Another season of Teen Mom OG is coming to an end, and once again, recent episodes have confirmed that the show’s ratings are on a consistent downward trajectory.
In most cases, network execs love reality shows because of how cheap they are to produce.
But when a show has gone on for as long as TMOG, the situation becomes more complicated.
The OGs of the franchise have been on the payroll for over a decade now, and each new season comes with new contracts, which usually means a sizable raise.
For at least the past three seasons, this has been a losing bargain for the show’s network and production company, as both are shelling out more money for a show that becomes less popular by the week.
As The Ashley’s Reality Roundup reported this week, Teen Mom OG has been renewed by MTV for another season — but fans should prepare for the possibility that the episodes contained in Season 9B (more on that strange nomenclature later) might be the show’s last.
The decline in popularity has been precipitous, and at this point, it’s safe to assume the show survives only because of the dearth of available content brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Before we get into the current numbers, here’s a bit of history to provide some perspective:
When it premiered back in December of 2009 Teen Mom OG (known simply as Teen Mom in those days) became an overnight sensation.
Bolstered by the popularity of its predecsessor, 16 and Pregnant, as well as hand-wringing from experts about the effect the show might have on America’s teen pregnancy rate, the premiere of Teen Mom pulled in 2.1 million viewers.
Strong word of mouth and unexpectedly high drama helped the series build on that popularity.
By the end of its first season, the show was attracting an audience of 3.6 million.
The season finale of Teen Mom Season 2 drew in an astonishing 5.6 million viewers.
But to the chagrin of MTV, those days are long gone, and the audience for Season 9A was less than one-tenth that size.
Things started out somewhat promisingly, with viewership numbers approaching 600,000.
But the audience dwindled rapidly in the weeks that followed the season premiere and the March 23 episode brought in only 532,000 viewers.
The following week, that number had shrunk to 527,000 and the April 6 episode became the least-watched in series history with just 501,000 viewers.
Numbers for Tuesday’s reunion special aren’t in yet, but it’s safe bet that they’re even lower.
So a show that once attracted audience in the millions now struggles to hit the half-million mark.
So why hasn’t MTV given TMOG the boot?
Well, part of the answer lies in that 9A/9B designation.
Producers have worked out an ingenious loophole that allows them to hold off on giving the moms raises by splitting seasons into two filming sessions.
While Season 10 would come with a pay increase for the cast, Season 9B carries no such stipulation and will be shot with a prduction budget about the size of its predecessor.
So instead of being upset that they’re not getting a raise for next season, Amber Portwood, Cheyenne Floyd, Maci Bookout, Catelynn Lowell and Mackenzie McKee should probably be grateful that there’s going to be another season.
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