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Summer TV Review

The heat is on, but the ratings are cool for scripted shows

From Campaign US:

In three weeks, the 2016 Rio Olympics will ignite what has been a particularly lackluster summer season on broadcast and cable. Despite the arrival of a variety of new scripted series, this summer, so far, has been dominated by the usual suspects: “America’s Got Talent” and “American Ninja Warrior” on NBC, “Big Brother” on CBS, and “The Bachelor” on ABC.

Unlike recent years when cable stepped up to the plate with some meaty dramas in the summer, the ratings — and the buzz — have been particularly modest this summer for the new crop of scripted shows. Only “Greenleaf” on the Oprah Winfrey Network deserves bragging rights. The show lifted the five-year-old network to its biggest series launch to date, with 3.04 million viewers and a 2.18 rating in target women 25-54 on June 21, according to Nielsen.

Particularly disappointing is the new TNT drama “Animal Kingdom,” which the cable network was hoping would help put it in the same creative league as FX with “Fargo.” Based on the 2010 Australian film of the same name, “Animal Kingdom” follows a 17-year-old boy, who, after the death of his mother, moves in with a criminal family governed by Ellen Barkin as matriarch Janine “Smurf” Cody. Only 1.2 million viewers tuned in for the premiere on June 12 (based on the Live + Same Day data), which falls well below the typical 4 million viewers who are currently tuning in for “Major Crimes” and the final season of “Rizzoli & Isles.” The show tries hard to seem cool, but is saddled with caricature-like characters.

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Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of the “Mr. Television” for Campaign US ( Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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