Idiot Box: “The Beautiful Life: Rip”

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Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
ÒThe Beautiful Life: RIPÓ
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Now is right about the time we might start discussing our fall TV season deadpool. Based on what we’ve seen so far, which of the new shows will be the first to get the cancellation ax? Unfortunately, The CW beat us to our little game by hacking “The Beautiful Life: TBL” from its Thursday night schedule after only two airings. Only NBC’s 2006 Internet drama “quarterlife” and ABC’s 2006 sitcom “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” fared worse, lasting only a single prime time airing.

Pity poor Ashton Kutcher, whose brilliant producing brain (“The Real Wedding Crashers,” “Punk’d,” “Game Show in My Head,” “Beauty and the Geek,” “True Beauty” and now “The Beautiful Life: TBL”) has finally been thwarted. I know, it’s hard to believe a show so genius as to instruct teens how to refer to it on Twitter right there in the title got canceled. But you can’t argue with ratings. The series debuted to just 1.46 million viewers and a 0.7 Nielsen rating in the prized 18 to 49 demographic. That put the premiere in last place for the hour and represented almost a 50 percent drop from the lead-in of “America’s Next Top Model.” Needless to say, things did not improve the second week. The show plunged even further the next Thursday, pulling a mere 1.09 million viewers and a pathetic 0.5 rating.

Apparently, The CW’s hip, young demographic wasn’t interested in another hip, young nighttime soap—this one about teenage models in Manhattan. Among the stars of the just-dumped series were Mischa Barton (who needn’t have bothered to get out of her recent 72-hour psychiatric hold), model-turned-actress-turned-unemployed Elle Macpherson and poodle-haired Corbin Bleu (of
High School Musical fame, whose about-to-be-released feature Free Style was undoubtedly counting on its star having a prime time TV show).

For now, The CW will fill the timeslot with reruns of its “Melrose Place” reboot. Despite mediocre ratings (a meager 1.4 million over on Tuesday nights) and the titanic acting skills of Ashlee Simpson, “Melrose” has already been picked up for more episodes. We’ll just have to wait and see if Thursday is any kinder to that particular hip, young nighttime soap.

So what’s the next show to follow CW’s “The Beautiful Life” lead? Hmmm.

NBC’s super-hyped “The Jay Leno” show has shed more than two-thirds of its audience in only two weeks. It debuted with 18.4 million viewers and is now hovering near 5.7 million on a nightly basis. But as NBC keeps pointing out, it’s cheap to produce. NBC’s revamped (for, like, the fifth time) series “Heroes” saw its season premiere drop 46 percent from last season’s, putting it a distant third in the Monday, 7 p.m., timeslot. Though it started out its run with a solid 14.3 million viewers, the show now hovers below 6 million. Over on Thursday nights, the second season of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” just can’t seem to get any traction. It’s pulling just over 4 million viewers. (Although, to be honest, “Parks” is a
slight improvement over last season’s “My Name is Earl.”) Finally, it should come as no surprise to anyone, but Joss Whedon’s sci-fi series “Dollhouse” is still foundering on FOX’s Friday night lineup. It premiered with 2.6 million viewers—worse even than its D.O.A. lead-in, the new sports-themed sitcom “Brothers.”

So, anyone want to bet on the runner-up in this fall’s TV deadpool?
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