“The Real O’Neals” draws fewer viewers on Tuesday nights during prime time than any other show on ABC. Each week, it loses close to a million viewers from the shows that precede it, only to see them return to ABC after the “O’Neals” goes off the air.
It was recently reported that ABC has ordered only three additional episodes, a sure sign it is floundering. If the show weren’t in trouble, it would air 22 times; as it stands now, there are only 16 scheduled.
As one media site said, its ratings last season were so anemic that it “could have been cancelled last May.” Another media outlet put it this way: “The Real O’Neals was renewed despite pretty thin ratings last season, as ABC took a chance on a marginally rated show it owned, presumably hoping it would build on its first season.”
So why wasn’t it cancelled last May? It wasn’t because ABC took a chance on it rebounding. No, the decision not to cancel was based on politics: ABC did not want to appear giving in to pressure from organizations such as the Catholic League. We not only pounded the “O’Neals” for its bigoted-themed script, we took out an op-ed page ad in the New York Times denouncing it.
The “O’Neals” is crashing not simply because of poorly written scripts, but because there is less tolerance for Catholic bashing in the general population than there is at Disney/ABC.
It’s just a matter of time until this Dan Savage-inspired show is finally cancelled.
We knew that being so public in our condemnation was risky: it was sure to be met with resistance by the corporate boys and girls at ABC. But it was still worth a shot. Besides, we are used to taking the long view, betting that if its rating did not spike in a new season, it was done.
Now that the end is near, we are salivating at the bit. Shamelessly.