As a television event, the Victoria's Secret fashion show appears headed for the remainder bin.
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The show has been buffeted by bad publicity, bad reviews and now bad numbers. Shown Sunday on ABC after several years on CBS, its audience of 3.27 million viewers was the smallest since becoming a holiday-season TV event in 2001, the Nielsen company said. The show has lost more than half its television audience in two years.
The runway-style show of models in underwear has seemed ill-suited to the #MeToo era and was hurt when the company's head of marketing said in an interview that it would not include transgender or plus-sized models because Victoria's Secret was selling a fantasy. The company later apologized.
After one year on ABC in 2001, the show migrated to CBS. Its viewership ranged from a high of 10.3 million in 2011 to 7.36 million in 2016, Nielsen said. Last year, however, the viewership tumbled to 5.37 million, leading to its departure to ABC.
A review of Sunday's show in The Washington Post was headlined, "The Victoria's Secret fashion show is too boring to even argue about."
"The whole hour-long shindig was a bore," wrote fashion critic Robin Givhan. "A snooze. A shrug. Oh, my Lord, it was dull."
Givhan wrote that the TV special "was such a nonevent of excruciating cliches and non-sexiness that it's not worth a cultural revolution. It's a teardown. Or we could all just get out of the way and let it rot until it falls down on its own."
There's no immediate word from ABC about whether it will return. Even with its sinking ratings, the show got about twice as many viewers as Alec Baldwin's Sunday-night talk show, which aired in the same time slot until it was recently moved to Saturday nights.
The television ratings were otherwise dominated by football in a week many networks turned to reruns. Of Nielsen's 20 most-watched programs last week, there were only four scripted programs — led by NBC's "This is Us."
With a strong Thursday-night NFL game, Fox led all networks with an average of 8.3 million viewers in prime time. NBC had 6.9 million, CBS had 6.2 million, ABC had 4.1 million, Univision had 1.5 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.2 million and the CW had 1.1 million.
Hallmark soared to the top of the cable news ratings with its nonstop holiday fare, averaging 2.108 million viewers in prime time. ESPN was a fraction short at 2.107 million, Fox News Channel had 2.01 million, MSNBC had 1.88 million and USA had 1.21 million.
ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.1 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" was second with 9 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.4 million.
For the week of Nov. 26-Dec. 2, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: New Orleans at Dallas, Fox, 21.39 million; NFL Football: L.A. Chargers at Pittsburgh, NBC, 17.83 million; "NFL Pregame Show," Fox, 12.2 million; "NFL Pregame Show," NBC, 11.91 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.41 million; "The OT," Fox, 10.1 million; "SEC Championship Postgame Show," CBS, 9.93 million; NFL Football: Tennessee at Houston, ESPN, 9.86 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 9.57 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 9.38 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.