The WB orders second season of its 'Beauty and the Geek' ratings hit
By Reality TV World staff, 06/21/2005
The WB has announced that it has ordered a second season of Beauty and the Geek, the currently airing reality series that has emerged as a summer hit for the reality-challenged network.
In addition to announcing the ordering of an eight-episode Beauty and the Geek 2 series (up from the current edition's six episodes) the network has also greenlit the production of a Geek 1 reunion show that it will air on Wednesday, July 13, the week after the series ends its six-week run.
"Beauty and the Geek is a big win for The WB and our alternative programming team, and I couldn't be prouder to order a second cycle of what has become our signature reality franchise," stated WB Entertainment president David Janollari in making the announcement. "[MTV Punk'd creators Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg] have once again proven that they know exactly what the young adult audience is looking for in the reality arena."
Beauty and the Geek 2 will air some time during the 2005-2006 television season, most likely in midseason.
Although it has only broadcast three episodes to date, so far Beauty and the Geek has shown signs of becoming the breakout reality franchise hit that has long eluded the network (a fact that has been especially ironic -- and no doubt frustrating for WB executives -- given that the network caters to the young viewer demographic that is typically attracted to reality programming.)
Beauty and the Geek debuted well (at least for The WB) in its June 1 premiere, averaging 3.17 million viewers and a drawing 1.1 rating households and a 1.6 rating in the Adults 18-49 demographic. More impressive was the show's performance in the even younger Adults 18-34 and Persons 12-34 demographics (The WB's core viewer base), where Beauty and the Geek managed to rank second in its time period -- trailing only Fox's repeats of That 70's Show, the sitcom in which Kutcher himself stars.
The ratings results got even better with Beauty and the Geek's second and third weekly broadcasts, both of which continued to build on the show's previous week's numbers. Geek's June 8 second episode averaged 3.75 million viewers, a 1.4 rating, and a 1.8 rating in the Adults 18-49 demographic -- numbers that were all substantially higher than the show's premiere ratings.
However Beauty and the Geek kicked things into an even higher gear with last week's June 15 third episode. Building on Episode 2's already impressive growth, Geek's third episode averaged 4.54 million overall viewers, a 1.6 rating, and a 2.0 rating in Adults 18-49. However, most impressive was the show's performance in Adults 18-34 and Persons 12-34, where it placed first in its Wednesday 8-9PM time period -- a rare feat for the network.
Naturally, The WB is excited about the show's growing buzz. "It has a couple of things going for it," Janollari told Daily Variety. "It's a combination of comedy, competition, poignancy and heart, and the fact that it's a unique idea."
If Beauty and the Geek continues to deliver strong ratings, the network would appear to have found the reality hit for which it has spent several years searching (and at least partially ignoring.) Prior to the 2004-2005 television season, the network had spent the past several seasons largely shunting the reality genre under former CEO Jamie Kellner. While it aired two editions of The Surreal Life and High School Reunion (as well as 2003's Boarding House: North Shore summer programming filler and three episodes of the quickly canceled No Boundaries), the network pretty much sat on the sidelines as other networks scrambled to launch their reality projects -- and steal The WB's younger viewers in the process.
Recognizing the illogical nature of its previous stance, (now former) The WB CEO Jordan Levin flat-out apologized to advertisers for his network's previous snubbing of reality programming during his 2004-2005 "upfront" presentation in May 2004. "We will never make that mistake again," a contrite Levin told the audience.
The change in The WB's attitude was quickly visible, with the network launching its Superstar USA reality hoax series that same month. While Superstar wasn't a ratings success, that didn't stop the network from trying again. In addition to bringing High School Reunion back for a third season, The WB also aired Big Man on Campus, The Starlet, and Studio 7 (a reality/game show hybrid) as 2004-2005 midseason series. However despite the network's efforts, the three new series all struggled in the ratings (especially the Thursdays at 9PM Studio 7 sacrificial lamb), extending The WB's reality drought.
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