NBC's 'Phenomenon' Isn't, Sees Ratings Slide

New programming head Ben Silverman's first offering on NBC hasn't delivered mind-bending ratings--but it hasn't exactly been the biggest loser either. Still, with a finale to go next week, the limited five-episode "Phenomenon" has seen ratings drop each week and failed to crack the top-60.

The search for "the next great mentalist" in the vein of Uri Geller and Criss Angel--broadcast live Wednesdays in the 8 p.m. hour--opened with a 3.0 in "live plus same day" 18-to-49 program ratings on Oct. 24. The next week, for a two-hour episode it lost 23% of its audience, falling to a 2.3.

Since then, it has declined more gradually to a 2.2 and then a 2.0 this week--perhaps disheartening at NBC--since it finished fifth in its time period, albeit a competitive one.

Silverman has a run of other reality shows teed up that could outperform "Phenomenon," including "Clash of the Choirs" next month. After that will be a celebrity version of "The Apprentice" with participants including Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth--a controversial contestant in the show's smash first season--along with boxer Lennox Lewis and softball star Jenni Finch. There's also a new rendition of "American Gladiators" coming.



"Phenomenon's" four-episode average is a 2.4. Before this week's show, it was tied for 62nd among all series in the 18-to-49 demo, with other ho-hum performers such as Fox comedies "Back to You" and "'Til Death," and CBS's "Cane" and "Kid Nation." This week's performance likely will knock it further down.

Both Geller and Angel appear on the show. Viewers vote for the ultimate winner who will receive $250,000.

"Phenomenon" could be considered classic Silverman in that it's based on a similar series that performed well in Israel. Before he took over programming at NBC, Silverman successfully took concepts from hit series in other countries and developed U.S. versions, including NBC's "The Office" and ABC's "Ugly Betty." Other series he developed include NBC's "The Biggest Loser" and a drama for Showtime.

Silverman has been the subject of news coverage recently for comments in an Esquire article critical of the programming heads at competitors Fox and ABC.

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