I owe Alaskan Bush People fans everywhere an apology for my previous article on ratings. I gave a false sense of comfort when pointing out the show’s ratings held steady at a 0.7 for a few weeks. It was a follow-up article by Bitbag writer Michael Jay Toledo that inspired me to take a second look.
“According to TV By The Numbers, the show’s ratings fell from 0.7 to 0.6 last Friday, June 17, 2016. There are speculations stating that the slide on the TV ratings is mainly rooted on the ‘fake accusations’ that the show has received for the past weeks.”
A one-point dip isn’t too consequential, however with Alaskan Bush People previously touted as one of the most popular shows on television, I realized these numbers were wrong. At least, they’re not the numbers a hit television series would be pulling in. So I went back and looked at the ratings for Season 3, which aired at around this time last year.
What I learned was particularly shocking.
On July 17, 2015, an article by The Futon Critic declared Alaskan Bush People the highest rated show during its Friday time slot.
“Alaskan Bush People was the #1 Prime Time telecast across all of television and cable in key demos in Prime Time, delivering a whopping 4.84 million Total Viewers P2+ on Friday, July 17 in L+3.
[Alaskan Bush People] at 9PM delivered a 2.29 P25-54 rating with 4.84 million Total Viewers P2+ in L+3. It was the #1 Prime Time telecast in all of television across Persons and Men 25-54/18-49/18-34, no exclusions. This also marks the seventh straight week Alaskan Bush People was cable’s #1 telecast across Persons/Men/Women 25-54 and Persons 18-49, no exclusions.”
It’s only when you glance back at ratings for last year that you realize two very important things. First, the monstrous impact the NBA’s popularity and of competitors like Netflix can have on broadcast television. Second, even if we were to ignore these huge factors, it still means Alaskan Bush People shed at least a couple million viewers — and there’s nothing to suggest they’ll be coming back.
I assumed steady ratings meant Alaskan Bush People found its core audience. I also imagined the decline hadn’t hit yet. In fact, Alaskan Bush People has been on a steady decline for some time; over the course of a year, it’s bled nearly half its audience!
The strange part? We have no way of knowing exactly why so many Alaskan Bush People fans called it quits between Seasons 3 and 4. It could be that the fraud scandal had a significant impact on viewer support. There’s also the issue of repetitiveness; the show is getting predictable to the point of annoyance. The weekly accusations of being fake might also have made a dent in its viewership.
It’s certainly possible that Alaskan Bush People‘s ratings took a hit thanks to a combination of problems. Still, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest something else could be at work. Simply put, Alaskan reality TV shows have lost their luster.
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can have too much of a good thing?” Well, it’s possible that, by flooding American audiences with Alaskan reality TV shows, the eager networks ultimately burned out viewer interest.
I suspect what happened is that boredom is currently eroding Alaskan Bush People‘s viewership. You can only see the same plot every single week before your eyes glaze over and you change the channel. I can’t fault the Alaskan Bush People producers for allegedly wanting to buy and burn a boat to keep audiences “riveted.” What else is there to look forward to? Apparently, not enough to hold onto audience members.
The good news for Alaskan Bush People is despite its controversies and drop in ratings, I don’t see these issues getting in the way of a new season. The bad news? All signs point to next season being its last. The novelty is gone, and there’s no more fraud case to intrigue fans. We may very well be looking at the end of the road for Alaskan Bush People.
Do you think Alaskan Bush People has lost its audience forever, or can the ratings problem be turned around? Share your thoughts below!
[Image via the Discovery Channel]