Saturday, April 13, 2024

Kirstie Alley Puts A&E Ratings on Diet


Kirstie Alley’s ratings are putting her network, A&E, on an audience diet.

The ratings for her “Big Life” show on A&E were down this past Sunday from the previous week when the show debuted. Even adding “best friends” John Travolta and Kelly Preston to the mix didn’t help.

Alley had a big lead in, too, from Gene Simmons‘ “Family Jewels” show. A&E aired six half hour installments of that show on Sunday night, from 7 to 10pm. “Family Jewels” audience kept increasing, too, finally scoring 1.9 million viewers. But when “Big Life” came on, the number of viewers slimmed down fast. Alley had a 1.3 average for her two episodes, down from 1.4 the previous week. (Ratings are courtesy of website

This past Sunday, cable TV was competitive, too. A Lifetime movie called “Amish Grace,” scored a 4.o between 8 and 10pm. That means that people watching cable–nay, dare I say women?–watched “Amish Grace” but had little interest in “Big Life.”

Alley’s show didn’t dent the top 25 cable shows for the week.

A&E just sent out a press release trumpeting that their first quarter were their best ever, and that they’re 5th among non news cable networks. Ok, if they say so. Their current programming is much different than their beloved “Biography” series. (Where’s Bill Kurtis when you need him?)

In its debut a week ago Sunday, “Big Life” also didn’t hold onto its lead from “Family Jewels,” which preceded it at 9pm.  The KISS leader’s personal saga had 300,000 more viewers during its hour before Kirstie.

After all the hullabaloo about Alley’s roller coaster weight, and the controversy about her diet program and Scientology, the publicity didn’t do much.

Consider that on its first Sunday night, the hit cable shows were “Life” on Discovery–6 million viewers; “Sunny with a Chance” on Disney with 5 million; “The Pacific” on HBO with 2.7 million; “Breaking Bad” on AMC–almost 2 million viewers; and then Simmons with 1.74 million. And A&E, unlike HBO, is on basic cable. There’s no subscription fee.

Plus–logging even beat Kirstie’s weight dilemma. “Ax Men” on the History channel had almost a million more pairs of eyes than “Big Life.” I resisted the headline: “Kirstie Alley Beaten By Loggers.”

And PS: what constitutes a hit on basic cable? Well, “Mad Men,” the best show on TV, airing on also free cable AMC, never did lower than a 1.7 last season. Its high was a 2.8. And the third season finale was 2.3. Just FYI.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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