For Ryan Lochte, reality TV debut goes less than swimmingly
Published: April 24, 2013 01:17PM
Updated: April 24, 2013 12:11PM
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Ryan Lochte gives a thumbs up after swimming in the men's 200-meter freestyle preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Tuesday, June 26, 2012, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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.