As we previously reported, Teen Mom Young and Pregnant returned for its fifth season (technically Season 3b) in late June and the ratings tied for the lowest in the history of the Teen Mom franchise. The show is now seven episodes in and things aren’t looking much better.
The June 29 Premiere brought in just 161,000 viewers, but it seemed the dramatic young moms might manage to turn things around with a bump the following week. The second episode saw a 74% increase to 280,000 viewers! That’s still not a great number, but it hinted at a positive trend.
Unfortunately, the trend didn’t continue. Teen Mom Young and Pregnant Season 3b Episode 3 dipped back down under 200k to 198,000 viewers. Since then, the series has hovered between 200k and 235k with this week’s episode bringing in 203,000. Here’s the updated ratings graph:
Teen Mom producers are well aware of the franchise’s struggles and they are reportedly desperately trying to come up with creative ways to drive up the ratings while bringing down the cost of production. The apparent go-to solution is the non-reunion “get together” type show bringing all of the moms together in a single location.
Teen Moms Filming With Babs and Debz OG
In an attempt to keep the get together concept from becoming too stale, producers are doing their best to spice them up with surprise guests, like Farrah Abraham’s appearance during the first season of Teen Mom: Family Reunion.
Fans assumed MTV was continuing with that marketing concept when photos surfaced online last month of all the Young and Pregnant moms with Jenelle Eason’s mom Barbara “Babs” Evans and Farrah Abraham’s mom Debra “Debz OG” Danielsen:
The Ashley has the inside scoop on what the ladies (and producers) are up to. “Barbara and Deb are filming ‘Girls Night In’ episodes together to make sort of a ‘Grandma’s Edition’ series of episodes,” a production source tells The Ashley. “They won’t be filming with the Young and Pregnant girls, though. They all just happened to be there at the same time filming.”
The source adds that Babs and Debz will film around six episodes, “but they may not all air.” This won’t be the first time MTV has united Babs and Debz OG. The two MTV grandmas filmed an after show together in 2017:
— Starcasm (@starcasm) May 1, 2017
(Yes, we used the same Babs and Debz graphics! Those images are two of my all-time faves and I make no apologies! 😂)
Despite all of the Young and Pregnant moms being together in California in July, there will be no Season 3b Reunion. I assume that is because of the additional costs associated with the reunions, including booking a studio as well as paying the hosts.
That being said, I don’t know why producers wouldn’t just try to do an informal reunion? They could have all of the moms sitting together (and separately) in the same format fans are familiar with, but have it hosted by the life coach or therapist or whoever is working with the moms for the get together show. Just record it in the lobby, or on the patio, or wherever.
To be honest, having a reunion that isn’t on a studio set with Dr. Drew and Nessa seems like the exact kind of thing that would be well received by Teen Mom fans. The franchise built its success on having cast members who didn’t come across as “reality stars” — at least early on. A less professional, out-of-the-studio reunion format seems to fit that concept very well.
Will Teen Mom Young and Pregnant Get Canceled?
Given the show’s extremely low ratings, Teen Mom Young and Pregnant has managed to survive much longer than many thought — including this blogger and OG Teen Mom fan. Remember, MTV cancelled Teen Mom: Pretty Little Mamas because it managed to average just 312,000 viewers per week — almost 50% more than Young and Pregnant is currently pulling in.
I can’t imagine the show coming back or another season if they can’t pull the viewership above 300,000. I should also note that the most recent episode finished in 70th place for the night for cable viewers aged 18-49, which is the demographic that has the biggest influence on advertising revenue.
Producers can try all sorts of shenanigans with the get together specials, but in my opinion the fundamental problem is with the regular season. If you are telling entertaining and compelling stories, the number of viewers will slowly increase organically over the course of the season. You can see an example of this with the first season of Young and Pregnant in the ratings graphic above.
The first season was just better story telling, and that was reflected by the fact that viewers came back as new viewers tuned in. After the first season, the regular show just wasn’t good enough to retain viewers. Period.
Personally, I don’t think it’s because the moms’ stories are boring or not entertaining — quite the opposite really! Rachel Beaver is on the same level as Jenelle as far as perpetual chaotic drama! The stories just aren’t being told as well. It’s scene after scene of the moms seeming really tired and disinterested talking about things that happened with their friends or family.
I may be wrong, but I don’t think the solution is to have Babs and Debz watching and commenting on the Young and Pregnant moms seeming really tired and disinterested talking about things that happened with their friends or family.
Also, it’s not that viewers are tired of shows about teen pregnancy. TLC’s Unexpected continues to bring in big numbers with the exact same concept. Those stories are simply being told in a more compelling and entertaining way. (They also cycle through cast members more quickly, but I honestly don’t know if that helps the ratings or hurts the ratings more. Fans say they don’t like McKayla Adkins, but she was a HUGE reason they kept tuning in!)
I’ll get off my soap box now. I’m a fan of the Teen Mom franchise and it really bums me out to see it dwindling in popularity and relevance. We will keep an eye on the ratings and keep you updated.