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Scott D. Pierce: Ratings update — DVRs and streaming make ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ look a lot more like a hit

The audience for the series premiere quadrupled from the overnight ratings.

(Bravo) Jen Shah, Heather Gay, Lisa Barlow, Mary Cosby, Meredith Marks and Whitney Rose pictured at Valter's Osteria in episode 5 of the first season of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”

Turns out that a lot of people are setting their DVRs to record “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” and those delayed viewers are making the first-season show look a whole lot more successful.

When you add in the streaming numbers, we’re not talking about minor, moderate or even big increases. Some of the gains from delayed viewing and streaming are nothing short of huge — the number of viewers for the show’s Nov. 11 premiere quadrupled.

Fans worried that the show’s late time slot might hurt its chances of returning for a second season should heave a big sigh of relief.

The overnight ratings for the show’s premiere showed that 785,000 viewers tuned in to watch Heather Gay, Jen Shah, Lisa Barlow, Mary Cosby, Meredith Marks and Whitney Rose get things going. When you add in the delayed viewing (from DVRs) and streaming, that rose to 3.2 million.

In addition, according to Bravo (and based on information from Nielsen), the premiere drew 1.8 million viewers ages 18-49 and 2 million ages 25-54 — the demographics that are most important to advertisers and, thus, most lucrative for programmers.

And that made “RHOSLC” the biggest series premiere on Bravo in almost five years, since “The Real Housewives of the Potomac” debuted in January 2016.

Again, overnight ratings are far less important than they once were. And, while they may give us some clue about how a show is doing, they’re only part of the story. The updated numbers include both viewing by people who DVR’d “RHOSLC” and watched it later, and those who streamed the show on everything from Bravo’s website to Sling TV to Fubo TV to Hulu with Live TV.

When you compare the number of people who are watching “RHOSLC” the day it airs to the number who watch episodes within a week of their premiere, the audience more than doubles. Total viewers (ages 2 and up) rises 102%; viewers 18-49 rises 127%; viewers 25-54 increase 128%.

TV programmers also pay close attention to how a show is doing against its competition, and “RHOSLC” has been drawing the biggest 18-49 audience of any cable series airing its time slot this year.

Programmers also watch how a show is trending — are the numbers going up, going down or holding steady? According to Bravo, the Dec. 16 episode of “RHOSLC” hit a series high for TV viewing among viewers 18-49.

Bravo is trumpeting other good numbers news about the show, including:

• The premiere of “RHOSLC” was Bravo’s best performing series premiere of all time on VOD (video on demand).

• The first episode is in the top five for viewers 18-49 among unscripted series premieres in 2020.

• More people set their DVRs for “RHOSLC” than any other cable series that premiered this year.

• The premiere got the biggest lift in live+3 viewership (within three days of the premiere) among people 18-49 of any new show on cable in 2020.

Some of those tidbits are a bit specific and not all all that important. There are ways to spin numbers so that even a failing show sounds good.

But “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” definitely does not look like a failing show. Ratings are relative, and “RHOSLC’s” ratings look relatively good when you add in delayed viewing and streaming.

As it turns out, executive producer Andy Cohen wasn’t exaggerating so much when he tweeted, “Don’t be worried. It’s a hit. We are ecstatic.”

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