Nobody Wants to Marry Harry

Fox's faux prince is a ratings pauper

It's not like you could have made a second season of gag reality show I Wanna Marry Harry, anyway, but Fox execs who might have been considering the option aren't going to get the chance with these ratings.

The show dipped a painful 48 percent in its second frame (partly due to the loss of lead-in American Idol, which also isn't exactly setting the world on fire, and also probably because the show has been a hate magnet) after a none-too-spectacular first outing last week. The show is about a guy who pretends to be Prince Harry in order to trick some not-terribly-bright girls into dating him. It logged a .4 rating in the key demo.

America's Got Talent was slightly down from last year's season premiere—just a tenth of a point—making it just barely that show's weakest premiere. It still logged a 3 rating and performed well in the slot, though competition was thin.

Overall, flagging ratings for unscripted programming seem to bode ill for future endeavors in the space on broadcast—especially shows that look a lot like stuff that's already on the airwaves (we're looking at you, Rising Star). The other thing that may eventually devour reality shows is simply that there's an incredible glut of high-end scripted programming available at the moment. Anybody with a good script and a dream has been snapped up by a network, a digital service or a cable channel and viewers are on board: last year's Under the Dome on CBS was a huge hit and the network has bet just as big on event miniseries Extant.

With HBO laying claim to Sunday evenings (The Leftovers arrives on the network shortly after Game of Thrones ends), Netflix, Amazon pushing its new peripheral, and sundry other services clamoring for attention, there's less real estate in the GRP world, and broadcasters are waking up to the fact that they need to invest in order to compete. The other side of that coin may be that they have to abandon some of their old strategies in order to make room for new thinking.