- ABC/Eric McCandless
“The Muppets” had a lot going for them going into their premiere last week and it paid off.
In its first week, it was the highest-rated new fall show of the season. What a difference a week makes. The show’s audience fled in its second week to the tune of 36% of its total viewers (9 million vs. 5.1 viewers) and 30% of its hold on the audience most desired by advertisers, adults aged 18 to 49 (2.9 vs. 2.0).
ABC poured a lot of marketing money into the show. The network disguised ads as juicy stories about Miss Piggy and Kermit’s romantic lives after breaking up with each other in Hollywood’s celebrity magazines.
It dispatched its most major stars (“Scandal’s” Kerry Washington, “Castle” leading man Nathan Fillion, and “The Middle’s” Patricia Heaton, among others) to help sell the show in promos.
Even major names like “Hunger Games” stars Liam Hemsworth and Elizabeth Banks, Reese Witherspoon, and Topher Grace have signed on to guest star on the show.
So, what happened?
This may be a case where a big marketing budget, curiosity, and nostalgia created too high of expectations. While critics collectively average an extremely positive 96% on Rotton Tomatoes, the audience score came in at just 80%. Metacritic’s score of 75% and IMDb’s 7.2/10 score appear more like it.
We’ll have to keep watching to see if “The Muppets” are able to stabilize their ratings next week.
Here are the mixed reactions people have had to the show so far on Twitter:
The Muppets: more depressing than Review, but not in a good way.
— emily nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) September 23, 2015
The Muppets premiere was okay, but some of it felt notably off. I have to commend the 2011 movie again for just nailing the right tone.
— Eric Goldman (@TheEricGoldman) September 23, 2015
I *really* liked the new Muppets. This fresh take on it is very, very funny. Congrats, @billprady!
— Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) September 23, 2015
The Muppets reminds of when The Brady Bunch came back as a drama and Bobby is injured in a car accident and Mike runs for city council.
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) September 23, 2015
I feel like I’m the only one who loves the new #MuppetShow. Great sendup of mockumentaries & the cynicism/MUPPETS contrast serves it great
— Colin McIsaac (@ColinMcIsaac) September 30, 2015
@JamboEveryone don’t count the muppets out just yet. I think a lot wrote it off after the first episode and may come back to it if it stays
— Rikki Niblett (@RikkiNibs) September 30, 2015