7 TV Shows With Fewer Viewers Than BuzzFeed’s Exploding Watermelon Video
This Is the New Must-Watch TV
Today two BuzzFeed staffers performed an experiment where they used nearly 700 rubber bands to blow up a watermelon. They broadcast the whole thing in real time using Facebook Live. It was utterly mesmerizing—so mesmerizing that the livestream peaked at 808,000 viewers. Whether it was the streaming Internet version of watching a llama chase on television or a grand metaphor for BuzzFeed’s business strategy, it attracted an unbelievable audience that couldn’t look away. It garnered the kind of attention television network execs would probably kill for. Don’t believe us? Then please do consider the fact that the Watermelon Rubber Band Explosion Show (working title) got more viewers than these TV shows.
Jay and Mark Duplass’ series did enough to get renewed once, but its second season will be its last. Critics have praised the show, but it barely averaged more than 300,000 viewers per episode.
The late-night wars have undergone a bit of a shakeup in the past few years, with Trevor Noah taking over The Daily Show, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight rising to prominence on HBO, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee debuting strong on TBS. But the unfortunate side effect of great new programs attracting audiences is that Conan has taken a considerable tumble. His TBS series averages slightly above half a million viewers.
Lena Dunham’s acclaimed HBO series has never attracted an audience proportional to the Internet real estate devoted to discussing each episode. And despite an under-the-radar stellar new season that even managed to rescue the widely despised Marnie (Alison Williams), the show only brings in about 550,000 viewers each week.
Penny Dreadful (Showtime)
We here at WIRED happen to love creator John Logan’s spooky series, especially the incandescent Eva Green at the center of all the horror. But even though the show got better in its second year, and looks to continue that creative growth in Season 3, it only drew an average of 611,000 viewers for each episode last season.
Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
The Silicon Prairie drama greatly improved during its sophomore year by focusing on the show’s two lead female characters. That was enough to get it renewed for a third season, but it’s still a ratings disaster, averaging under half a million viewers.
The Nightly Show (Comedy Central)
Larry Wilmore has done a great job defining his tone as the lead-out to The Daily Show, and it’s not really his fault that the late-night block has dipped. The audience for Comedy Central’s flagship series was always going to decline following Jon Stewart’s departure. But the show is down 40 percent, even among millennials, and the average viewer age has actually gone up since Trevor Noah took over. That’s definitely affecting Wilmore’s show as well, which barely cracks half a million viewers when it airs.
Louis C.K.’s cable series afforded him unprecedented creative control. He writes, directs, shoots, edits, and stars in almost every episode, and has reaped the creative benefits of that hard work with a wider audience for his standup specials and passion projects like Horace and Pete, which launched on C.K.’s website. But his FX show, which barely garnered more than a million viewers in its first season, had dropped more than half that viewership by last year’s fifth season.
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