Halfway Through “The Pyramid,” Will We See a Season Two? – An Analysis
I, along with so many other game show fans, have been enjoying GSN’s The Pyramid since its debut last month. Sure, there are a couple of nitpicks here and there that I would enjoy seeing fixed. But that can easily be done by taking viewer input when a season two comes around. Well, if a season two comes around. While The Pyramid is clearly meant for the truest of true fans in this genre, they’re not exactly turning out in droves, especially compared to the smash success of The American Bible Challenge. Will The Pyramid come back for a season two? Let’s take a very detailed look at the numbers and some circumstantial evidence to decide.
The best way to start off is to look at the viewership for The Pyramid. Premiering on September 3rd, the program airs at 6PM ET weeknights. Courtesy of our friend Son of the Bronx, we have the viewership for the first half of the season, amounting to 20 episodes over four weeks. The averages, including only the premieres of new episodes, that include the week’s average, the week’s highest and lowest viewership, and their rank on GSN’s schedule for that week are:
|The Pyramid Ratings||Viewers avg. over week||High for week Rank for week||Low for week Rank for week|
|Week One||519,000||646,000 2nd||421,000 42nd|
|Week Two||329.000||361,000 40th||248,000 111th|
|Week Three||344,000||381,000 47th||292,000 102nd|
|Week Four||341,000||375,000 35th||291,000 90th|
The show started off strong, likely due to peaked viewer interest and curiosity, but settled into a pretty steady viewership in the 6PM hour, hovering just below 350,000 viewers. Now that GSN has a lot of success with an original like Bible plus acquisitions such as Steve Harvey’s Family Feud, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and Minute to Win It, those numbers look very middling. A late 2010 show like 1 vs. 100 that followed Baggage and Newlywed Game on the schedule, shows that almost always performed between 400,000 and 550,000 viewers at 6 to 7 PM, drew less than 400,000 viewers at 7 PM and was not brought back for a season two. If we use the logic from late 2010-early 2011, The Pyramid would almost certainly be a goner. However, let’s look at a more recent example.
The Newlywed Game, a GSN favorite since 2009, will be premiering what seems like its 46th season at the end of the month. Let’s take a look at its performance last season, which it would obviously be judged to see if another season is warranted. It premiered new episodes in the middle of this March on Mondays and Tuesdays from 6PM to 7PM. This means two of the episodes share The Pyramid‘s current spot, along with two coming right afterward. Using the first four weeks of The Newlywed Game‘s last season to compare against available data from The Pyramid, we find these numbers:
|Newlywed Game Ratings||Viewers avg. over week||High for week||Low for week|
Clearly, Newlywed didn’t perform so hot. Repeats in primetime and later night were performing better than the new episodes (which likely explains its initial premiere slot in primetime) but, yet, the series got brought back for 65 soon-to-premiere episodes. I’m sure that Newlywed Game is cheaper to produce than The Pyramid, the most expensive cost probably being Sherri Shepherd’s price tag, but there are the numbers. Using these as comparison points, if we’re going to compare just the viewership for the 6PM new episodes against Sherri’s numbers, I would say there was a good chance of renewal. However, there is still one more variable to consider.
Beat the Chefs, another in GSN’s new series summer trifecta, did not do as well as the network had hoped following new episodes of Bible. Most weeks, the ratings for the show were equal to or lower than the averages for 6PM Pyramids. After they yanked it from the schedule, they decided to give the other show in the stable a try and filled the slot with a new episode of The Pyramid, followed by a repeat. This is the viewership for all Thursday primetime premieres of Mike Richards’ word game:
|Pyramid Primetime Ratings||Viewers avg. during slot||Rank for week||Timeframe|
|Aug. 30, 10PM||443,000||22nd||Sneak preview|
|Sept. 20, 9 PM||545,000||10th||During week three|
|Sept. 27, 9 PM||446,000||13th||During week four|
|Oct. 4, 9 PM||505,000||During week five|
Since The Pyramid is making six-figure gains over the previous ratings of Chefs, GSN has made a good decision. Even comparing the primetime numbers against same-week 6PM numbers, I think it’s safe to say The Pyramid is a success in primetime. It makes me wonder why the network for games hasn’t considered experimenting with a full week in primetime. There are only three weeks left to go in the series. Why not tinker around and see if repeating the new episodes later that night at 9PM brings you similar or even higher ratings? This deep into the season, I don’t think it would hurt very much to play around and see if “new” things will work with The Pyramid.
All of the numbers and analysis is fun, but it all leads off to the simple questions with which we started: Will The Pyramid come back for a season two? If we simply look at the 6PM numbers, I think the answer is still “so-so,” with a slight lean towards “yes.” The Newlywed Game did not do so well in total viewers, but is being used to fill the now-coveted 8PM Thursday Bible Challenge spot for its new season. Additionally, if the primetime numbers are to be figured in as well, or if GSN experiments more with primetime and it goes well, my answer becomes a “likely.” Each of those primetime episodes fared well compared to the entire rest of the schedule and continue to bring in very respectable numbers. Barring any sudden viewership drop off or schedule burial, I think the chances of a return for this show take a slight precedence over the chances that this is the only season. GSN has shown it a lot of love compared to other originals that have been around. Either way, if you want it to come back, keep supporting it, get others to support it and let GSN know.
I hope you enjoyed this thorough look into the fate of, in my opinion, one of the best game show revivals of this century. What do you think? Do you want to see it come back and do you think it will? Sound off below! And again, a big thanks to Son of the Bronx for providing the ratings for this post.