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Ratings Revelations: Food Network Down, ‘Skins’ Is In, and People Like ‘The Game’ After All

The cast of "The Game"

The recent ratings results from a few notable TV shows are indicators of some surprising and not so surprising preferences among various demographics.

The Food Network and HGTV saw their ratings slip at the end of last year, indicating that core female viewers may be taking their eyeballs elsewhere. HGTV saw a 6.1 percent decline in ratings in the fourth quarter, and ratings for the Food Network in the 18-to-49 and 25-to-54 year-old age ranges fell nine percent last month.

The New York Post attributes the decline to a growing preference for “edgier culinary ‘reality’ competition shows.” A Scripps Network spokesperson (both are Scripps operations) said the ratings were so high in 2009 that the comparison is skewed.

While that’s happening, the TV show The Game made a comeback on BET after being canceled on the CW.

And come back it did. The show has been on the air for two weeks, with 7.7 million viewers the first week and 5.9 million the second, the Los Angeles Times reports. The show is about a group of women married to fictional football players. According to the Times, the show only reached 1.9 million viewers when it was canceled on CW, a dramatic turnaround.

Debra Lee, chairwoman and CEO of BET said the increase is due to “a smart marketing plan, fan bases on Facebook and Twitter, and frequent showings on BET of repeat episodes in the past year, which ginned up interest in the new episodes.”

She adds that the “strength of the brand,” which is known for programming targeting a Black audience, is also a reason. (Lee talked about the BET brand recently with mediabistro.com.)

MTV is fearing the repercussions of crossing the line into child pornography on its new program Skins, but the viewers are eating it up. The show, based on a British version, is about the risqué behavior of a group of teens, so controversy shouldn’t be a surprise. Perhaps a bit of a surprise are the ratings.

The Times story reports that 3.3 million viewers tuned in for the premiere on Monday, with a record for the station for first-episode viewership among those in the wide range of 12 to 34 years old.  The story says the program is geared towards adults, but the youngest actor on the show is 15 and the audience likely mirrors the cast.

One show that’s not capturing the younger audience the way it used to is American Idol. This week’s season opener was down 13 percent. However, that’s still 26.1 million viewers. Among teens, viewership is down 28 percent according to EW.com and among adults 18 to 49 years old, that number is down 9.7 percent.

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