Take last week's 90210 audience and divide it in half. That's how many Canadians tuned in for Week Two of this series, which stars young Canadian Shenae Grimes.
For a show with so much buzz, that is a huge drop week to week. In raw numbers, the series went from 1.3 million viewers to 664,000.
What happened? To be fair, Global did not run the show in simulcast this week, bouncing it to 9 p.m. in order to simulcast NBC's Big Brother (943,000 Global viewers). But a CW simulcast isn't such a big deal anyway (it's not like even Americans are watching that network). As of next week, Global will have House as their 90210 lead-in. If Dr. House can't save 90210, nobody can.
What likely happened, and this is bad news for Global and The CW, is that many of the people who sampled 90210 in Week One just weren't turned on by what they saw.
The feedback I got from chatting with writers at Denis McGrath's "Writer Mafia" party at The Paddock the other night was that the 90210 pilot was a bit of a bore. A rival network head told a fellow critic that Global bought "a poster, not a series." Perhaps, although a lack of substance hasn't always stopped other shows from succeeding.
My theory, and I've said it here before: you can't turn around a Canadian network with a CW show. CTV learned the same lesson last year with Gossip Girl.
It was bad news for 90210 in the U.S., too, although the drop wasn't nearly as dramatic. Tuesday's episode finished last in its timeslot with 3.3 million viewers, a 28% drop week-to-week. The series debuted in the States to nearly 5 million viewers. Writes Marc Berman at Mediweek's Programming Insider, "Considering most new shows drop in the vicinity of 10 to 15 percent in the overnights in week two, this is very disappointing."
Last night was also the premiere of Fringe on Fox, and it did okay if not spectacular. Around nine million Americans tuned in, placing it second in the timeslot behind NBC's America's Got Talent.
It did even better in Canada--1.54 million views according to the practically giddy CTV release. "Fringe drains the pool on 90210 and empties the house on Big Brother," crows CTV. Fringe encores Saturday at 8 p.m. on A.