, just so you can get a true idea of how DOA The River is, by comparing its numbers to another notable DOA series.
Charlie's Angels (premiere episode ratings)
8.76 million Overall Viewers
2.1/6 in the 18-49 Demo
While it barely beats those numbers out of the gate, I can't imagine there wasn't a lot of money and time invested into attempting to make The River a success. The difference between Charlie's Angels and The River is that Charlie's Angels wasn't serialized. When a serialized TV show drops 1.4 million viewers in the second hour, that's just about as bad as it can get. The good news for The River is that it only has an 8 episode first season, which will save ABC from another embarrassing early schedule pull, as they should have no problem airing all 8. Fans of the show should contain their excitement, though, as it's extremely unlikely there will be another season. Serialized TV fatigue is beginning to set in, and not even something that looks somewhat interesting is enough to grab the audience anymore, especially if it appears to be a "clone" of something else. If it isn't an entirely new concept (Smash), the audience just won't buy in, and the jury's still out on whether Smash will be able to retain its audience. In a few weeks, we'll see if Awake (NBC) can buck the downward trend of relatively traditional serialized TV. I have a feeling I already know the answer, but I'm going to give it a fair shake anyway. Thanks for reading.