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For Ryan Lochte, reality TV debut goes less than swimmingly

Published April 24, 2013 1:17 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Despite his beauty, his 11 Olympic medals, his dumb-as-hair-edness, his impressive abs, Ryan Lochte seems not destined to become The Next Big Thing in reality TV.

A mere 807,000 viewers tuned in Sunday night to enjoy the debut of his highly hyped E! reality series, "What Would Ryan Lochte Do?" — a satisfyingly shirtless look at the swimmer who made headlines at last summer's London Olympics for his competition victories and unintentionally funny interviews:Jeah!

"Being Ryan Lochte is . . .fun," Lochte revealed in the first episode, disclosing that he came up with his trademark shout-out, "Jeah!" by adding a "J" sound to the word "Yeah!"

How could this show not be a hit?

And yet, as E! was unveiling its reality star Lochte, about twice as many people were instead watching a rerun — a rerun! — of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Atlanta."

E! had done its darnedest to launch Lochte's TV career. The network gave him the best of all possible lead-ins:

Ryan Seacrest.

Not just Ryan Seacrest. Ryan Seacrest interviewing . . .

The Kardashians.

Seacrest and the K's scored an impressive 1.5 million viewers.