Despite a strong start by Oblivious, the debut of TNN: The National Network's much-trumpeted Sunday-night lineup of original series generated a mixed ratings result.
The network, however, is scoring with slam-dunk performances from its new sports franchise Slamball, according to executive vice president of production Kevin Kay.
Oblivious, in which host Regan Burns (Once and Again, Titus) interviews unsuspecting "contestants" in such places as banks, gas stations, bars and on the street, debuted to a 0.8 household rating at 9 p.m. That was a 20 percent increase over last year's performance in the period, according to Nielsen Media Research figures.
The program also drew a 0.6 rating in TNN's target demographic of adults 18 to 49, up 79 percent from last year, according to network executives.
"We're really pleased about the performance of the show," Kay said. "Given the hilarious concept and host Regan Burns, we're not surprised at its performance."
But while Oblivious
sets the tone for the night, none of TNN's sophomore original series could emulate its ratings performance. Ultimate Revenge
generated a 0.5 rating — down 17 percent from last year — while Fame for 15
and Conspiracy Zone
both garnered 0.2 ratings, 50 percent behind last year's numbers for the time period.
Ratings for the three shows among adults 18 to 49 were flat compared to last year.
It may take time for viewers to find the shows on Sundays, said Kay. Last year, TNN's lineup on that night included sports-entertainment fare such as professional bull riding and monster-truck events.
"We're going to have to take a little time to get people to come to something they're not used to seeing at that time slot, and it may not be the same audience," Kay said. "If the numbers grow week to week that's going to be the good sign as opposed to beating the high benchmarks of last year."
The Sunday-night shows also face formidable competition from cable networks, and from broadcasters vying for the 18-to-49-year-old viewer.
"It's going to be an uphill battle to get the demo to come to us," Kay said.
The news is better for Slamball. Through three Saturday-night installments, the series — in which contestants square off in a basketball-like game on a spring-loaded court, with trampolines near each hoop — has averaged a 0.6 rating.
The show is resonating with young viewers, though: the network's 12-to-17 audience is up a whopping 500 percent, compared to the same period last year, network executives said.
"I think Slamball
and sports-entertainment shows in general skew younger because it has a live-action, video game feel to it," Kay said. "The show allows us to bring new viewers to the network that we may not ordinarily attract."