The Muppets beat Scream Queens in the ratings: did you watch either show?

It’s the fall, bitches. The spiders are out and the new TV shows are premiering. This Tuesday we had premieres of The Muppets and Scream Queens along with Limitless. Preliminary numbers indicate that The Muppets had more viewers which isn’t surprising considering that it’s supposed to be family friendly. (More on that in a moment.) Scream Queens underperformed despite a ton of promotion, buzz and big names on the show. It was two hours long as well. Here are some of the numbers, thanks to Entertainment Weekly.

ABC’s modern-day revival of The Muppets delivered strong premiere numbers, while horror comedy Scream Queens was surprisingly soft.

The Muppets had 8.9 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18–49 at 8 p.m., and the two-hour Scream Queens opener had only 4 million viewers and a 1.7 rating (rising from a 1.6 in the preliminary report).

Another series premiere, CBS’ Limitless (9.8 million, 1.8), had a somewhat mixed start at 10 p.m. — high in viewers and built slightly from its lead-in, though still a lower demo rating than networks hope to see for a premiere.

The performance of Scream Queens is the biggest head-turn of the night. Producer Ryan Murphy’s latest was tracking strong in the industry’s pre-premiere polling (which correctly predicted successful openings for The Muppets and NBC’s Blindspot). Yesterday Fox released that the show was generating extremely strong interest on social media in the days ahead of its premiere, racking up more than 300,000 social media actions. Fox supported the show with a visually grabby ad campaign featuring stars Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Ariana Grande and Jamie Lee Curtis. And yet … a 1.7.

[From Entertainment Weekly]

I’m glad the ratings were low-ish for Scream Queens. I watched half of the premiere, which means I wasted an hour of my life on another inane Ryan Murphy show. I’ve seen Heathers over a dozen times because it played on a loop on HBO when I was in high school. This was no Heathers. The first episode was a bizarre mishmash of horror movie cliches, cardboard characters and gross-out scenes. There were clever, funny moments (a character texting her murderer) and it was visually interesting but that couldn’t make up for the nihilistic feel of the show. I didn’t care what happened to any of the characters and hoped they would all die in a fire.

Along with generally underwhelming Scream Queens is being criticized for its treatment of characters of color, particularly Niecy Nash’s lazy security guard and a white maid who is called “white mammy” and made to recite lines from Gone With The Wind. Slavery jokes are so edgy and modern.

The Muppets had a faux reality show format, centered around the production of Miss Piggy’s talk show. It felt like The Office and had little in common with the incredible 2011 film that brought the Muppets back. (This TV series was written and produced by entirely different people.) I should have anticipated this given the crazy adult-oriented promotion, but this was not a kids show! My 11 year-old is media savvy, I’m liberal about what he’s allowed to watch, and both of us felt uncomfortable at some of the sex references and double entendres. None of it went over his head, although maybe that’s not the case for younger kids, but it wasn’t entertaining for him either.

The conservative group One Million Moms have launched a petition against The Muppets, calling it perverted and claiming it brings up issues that parents should not have to explain to young kids. I hate to sort-of agree with this, and I don’t think “it’s perverted,” but I do think it should be made clearer to viewers that this is not a kids show. I remember when The Muppets was a variety show. There are adult sitcoms that are more appropriate for my kid. It’s misleading to parents.




photos via Slashfilm and Grantland

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97 Responses to “The Muppets beat Scream Queens in the ratings: did you watch either show?”

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  1. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Ugh. No.

  2. Dhavynia says:

    Leave the Muppets for the kids

    • Naya says:

      Have I got news for you; the muppets was never Sesame Street, it always had adult references, its just that the double entendres were smart enough to fly over some kids heads. Jim Henson didn’t even pitch it to the network as a kids show, it just turned into what it turned into but it still DID ruffle feathers for not always being kid friendly.

      Having said that, going by how blatant the adult themes are now it seems these producers accepted that they’re unlikely to build a large kid following in this day and age. Their target audience is clearly the fans who grew up and prefer their shows to have sardonic and ironic bite.

    • shahdhch says:

      I think you might be getting the Muppet Show and Sesame Street mixed up. The Muppet Show was never intended for children, it was a variety show aired in the evening for the whole family. Jim Henson wanted to break free from the Sesame Street format with Muppets. While I do agree the humor compared to today is less raunchy than what we are used to, if you go back and watch older episodes of The Muppet Show it was pretty tongue in cheek risque for the time it aired.

      • Malificent says:

        I’ve watched the old Muppets shows as a child and as an adult, and there was plenty of content directed at adults. But it was discreet enough that there wasn’t anything confusing or offensive for kids. A really well-written show can walk that line. (Phineas & Ferb is a great current example — harmless and fun for the kids, clever and amusing references for the adults.)

        There were some laughs on the new Muppet show, but they’ve also sucked all of the sweetness and charm out of the Muppets — I won’t be watching the new show again — with or without my kid.

  3. Tiffany27 says:

    “White Mammy”? Lord…….what the?

  4. Betti says:

    Didn’t know Lindsay Lohan got a new gig on the Muppet show as Denise from Marketing.

  5. The Original Mia says:

    Seeing Emma “I”m not an actress because of nepotism” Roberts in the lead was enough to turn me off Scream Queens. I loved the Muppets. They’ve always been just on the edge of being appropriate for kids. This show ups it and took it entirely into the adult realm.

    • aims says:

      Agreed on all counts.

    • Bridget says:

      She was awful in the previews. If I couldn’t make it through 60 seconds of the show, no way I’m going to tune in for 2 hours. Please let this show die a quick death.

    • Laura says:

      Agreed! I could not stand Emma Roberts in AHS Season 3 and have NO desire to ever watch her “act” again.

      I’ve been a life long Muppet fan (literally, one of my first toys in my 1983 crib was Kermit) and loved the show! I watched it on Hulu and can’t wait for the whole season. I agree with the other, The Muppets was never really for children but this new show is much more adult. It might not be best for the wee little ones, but I think teens and pre-teens should be okay. I mean they already hear/see much worse than that on a regular basis anyway, right?

      • The Original Mia says:

        We’ve had 2 movies about a swearing, boozing, sexing teddy bear. If MOO didn’t protest that, then they need to zip it about the Muppets, which was much tamer and less direct about the interspecies/medium dating.

    • Katydid20 says:

      Agreed. Throw in Lea Michele and it’s like all the people I dislike decided to make a show so I didn’t have to watch them.

  6. LadyMTL says:

    I watched maybe 45 minutes of Scream Queens (until the lawnmower part) and then just gave up in disgust. Maybe I was hoping for something really freaky, à la American Horror Story – seasons 1 and 2, anyway – because it was from the same creators? Man, was I disappointed.

    I didn’t see the Muppets at all because honestly, I don’t get it. I loved the Muppets when I was a kid but I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that I’m now supposed to want to watch an adult-oriented Muppet show. It just seems…wrong. LOL.

    • Matador says:

      Scream Queens really was horrible. There was way too much crap loaded into the two hours instead of laying any kind of foundation/building suspense for those things to happen down the road. Hard to imagine if it was this bad in the beginning how much stupider it is going to get by episodes 11, 12, 13. What’s left to do?

    • FLORC says:

      I made an effort to watch scream queens… Ugh. I’m a fan of AHS and was glad Emma got a gig elsewhere to not stink up that show, but this was awful and now she might return to AHS:(
      And poor Evan. You know he’s going to get her rage directed at him.

      • Ellie says:

        Is Emma Roberts not in this season of AHS? If so, yesssss, that makes my day.

      • Katydid20 says:

        I think she’s still showing up this season on AHS :/. Wasn’t happy to hear that, but I think it’s late in the season…….tragic.

  7. BeBeA says:

    Nope didn’t watch any tv. I needed to detox before tgit. I have all my snacks ready ;-)

  8. Ellie says:

    So this dumb Muppets “reality” TV show means we’re going to have to endure them being covered as if they are real celebrities from here on out? I’ve seen this on other sites too, I don’t mean this as an attack on this one, but I just do not get the “sleeping around”-type stories. They’re puppets y’all! I’d rather watch Scream Queens, and that’s saying something.

    • FLORC says:

      Yes and I sort of cant stand those muppet threads. It’s well planned pr, but it’s ruining my childhood memories so i avoid them. Piggy doesn’t cheat on Kermut and he doesn’t date younger pigs! Damnit!

  9. Canoki says:

    I went campy with Scream Queens. Watched it on Hulu yesterday and there were eyeroll moments and other times when I laughed aloud. It’s not guilty pleasure like Nashville, but I’ll watch again if I’m bored. I have a feeling seeing Emma Roberts eventally get killed will be somehow ,cathartic .

    • Celebitchy says:

      Oooh when is Nashville coming back… Last night! I’m going to Hulu that thanks for reminding me yay!

    • FLORC says:

      We saw her die 3 times in 2 seasons of AHS and it just wasn’t…. satisfying. Plus, in these shows she could return from black magic or zombie or something. Like Coven did.

      • Canoki says:

        But watching her die over and over is so nice! and praise be that she isn’t in AHS Hotel. I’m real excited for that to come on

  10. Bishg says:

    I watched the first 15 minutes of Scream Queen and couldn’t get past it.
    That show is so corny and over-the-top, it’s unbearable.
    It wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, but god, it takes itself so seriously.
    Also, I cannot stand Emma Roberts, to me she’s copycat-ing the same role over and over.

    • Ana Maria says:

      yes! I agree with you on everything, and don’t know why but I could not get past their wardrobe, I kept thinking why sorority girls, young and beautiful dress like 30 something rich housewives???

  11. vauvert says:

    Watched Limitless and liked it, loved Blindspot with J. Alexander, and wouldn’t care about either Muppets or the Scream Queens stuff. Much as I hate to agree with that conservative Mum group, if you will make the Muppets an adult oriented show, air at 10:00 and put warnings on it.

    There are two shows I am really looking forward to: Lucifer and Into the Badlands. Haven’t tried the Bastard Executioner yet, may not like the gory aspects, and Minority Report was kind of meh (bad reviews too).

    And I still miss Forever and wish those idiots at ABC had given it a chance, advertised it more and scheduled it better. My 11 year old watched with us (we DVR-ed it) since we are pretty liberal too and he adored it, and the flashbacks gave us the opportunity to discuss a lot of history with him, which was awesome. (Did I mention… Bitter?)

    • kristen says:

      I miss Forever too! It was such a great show. The shows I like always seem to be the ones that get canceled :(

    • caroline says:

      +1 I remember the original Muppet, that wasn’t really child friendly either. It’s always had adult humor. I’m also still in love with Animal.

    • Dancinnancy says:

      I watched Bastard Executioner last night. Plot looks fabulous, but the gore is almost too much. Also, the shot of the guy straining to deficate was unnecessary. So we’ll see.

    • Jay says:

      I tried Limitless but couldn’t hold back my amusement when the show made it seem like it takes a super genius to come up with hemochromatosis as a diagnosis. I always seem to struggle with any show that tries to be all sciencey – I just can’t.

  12. Sea Dragon says:

    Glad I didn’t. It looks as stupid as most other sitcoms. It’s also a shame. The Muppets used to rock.

  13. dr mantis toboggan says:

    I enjoyed the Muppets show. MOO can kiss my one million asses

  14. GiGi says:

    I loved the Muppets and watched it with my 10 & 12 year old who both loved it, as well. It was witty and fun and reminded me a lot of the original, just updated.

    • Duchess of Corolla says:

      We watched it with our 11 year-old, and all loved it. I didn’t find it inappropriate at all. There was some double entendre, but it didn’t cause any issues.

  15. Matador says:

    Watched them both. “The Muppets” was okay, not great. “Scream Queens” is TERRIBLE and not worth anyone’s time.

    • Pinky says:

      Agreed. Scream Queens killed my spirit. It was boring and stupid. And I prefer my muppets zanier. I didn’t like Denise and her fake stupid accent, though I thought the idea of her was interesting. Overall underwhelming.

      • tealily says:

        Ugh, her accent was SO BAD. I turned to my husband at one point to ask if she was supposed to be Southern because I honestly could not tell what was going on with that mess.

  16. insomniac says:

    I didn’t know that much about Scream Queens, but I saw that list of stars and thought “Well, there’s your problem right there.” Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, and Ariana Grande? Yeesh. Why didn’t Murphy just call that show “The Insufferables”?

    As for the Muppets … meh. I didn’t watch, and probably won’t. I really liked them when I was a kid, but I’m just not that into them now. I guess I really miss Jim Henson.

    • Mixtape says:

      Yes, scrolled down this far to see if someone else had this opinion as well. Three never-quite-A-list “difficult” personalities that have already worn out their welcome with the public, and they thought it would be a hit?

  17. K says:

    I don’t like anything Ryan Murphy does and can’t stomach Emma Roberts so skipped it. Haven’t watched anything new. But based on the reviews I’m glad I skipped it. Really this is what you’re going to use Neicy Nash (who I didn’t enjoy until the Mindy Project, she was great. Don’t have HBO) for?

    I feel like Murphy gets credit for smashing stereotypes but really he highlights then and reinforces them because he believes them. Glee was one reinforced stereotype after another, so was the new normal and if he is trying to satire them he does a terrible job.

    Muppets i was nervous wouldn’t be what I remembered so I skipped. Some things are sacred.

    • FLORC says:

      I like Ryan Murphy, but he has a track record of being good for the 1st 1 or 2 seasons and then going off the rails bad. This is why AHS had a workable formula for him. It’s the 1st season every season! He found a way to mess that up though. Hotel better not suck like Freak Show. I can’t take another Freak Show Season.

      • littlestar says:

        Freak Show was AWFUL!!!!! Couldn’t even finish watching the last 3 or so episodes. I’m looking forward to Hotel though – I hope my expectations aren’t too high!

      • Josefa says:

        I LOVED Freakshow. The story was uneven and it seemed like there was no central plot but I thought the characters were fun and interesting. And it was the only AHS season that was legitimately scary, for me. On the other hand I keep reading comments about how good Murder House was and I absolutely hated it. Frances Conroy and Jessica Lange were the only reason I finished it.

  18. OSTONE says:

    I had high hopes for Scream Queens, as sometimes (all the time really ha!) I just love cheesy, stupid and sh*tty TV (hello OTH and hallmark Christmas movies!) but lord it was cringe-worthy most of the time. They had a couple of one-liners that were good, but Emma Roberts, Lea Michelle and 99% of the rest of the show was MEH. The racist jokes and stereotypes were not “edgy” “cool” or bringing some kind of awareness, there were there just for shock value and they did not land IMO. For Ryan Murphy, this will probably go the same route as The New Normal.

  19. Esteph says:

    Netflix is my new best friend. I find myself watching less and less TV. There really isn’t anything on anymore that intrigues me, besides Project Runway

    • FLORC says:

      They hav Gotham, Blacklist, and How to Get Away With Murder. Those are 3 currently running shows worth a binge watch and loads of gems you’ve never heard of. I’m still Happy with Last Tango… Thank You ladies in Wiglet Watch :D

    • swack says:

      Yeah, got rid of my cable a year ago and watch Netflix, Hulu and Amazon instead (mostly Netflix). I will say my guilty pleasures on tv are NCIS and NCIS – New Orleans. LOVE Mark Harmon and Scott Bakula (who I loved in Quantum Leap and he’s a home town boy!). I like Project Runway but can watch it on the computer also love Face Off on SyFy.

  20. kri says:

    lea Michele, Emma Roberts and Ariana Voodoo Barbie all in the same show? What could go wrong. Really?? What could go right? Way to go, Ryan Murphy. A donut abuser, a man abuser and Lea? Please find your drawing board, pack it up and go elsewhere.

  21. Kelly says:

    Given their advertising campaign and media shots of Miss Piggy with various actors, journalists and the Miss Piggy/Kermit split, what were people expecting? It made me laugh a couple of times.

  22. the original Minty says:

    I saw Scream Queens. Another overhyped Ryan Murphy show that has little realism to balance out the outrageous story.

    Here’s an inappropriate Muppets joke:

    Q: Why does Miss Piggy douche with vinegar and honey?
    A: Because Kermit likes sweet and sour pork.

  23. QQ says:

    I wanted to like Scream Queens, I tapped out at about 25 mins or so, it was TERRIBLE, embarrassing, gross ( and I’m not talking about the deaths here) vapid, and cloaking just base assholery and stereotypes under “satire” and “sassy dialogue” also intensely unlikeable people all around

  24. Bridget says:

    Wait, you mean people weren’t desperate to see a show starring Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, and Ariana Grande? Murphy couldn’t have put together a less appealing cast if he’d tried.

    • Josefa says:

      Ryan really overestimated the power of camp there. AHS can be very stupid and campy at times but you at least had top tier actors.

  25. Ariel says:

    I am 43 and do not have children and I really enjoyed the Muppet Show. The critics have been harsh about it. But I thought it was funny. Definitely not the Muppets that live in my childhood memory, but I am okay with that.
    I thought it was hysterical.
    Kermit, to himself: “Talk to God about lilacs.”

  26. Lurker says:

    Ariana Grande is in Scream Queens? I wasn’t going to watch it anyway because of Lea Michele, but now I really won’t. Ugh.

    Loved The Muppets. Always have, always will.

  27. saywhatwhen says:

    Someone, anyone: What’s good on T.V for binge-watching in terms of series? I need to take a transatlantic flight next week and I need mental sustenance to endure. Anyone?

    • word says:

      First season of Secrets and Lies was really good. I’m looking forward to season 2. If you like a “murder mystery” that keeps you guessing until the very end, this is a great show.

      • saywhatwhen says:

        Actually, I just watched the trailer and realized that I saw the Australian version of Secrets and Lies.

    • Alice says:

      For historical romance/fantasy/gorgeous scenery/even more gorgeous people, try Outlander.

    • JustCrimmles says:

      Hindsight. F#ck Vhstupid1 for renewing it, then canceling it. There’s one season, on Hulu. I hope they pick it up like they did The Mindy Project.

  28. Celeste says:

    I watched about 1.5 minutes of SQ… Painful

  29. iheartjacksparrow says:

    I loved Scream Queens. I thought it was awesome and I can’t wait until next Tuesday. As far as the Muppets: Gosh that was awful. And beastiality jokes? Whoever stole the Muppets and replaced them with this mess, I want the originals back!

  30. MyHiddles says:

    I watched Empire.

  31. Moody Blue says:

    Ah The Muppets. It had its moments and I want to love it, but it was trying too hard and it just doesn’t have the heart that I expect. A few times I felt it. Sam the Eagle was still…. Sam. And I enjoyed some of the Fozzy girlfriend stuff. But I just want the regular Muppets with really good writing! No gimmicks.

  32. tealily says:

    I liked Scream Queens more than the Muppets, although I’m still not sure if I “liked” it. There were some great, funny moments as well as some cringey moments (white mammy???), and I’m not yet sure which will outweigh the other. It did NOT need a two hour premiere.

    I love the Muppets, but I thought the show was kind of boring. I do really love the idea of the late night talk show frame, but I’m sick to death of the faux reality show format, and it was just as boring as the American Office. Also, I hate Miss Piggy’s new voice.

  33. kara says:

    The One Million Moms petition is ludicrous. Don’t let your kids watch the show if you don’t approve of the content. It’s not a kids’ show and frankly, it never was.

  34. Josefa says:

    I always knew Scream Queens was a bad idea for a TV series. That whole campy, “so bad it’s good” format can only work one way: in a very fast and short movie. That type of humor becomes gimicky and annoying very fast. For a TV series, you can’t go full camp. You have to give your viewers a legitimate reason to stay tuned.

    And a 2 hour premiere? BAD IDEA. People will become exhausted right from the beggining.

  35. mkyarwood says:

    I wonder if this is somehow the Henson empire’s response to Avenue Q? It was funny, but I’m disappointed I can’t share it with my daughter.

  36. kri says:

    Denise looks like the most natural member of the Kartrashian nest.

  37. Tiffany says:

    Jamie Lee….are….are you poor?

  38. Emily C. says:

    No. I’m not okay with The Muppets becoming a show for adults, and a particularly cynical, sarcastic show for adults at that. It seems these days, everything is either for little kids or for adults. What do kids in the 8-12 demographic get?

    The Muppets died for me when Jim Henson did. The people who took over don’t seem to understand it. There’s no longer any heart. I will watch the old movies a thousand times, but unless someone who understands the rainbow connection takes over again, I won’t be following them any longer.

    • danielle says:

      I wish Jason segal had done this. He seems to be the closest of new people to get the original Muppets. This felt very lazy to me. Someone thought, it would be hilarious if we mixed Ted, 30 rock, and modern family for this! The joke about haha, a rocker is in AA! I know its a joke that was probably first told in the 70s, but it’ll be hilarious because its a Muppet!Aot of the jokes felt like that.

      • tealily says:

        Exactly. It felt like they were riding on the fact that the cast was Muppets to make the show work. It didn’t. It was a total snooze.

  39. kitty-bye says:

    I love Pe Pe Le Prawn so cute! So Yes! Was pretty fun to watch. I tried part of scream queens because of Jamie Lee but, I couldn’t get into it. It was really oddly paced, didn’t scare me. Idk I didn’t get through all of it.

  40. Fiona says:

    Can’t stand emma Roberts with the nepotism. Can’t help but feel she’s playing an exaggerated version of herself, she strikes me as a mega bitch in real life. Usually don’t enjoy teen tv shows but I really enjoyed scream queens. Hope the ratings pick up.