Why Is No One Watching NYC Prep?

Since NYC Prep premiered on Bravo on June 23, its young cast members have been making an effort to get

Since NYC Prep premiered on Bravo on June 23, its young cast members have been making an effort to get out in front of party photographers and join the reality TV-glutted crop of New York celebrities.

Jessie Leavitt, the 18-year-old graduate of Dwight, and Sebastian Oppenheim, the 16-year-old Ross School student, attended a party at Intermix last week where model Jessica Stam and actress Michelle Trachtenberg were also present. Kelly Tomashoff, 16 and a student at Birch Wathen Lenox, walked in Animal Fair magazine’s Paws for Style fashion show last week and was at DJ Cassidy‘s birthday party at the New York Public Library a few weeks before that. Meanwhile, PC Peterson was at the opening day of Bridgehamtpon Polo a few Saturdays ago. (When Mr. Peterson and Ms. Leavitt recently turned up at a party hosted by Kim Kardashian at Greenhouse, however, they were turned away for being underage.)  

But seeing these pretty young faces out—and the media coverage of the show in The Times‘ Styles, New York magazine, New York Post, and this newspaper—has not added up to good ratings. According to Nielson, the episode that aired on July 21, only had 751, 000 viewers.

To compare to other prime-time shows that same night—Hawthorne, the new TNT show with Jada Pinkett Smith, had 3.2 million viewers; a reality show called Tiny and Toya on BET had 1.8 million viewers; and the most watched show was The Deadliest Catch, a documentary series about fishing boats, which had 3.4 million viewers. Showings of House, Saving Grace and Family Guy doubled or tripled the ratings of NYC Prep. And Gossip Girl, perhaps the closest in the genre, had an average viewership of 2.59 million in its first season, which was considered low.   

All of which makes us wonder why no one is watching a show about rich teens texting, spending and hooking up—a typically ratings-rich premise. 

Back when Rachel Zoe‘s reality show premiered on Bravo, Ginia Bellafante wrote in The Times that it was a genre “that feels downright unseemly as investment banks are dissolving, and unemployment stands at more than 6 percent,” adding that the “timing couldn’t be nuttier.” Perhaps the same is true here. Why Is No One Watching NYC Prep?