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TV Column
Posted at 02:43 PM ET, 06/19/2012

‘The Glass House’ start fails to grip viewers


On the series premiere of "The Glass House," 14 players begin their quest for a quarter of a million dollar prize. (Nicole Wilder - ABC)
$16 million in marketing, and who knows how much in lawyer billable hours later, ABC snagged about 4 million viewers for the launch of its new reality series “The Glass House” on Monday night.

In its 10 p.m. timeslot, “The Glass House” attracted about 1 million fewer viewers than CBS and NBC, both of which had been suckered into thinking, based on the noise the show was making with the press, the  “The Glass House” unveiling would be a sort of Tyrannosaurus Rex of reality series launches.

CBS dumped its usual “Hawaii Five-O” repeat in favor of airing “Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men” reruns; NBC, meanwhile, tossed overboard its usual “Grimm” repeat and puffed up its “American Ninja Warrior” so that it would run over two hours, from 9-11 p.m.

 Anyway, to put the 4 million in perspective, one week earlier, ABC’s “Castle” rerun had attracted 5 million viewers in the same hour.

 In its first broadcast, “The Glass House”  fumbled about 3 million of its “The Bachelorette” leadin audience.

More troubling for ABC, about 800,000 viewers who’d watched the first half hour of “The Glass House” said “no thanks” to the second half hour.

 But, of course, ABC’s in the business of selling 18-49 year olds to advertisers, and, in that age bracket, “The Glass House” scored 1.5 percent of the population – while that “Castle” rerun had averaged 1.0 percent last week.

 That 1.5 percent of the country’s 18-49 year put “The Glass House” on par with those CBS sitcom repeats, but behind “American Ninja Warrior,” which bagged 2.0 percent of the country’s audience in the age bracket.

 “The Glass House” premiered Monday despite CBS’s best efforts to get a judge to squash it, claiming the show is a knockoff of its “Big Brother.”  “Hooey” responded ABC – or words to that effect -- in the course of which ABC revealed it had spent a whopping $16 mil in marketing on “The Glass House” premiere.

 Anyway, much back and forth-ing by lawyers representing each network later, the judge decided not to issue a temporary restraining order, though CBS says it will persist and prevail and even gave Entertainment Weekly a list of 12 ways in which “The Glass House” is exactly the same as “Big Brother,” including:

 - Reality unscripted TV competition program set entirely in a house on a soundstage

- Contestants cut off from the outside world

- 50 cameras (plus microphones) monitor contestants around the clock to create a voyeuristic feel

- Streams live to the internet

- 12-14 contestants

- Viewer input online and via text messages

- Narrative is an unpredictable, evolving story of competition and elimination

- Grumpy

- Sleepy

- Bashful

and

- Dopey

 

By  |  02:43 PM ET, 06/19/2012

 
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