'Ugly Betty': Will Wednesdays be its high or where it'll die?
What will it take to get the show to its fifth season? We believe it needs three important things if it's to go on: ABC's support, much higher ratings and positive media response.
Here's how "Ugly Betty" is currently faring in those areas:
ABC's support: It's generally accepted that the network voiced its support of "Ugly Betty" by moving it to Wednesday nights from the Friday night death slot.
Yesterday at the TCA press tour, ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson briefly discussed the show.
"We still love that show," says McPherson. "Friday has been a struggle. I don't think many people were aware about the move [to Wednesday]. Hopefully we can do better with that."
It's big of ABC to admit their marketing around the move was not effective. McPherson goes on to say that that they'd like "Ugly Betty" to remain in the Wednesday night block, but he'd like to see it grow. That, of course, brings us to...
Ratings: ABC marketing blunder or not, the numbers still speak volumes. "Ugly Betty" didn't exactly make a splash in its new Wednesday night slot.
First, the (sort of) good news. According to Media Life and Broadcast Newsroom, the dramedy averaged a season-high 1.6 rating among adults aged 18-49 after last week's first airing on Wednesday. That beat its numbers from its last Friday airing, but only slightly. It did, though, beat the final airing of "Eastwick," which had the slot before "Betty," by 60%. That's good if you ignore the fact that the "Eastwick" audience probably gave up watching after news of its cancellation.
The rest isn't so pretty: "Ugly Betty" lost about 40% of the audience from " Cougar Town," it's lead-in at 9:30 PM. Ouch. In our estimation, "Ugly Betty" is going to have to almost double its audience in the next few weeks to stay viable. If ABC decides that it's too much of a ratings ball and chain, we believe they'll either move it to another night (which most definitely will mean its demise) or cancel the show outright.
Media reception: "Betty's" exec producer, Silvio Horta, told Zap2it that the move to Wednesday nights was influenced by fan pressure and positive critical reviews for this season. The reviews still seem positive (though scarce).
Entertainment Weekly, though, has really thrown its influence at the show: It continues its weekly " Ugly Betty Bites" feature. They recently urged readers to give the show another chance with an "' Ugly Betty' PSA." And scoopster Michael Ausiello dedicated one of his 2010 resolutions to influencing the show's renewal.
Yet, with only one of the three factors for renewal going in "Ugly Betty's" favor, it doesn't look good.
Maybe they can get Adam Lambert to take Betty's braces off while Lady Gaga holds her hand and sings "Paparazzi"? Needless to say, something has to draw viewers back if the show is to survive. What do you think it'll take?
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Photo Credit: ABC
[UPDATED: "Ugly Betty" lost about 40% of "Cougar Town's" 18-49 audience.]