FOX's 'Playing It Straight' struggles in Friday premiere, but ranks first in young demos
By Reality TV World staff, 03/16/2004
As could be easily predicted, Fox's new Playing It Straight series, which premiered along with the quirky Wonderfalls drama as part of the network's new Friday night lineup, struggled in its debut in the evening known as Fox's ratings black hole.
Airing on an evening where the network hasn't had a hit since The X-Files moved to Sundays in 1996 and in a time period that nearly claimed the life of another reality series -- 2001's The Mole II: The Next Betrayal on ABC -- the premiere episode of Playing It Straight got off to a very weak start, placing fourth in its timeslot overall and drawing only 5.3 million viewers according to preliminary national Nielsen ratings.
While the overall ratings performance was disappointing (and not unexpected), the news was better in the younger demographics as the program did manage to place third for the hour in the Adults 18-49 ratings. Additionally, airing on a night during which many young viewers typically aren't home, the program did manage to attract those younger viewers who were watching television, leading its hour by 2 shares in the preliminary Adults 12-34 results (2.5/10) and ranking as the highest-rated program of the evening in the Adults 18-34, Persons 12-34, Men 18-34, and Teens demographics according to Daily Variety.
Why FOX opted to schedule the clearly younger-skewing Straight series for the wasteland known as Fox Fridays while scheduling its expected older-skewing upcoming The Swan makeover series for Mondays at 9PM (bumping Forever Eden to Thursdays at 9PM versus CSI, The Apprentice, and even the Scifi Channel's Mad Mad House) serves as further evidence that sometimes even the casual viewer can't help but wonder what network programmers are thinking when they make some of their scheduling decisions.