No ratings bonanza for Caitlyn Jenner's reality TV show

Tue Jul 28, 2015 12:21pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Caitlyn Jenner's new reality TV show drew 2.7 million viewers for its weekend premiere, according to ratings data released on Tuesday, a vast drop from the 17 million people who watched the former Olympic champion come out as a transgender woman in an April TV interview.

Jenner's show "I am Cait," broadcast on cable network E! on Sunday, chronicles the former Bruce Jenner's adjustment to life as a woman and transgender spokesperson, along with reactions from Jenner's family, including members of reality TV's Kardashian clan.

The first episode was no ratings bonanza. According to Nielsen data, almost three times as many Americans watched "Celebrity Family Feud" on ABC that night.

The audience for "I am Cait" also suffered a marked drop from the almost 8 million people who watched the ESPY awards show on television two weeks ago on which Jenner, 65, was presented the Arthur Ashe courage award.

Jenner, who won the gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in the decathlon, is the highest profile American to come out as transgender. Jenner is the stepfather of reality TV star Kim Kardashian, and appeared for years on "Keeping up with the Kardashians," which typically draws slightly below 3 million viewers a week.

According to Nielsen Talent Analytics, which surveys about 1,000 Americans on a weekly basis, Jenner's transition has not been universally welcomed, especially among older Americans.

Jenner's "offensiveness" rating has gone from 16 percent to 26 percent since the initial coming-out interview in April, although those under 34 years old were more likely to consider Jenner successful (38 percent to 42 percent) and a role model (13 percent to 19 percent) now than a year ago, Nielsen said.

E! is a unit of Comcast Corp

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Will Dunham)

Caitlyn Jenner, recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is seen on a TV set in the press room during the 2015 ESPY's award show at Nokia Theater. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports