This is a clip from Episode 2 of Bomani Jones' new HBO show Game Theory. It would appear they're going for a sports version of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight, judging by the smattering of audience laughter after such zingers as, "Look, just because there was some crypto in the Super Bowl doesn't mean you can call it 'The Crypto Bowl.' Just like we can't call the upcoming World Cup 'The Slave Cup.'" And by the fact they put the premiere episode on right after LWT, hoping to capture the same audience as Oliver, which is the highest rated show on the network.
Yeah, about that. If you didn't catch either episode so far, you're in good company.
Source - Bomani Jones debuted last week to just 153,000 viewers, losing a stunning 80% of [Last Week Tonight's] viewership. ...
How many viewers watched episode 2? We don’t exactly know because the number was so low that it failed to chart.
See, only the top 150 daily cable programs make the chart, as advertisers view programs outside the margin as completely irrelevant, a scratch. In other words, the cable industry doesn’t consider Bomani Jones’ new show worth mentioning. His ratings are that bad.
On Sunday, a day most cable channels don’t air original programming, Jones in primetime lost to a 2 am airing of “PAID PROGRAMMING.” It’s unclear what “JUGADA, LA LF SUN” is, yet its 0.02 rating and 66,000 viewers still charted, while Jones didn’t.
It turns out, even a 1:01 pm re-air of cornhole on ESPN2 is more popular than Jones’ new program. The random cornhole showing managed a 0.02 and 55,000 viewers.
To expand upon that list, among the shows in the 140s was The Weather Channel's Weekend Recharge and an MLB Network Spring Training Game between the Braves and the Mets. A show that's been invested in as heavily as Game Theory should draw more numbers than that accidentally. Just from people who were lulled to sleep on the couch by John Oliver's soothing British accent or who left the screen on while checking their phone on the toilet. Which means the public is intentionally, definitively, aggressively, specifically turning Jones off.
I mean, to further put those numbers into perspective, back in 2016 - so six fewer years into the decline of basic and premium cable at the hands of the streaming services - HBO poleaxed Bill Simmons' show after one season due to a paltry viewership hovering around 200,000 per episode. Jones is drawing a quarter of that. At best.
Who knows, maybe Game Theory will find its audience. Shows like Cheers and The Office were in danger of getting canceled in their first seasons, and look what happened to them. But it better happen immediately. When the public prefers a paid advertisement about a vitamin supplement or rotisserie oven or whatever on CNBC to an ESPN veteran talking about cryptocurrency with Joe Montana and Cris Carter, you're already on borrowed time.
Let's just hope the few Jones' fans who were watching have come around on PFT after all these years.