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Despite only hitting the schedule in 2011, NBC’s The Voice has already aired a whopping eight seasons on the network. On Tuesday night, the NBC reality competition series went head to head with ABC’s Dancing with the Stars in the ratings. While The Voice ultimately nabbed more eyeballs, the series also hit an all-time low.
Last night’s Season 8 finale of The Voice was a pretty big episode for the singing competition series. Part 2 of the live finale saw fan favorite Sawyer Frederick’s ultimately take home the winning title, with Meghan Linsey getting second, Joshua Davis nabbing third place and Koryn Hawthorne taking fourth. It was a fairly exciting episode that even included Christina Aguilera pretending to be a comedian and doing a Britney Spears impression. Despite this, only 9 million total viewers tuned in, landing the series a 2.8 rating. While many shows would kill for numbers like that on network television, that’s less impressive for The Voice. Deadline reports the show was down 15% in the 18-49 demographic.
The numbers are not exactly fatal, by any means, but they are a part of a larger trend of reality television no longer being dominant programs on the networks. Idol’s ratings were down again this year, and Fox announced that next season of that competition show will be its last. Other aging reality shows, including Amazing Race, Survivor and The Bachelorette have seen timeslot changes and gimmicky premises become prevalent in a bid to stay relevant. A lot of the long-dominant reality programs are still on the air over at Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC, but a lot of them, including Dancing with the Stars, which wrapped up its 20th season last night, are getting quite old.
Obviously, The Voice is still doing pretty well. It recently made the list of top-rated series for the 2014-2015 TV season. NBC, in fact, has already ordered the ninth season of the series, which is expected to return to the schedule next fall. So, it’s not as if The Voice has failure stamped on its forehead.
Instead, it’s just slowly faltering in the ratings, a reminder of a time when, not so long ago, reality TV was a fresh new concept and competition shows were booming all over the place. Those days are over, but The Voice, at least, seems to have a few good seasons left. That's why it's important for NBC to take notice of what's happening and attempt to right the ship. A little slippage every season is fine, but a steady slide could greatly shorten the number of seasons Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and company have left.