Bethenny’s new talk show launched last week and at first, all new was good news. The first day anyhow. What actually happened was that like many new show, a lot of people tune in for the first episode to see what all the fuss is about. Then with curiosity satiated, they never watch again. (Kind of like the Real Housewives of NYC this year.) Bethenny’s new show is following a similar pattern as the Rosie show. (Not a comparison anyone wants to have made to their new show.) A good start, then a free fall. Followed by a show reboot with a new set, followed by a cancelation. I’m sure Bethenny wants to be the next Oprah, but how badly does she want it? Her talk show has a six-week TRIAL run, then they either pick her up for 2013, or they drop her. She has five weeks left to turn the ship around. It’s not looking good for her after reviewing the numbers from the first full week.
Four days of weighted metered market data does not a hit or miss make. But day four of the six-week, six-market test for Warner Bros. daytime talk show Bethenny, hosted by Bethenny Frankel, slipped to a 0.9 rating/3 share, according to Nielsen. And that was down from the lead-in average yesterday (1.0/ 4) by 10 percent. The June 2011 time period average is a 0.8/ 3. Compared to opening day Monday (1.5/ 5 on June 11), Bethenny declined by 40 percent, with the four-day overnight track as follows: 1.5/ 5 – 1.1/ 4 – 1.0/ 3 – 0.9/ 3.
She went from a debut of 1.5, to 1.1 the next day, to 1.0 the next day, to .9 the next day. Every day last week the ratings dropped. She lost 40% of her viewers between Monday and Thursday. (I don’t have the Friday numbers yet.)
The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that no one can find her show on TV, or online for that matter. Keep in mind, her core fan group might be willing to watch, but it’s composed of a big percentage of career women at work during the day. They might be willing to watch her show on a streaming format like Hulu, but basically, Bethenny has to build a new audience. She’s been on the Real Housewives and her own Bethenny Ever After show on Bravo TV, which is evening programming. Not everyone has the luxury of watching TV “morning, noon and night.”
It often does no good to try and revive a dying TV show. It ends up being another excuse to talk about how terrible the show is doing, and how desperate they’ve become.
But I do have an idea on how Bethenny could turn the show around. She probably won’t like the idea. And you will think I have lost my mind (if you hadn’t already in the past). But here it is – bring her old frienemy Jeel Zarun on the talk show for a full hour “interview”. And here’s why I think this could be a path to bring her show back to life.
-The epic reunion angle of two former BFFs who became frienemies.
-The idea of a televised “event.” Kim Zolciak has (possibly accidentally) used the event angle to push her Bravo solo show to big ratings success. A series of well-promoted events kept viewers tuning in. It started with the curiosity factor for her show. Her big wig reveal. Nude body painting. Meltdown with her friend. The actual wedding. Her mother threatening to burn the house down on her wedding day. It was a short season, but every step of the way, it became “must see TV.” Even if you’re not a Kim Zolciak fan, you might have found yourself turning on the show because you couldn’t look away. Once you watched an episode, you needed to watch another episode to see how things were resolved. Each episode was promoting later episodes, building momentum towards the finale. Sure, a talk show and a reality show are very different. But Oprah’s entire last season became an event leading up to the final episode of her series.
-If Bethenny booked Jeel Zarun for a show two weeks from now, it would instantly become an entertainment news story. The talk would increase her numbers in anticipation along the way. Then the actual “event” would bring her back to the ratings of her debut, and possibly higher.
-After the “event,” there would be post-show clips to maintain the buzz. And hopefully during this media frenzy, she’s planning her NEXT big event. Something bigger than vajajay chat or guacamole facials.
-The “epic reunion” should be something spectacular. It shouldn’t be just “kawfee talk.” For example, Jeel is introduced, they chat for a few minutes. The producers announce a surprise, and every former and current member of the Real Housewives of NYC walks on stage. (Everyone loves an Oprah style surprise. Think of the JUICY promos, the look of shock on both of their faces, the crazy that ensues, and you have to tune in to find out what happens.) Actually, something like this could also help prop up the ratings for the Real Housewives of NYC. Cross promotion – can be good if done correctly.
-Jeel Zarun – Now, it may be difficult to understand why Bethenny should ever get messed up again with the woman so many people love to hate. But if Jeel wants to drive home the message to Bravo TV that the actual reason for the ratings collapse of the Real Housewives of NYC was that she was “let go” from the show, this is the perfect way to prove to all the “haters” that she can get bodies in front of the TV. And though Bravo might not be crazy about it, or any of my Twitter followers for that matter, if Jeel actually could bring 400,000 extra viewers BACK to the Real Housewives of NYC, I think they might be willing to hear what she has to say. Like I said on Twitter last week, I kind of miss the horror on everyone’s face when Jeel Zarun shows up uninvited to an event. But then again, I have a twisted sense of humor. I’m absolutely certain Jeel would jump on a plane, probably complain about how crappy first class is, but still manage to make it an hour early.
And think of how much fun I would have hashing through every minute detail of this episode. Every misstep, uncomfortable glance, awkward moment, backhanded compliment. The things I pretty much live to write about. I am probably dreaming too big here. But deep down inside, you know you’d watch.