No Love Lost for New NBC Dating Show

Ready for Love bows to 3.67 million viewers and a 1.5 in the dollar demo

With just six weeks to go before the 2012-13 broadcast season comes to a shuddering halt, one of the last remaining premieres has exploded on the launch pad.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the new NBC dating show Ready for Love started off fairly well before losing nearly half its audience by the time the night came to a close.

At 9 p.m., leading out of The Voice, Ready for Love drew a not-inconsiderable 5.37 million viewers and a 2.1 in the 18-49 demo. From there, the wheels fell off. The demo in the second half hour plummeted 24 percent to a 1.6, before staggering to a 1.3 rating at 10 p.m. and a 1.2 in the final lap.

All told, the final half hour dropped 43 percent from the 9-9:30 p.m. time slot; the same held true for the premiere’s 10:30-11 p.m. deliveries (3.05 million).

The two-hour series opener averaged 3.67 million viewers and a 1.5 in the dollar demo. Love effectively squandered 66 percent of its Voice lead-in (4.4), but in the reach metric, it burned off 72 percent of the preceding show’s 13.3 million total viewers.

Those looking for a silver lining threaded through the disappointing numbers can take solace in the fact that Love edged out last week’s one-hour season finale of The New Normal (1.6) and the final episode of Smash to appear in the Tuesday 10 p.m. slot (0.9). This, of course, is a stretch—the retention numbers alone were absolutely dreadful.

None of this is exactly surprising, as the reviews for Love haven’t been terribly kind, and NBC is having a particularly tough go with its freshman series. Setting aside the already canceled Animal Practice and Do No Harm, most of NBC’s new series failed to draw a crowd. Season 1 of the drama Deception averaged 3.63 million viewers and a 1.3 in the demo, while The New Normal drew 4.10 million viewers and a 1.6 over the course of its 22-episode run. Other series unlikely to get a renewal are Jimmy Fallon’s Guys With Kids (3.89 million viewers, 1.4 rating) and the White House comedy 1600 Penn (2.86 million viewers, 1.1 rating).

All but certain to earn a second-season pickup are Revolution (7.94 million live-plus-same-day viewers and a 2.9 in the demo) and Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire (6.58 million viewers, 1.8 in the demo).

The Matthew Perry comedy Go On is on the bubble, although it has the best shot at a renewal of all the freshman comedies. Not enough data is in regarding the Thursday 10 p.m. drama Hannibal, which bowed last week to an unspectacular 4.36 million viewers and a 1.6 rating among the 18-49 set.

Meanwhile, an all-new episode of CBS’ ratings monster NCIS failed to impact The Voice’s demo deliveries, which slipped a mere 2 percent versus last Tuesday’s 4.5 rating. As usual, NCIS killed it on reach, drawing 17.2 million viewers in the 8 p.m. time slot, while averaging a 2.7 in the 18-49 demo.

In the same hour, the fourth installment of ABC’s competition series Splash is circling the drain, falling another two-tenths of a ratings point to a 1.2 in the dollar demo. Fox’s New Girl was up 10 percent versus last Thursday’s special episode, but stayed flat when compared to the 2.2 it drew in its most recent Tuesday 9 p.m. showing.

Lastly, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars notched a season low, falling 13 percent in the demo to a 2.0.

Only one scripted series premiere remains on the docket for the 2012-13 campaign, as ABC bows the sitcom Family Tools on Wednesday, May 1. Fox officially gets the summer season started with the launch of The Goodwin Games (Monday, May 20), while NBC takes the wraps off the Anne Heche comedy Save Me on Thursday, May 23, and ABC preps Mistresses for its Monday, June 3, debut.

Through the first 28 weeks of the season, CBS maintains a sturdy lead over the rest of the broadcast pack, averaging a 3.0 in the 18-49 demo, down 3 percent versus the year-ago period. Fox is second, with a 2.5 (down 24 percent), followed by NBC (2.4, down 8 percent) and ABC (2.3, down 8 percent). The Spanish-language network Univision is the lone broadcast outlet to improve its year-on-year deliveries, inching forward 2 percent with a 1.5.