The CollegeHumor Show (CHS) finishes up its first cycle on MTV (s VIA) this Sunday, and though we weren’t huge fans of the show at the beginning, it has grown on us. The question is, did it grow enough to keep it on air?
MTV won’t make a renewal decision until after the season finale, but Tony DiSanto, MTV’s executive VP of series development, was enthusiastic about the series when we spoke with him by phone today. “Absolutely our expectations were met,” said DiSanto. “We’re proud of The CollegeHumor Show.”
Of course, it’s his job to tout the network’s series while they’re on the air, so we take that exuberance with a grain of salt. But there is probably at least a nugget of truth under the corporate-speak. According to Nielsen, the show has averaged 763,000 viewers per episode during its first five weeks. For the month prior to CHS‘ launch on February 8, the same time slot (Sunday nights at 9:30 p.m.) averaged 458,000 veiwers.
Still, “It’s not a ratings monster hit,” said DiSanto. In fact, the shows that bookend CHS (Rob Drydek’s Fantasy Factory before and Nitro Circus after) each get much higher ratings, so there’s a dip in the audience.
We asked TV by the Numbers ratings guru Robert Seidman for some insight. Based on the drop in audience, he wasn’t too hopeful. “That seems like a gots-ta-go situation,” Seidman wrote. “If MTV is offered the show practically for free (and it can’t cost much to begin with), they might try to find a home for it but I don’t think it will be in that time slot.”
DiSanto was more optimistic but actually offered a similar opinion. “Take into account, it’s all about efficiency and how cost-effective a show is,” said DiSanto, “Because of its new production model, it’s not a huge gamble for us.” While the show hasn’t been officially renewed, DiSanto said “it’s hard to say if it will be in that same time slot. It definitely would stay in the Sunday night block. It all depends on what gets greenlit.”
CHS was just the beginning of a recent push from MTV to scour the Internet to find web series that can be brought to television. The network recently ordered pilots based on 60Frames’ Private High Musical and Dan Levy’s Long Distance Relationship, noting that acquiring these web shows streamlines the development process.
Perhaps CollegeHumor’s lo-fi approach to comedy will keep it on a high-profile TV network.