The Muppets Just Hit A Brand New Low In The Ratings

As a felt-covered slice of pop culture, The Muppets will never die. But as a primetime ABC comedy, The Muppets may not be so immortal. Although audiences can expect to see another chunk of episodes following a midseason hiatus, there’s no guarantee just how big that audience will be, as Tuesday night’s Muppets installment hit a series low in ratings. Sheesh.

The “series low” distinction comes in two forms. For one, the show was watched by a total of 3.78 million viewers, which is lower than any of the preceding eight episodes in Season 1. Last week’s episode was the second-lowest, with 3.89 million tuning in, and there has basically only been one episode so far that didn’t see a decline in viewers since the show debuted in September. That’s highly discouraging at best, and cancelation-worthy at worst.

And beyond total viewers, The Muppets was also down in the key 18-49 demographic, for which it received a dismal 1.1 rating, according to TV By the Numbers. This show is basically geared toward people of exactly that age group, so it’s kind of mind=boggling that it’s underperforming in that respect.

Those dwindling numbers are depressing even from a storyline perspective. Tuesday’s episode, “Going, Going, Gonzo,” was a pretty great Gonzo-centric episode that was a great reminder of how comically tragic that character can be. Plus, it featured a superb cameo from Dave Grohl in a drum-off against Animal, and it also delivered a fantastic musical moment between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Miss Piggy, seen below.

How is an episode featuring the always energetic Foo Fighters frontman and the crowdpleasing Gordon-Levitt going to be watched by fewer 18-49-year-olds than episodes with Kristin Chenoweth and Ed Helms?

It’s unclear exactly what the reasoning is behind audiences dropping out on a weekly basis, whether it involves the more adult tone or the concept of running a late night talk show. In any case, it might not be the same Muppets when we see it again next year. Co-creator and showrunner Bob Kushell will be leaving the show due to behind-the-scenes problems involving the development process, and How I Met Your Mother writer and executive producer Kristin Newman will be taking over showrunning duties as the show attempts a creative relaunch. Some of us can’t wait to see what happens.

The Muppets will return to ABC on Tuesday, February 2, 2016. Will you guys be there to watch it?

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.