MTV’s heavy promotion of their newest reality series Buckwild seems to have paid off, though some of the credit must go to West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, whose over-the-top letter of outrage asking MTV to pull the show sparked more publicity than MTV could have ever afforded on its own! The show premiered Thursday night with back-to-back half-hour episodes that both brought in more than 2.40 million viewers, with the 10:30 showing coming in just over 2.5 million!
In contrast, Jersey Shore premiered to 1.38 million back on December 3, 2009 before going on to become one of the biggest reality hits of all time. To be fair, Jersey Shore didn’t get the same level of pre-premiere promotion from MTV, and although it had its own share of controversy (with numerous advertisers pulling their commercials), none of that happened until after the first episode. Plus, Jersey Shore was a bit of a trailblazer and served as a precedent (and marketing tool) for it’s younger MTV sibling, Buckwild.
Garnering huge numbers for a premiere is of course a fantastic thing for the show, but anyone who knows anything about the business of television knows that it isn’t the numbers in week one that tell the tale of the future of a TV show, but how the numbers hold up for the next few weeks. For a show as heavily promoted as Buckwild, if they are able to hold steady or drop marginally (keep the ratings above 2 million), then I believe MTV will view it as a success and it will all but guarantee that we see more heavy duty farming and construction equipment adapted for recreational use in Buckwild Season 2.
If the ratings actually show a rise, however small, over the next couple weeks, then you will start hearing terms like “breakout hit” etc, and we can all plan on having these young guys and gals in our living rooms for years to come.
BUT, if the ratings show a marked decline over the next couple weeks, dipping below that 2 million mark, then Buckwild may be in trouble. As an illustration, here are some examples, including Jersey Shore and Jersey Shore spin-offs Snooki & JWoww and The Pauly D Project. (Keep in mind that Snooki & JWoww was regarded as a success and brought back for a second season, while The Pauly D Project was a bit of a flop and was cancelled after one run even though it actually had a bigger premiere.)
I’ve also added Here Comes Honey Boo Boo as an example of a show that was heavily promoted and managed to “stick” in the ratings despite an initial small decline. HCHBB is also a good comparison because they also went with back-to-back episodes the first two weeks, just like Buckwild will do throughout it’s inaugural season.
Week 1: 1.38 million
Week 2: 2.12
Week 3: 2.48
Week 4 (New Year’s Eve): 1.30
Week 5: 3.27
Week 6: 3.41
Week 7: 4.83
Week 1: 2.902 million
Week 2: 1.722
Week 3: 1.674
Snooki & JWoww
Week 1: 2.358 million
Week 2: 2.055
Week 3: 2.037
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
Week 1 Episode 1: 2.253 million
Week 1 Episode 2: 2.14
Week 2 Episode 3: 2.059
Week 2 Episode 4: 1.943
Week 3 Episode 5: 2.336
Week 4 Episode 6: 2.992
I’ve created a chart showing the Buckwild ratings compared to the shows listed above. I will continue to update the chart over the next few weeks, so tune in to find out what the future looks like for the show!
And here are the weekly Buckwild ratings for each episode of Season 1 in text form:
Week 1 Episode 1: 2.402 million
Week 1 Episode 2: 2.581 million
Week 2 Episode 3: 1.77 million
Week 2 Episode 4: 1.92 million
* The week two numbers are a bit down, but week three should tell the real tale. (Episodes 3 and 4 were really, really great and are getting talked about a lot, so we will see how that translates in the ratings for episodes 5 and 6!)
Week 3 Episode 5: 2.17 million
Week 3 Episode 6: 2.45 million
* DAMN! That’s a healthy rebound! The 2.45 million who tuned in for the 10:30 showing (Episode 5) actually beat out the premiere episode! Forget Washington Heights, Buckwild is the MTV show that’s “on the rise!” (Anyone else finding it funny that the Buckwild ratings are almost mirroring those of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? Country is as country does y’all! Yeeeeee haw!)
UPDATE – Thanks to a technical glitch we were unable to update this post for a while, so we started a new one! Click here to see the Buckwild ratings for all the episode of Season 1!
Week 4 Episode 7:
Week 4 Episode 8:
Week 5 Episode 9:
Week 5 Episode 10:
Week 6 Episode 11:
Week 6 Episode 12:
Personally, I think Buckwild is going to hang in there and be a hit. Shain Gandee is an authentic, unique, charismatic and distinctly West Virginian personality that you just can’t manufacture. (Without him the show really could have taken place anywhere in the South – rural or not.) Anna Davis seems to have all the overly dramatic workings of a successful reality star, and although I assumed going in that Cara Parrish and/or Shae Bradley would bring the babe factor, it was Salwa Amin who stole the show with her late appearance when she literally made a splash by showing up looking absolutely gorgeous and within minutes was topless and jumping off a roof into a dump truck swimming pool! (I’m sorry, but I’m a dude and that is undeniably HOT!)
Oh, and I really like Joey when he’s with Shain (A bro’s gotta have someone to smash things with, including each other’s groins!). For the rest of the cast I’ll just have to keep watching and hopefully get to know (and like — or unlike, in an entertaining way) them better.
And just in case you missed ’em, here are first two episodes of Buckwild viewable online for free courtesy of MTV!
Episode 1 “F’ the Neighborhood”
Episode 2 “Dump Truck Pool Party”