Famous in 12: Not Famous Enough to be Cancelled

Famous in 12 (Logo: CW)
Famous in 12 (Logo: CW)

News broke Thursday that the CW has cancelled its reality TV social experiment Famous in 12. The thing is, the story actually broke Tuesday but no one was paying attention.

Famous in 12 was an experiment from TMZ impresario Harvey Levin to see if a family from Podunk, USA could roll into Hollywood and become the next Kardashians within 12 weeks. That last sentence was phrased in the past tense because the CW put the kibash on the show after its fifth episode averaged only 518,000 viewers.1 For comparison, a Criminal Minds rerun on ION had 1.2 million viewers.2

News releases started circulating Thursday that the show had been yanked from the schedule. First off, duh. But here’s what makes this failed experiment fascinating: Tuesday’s episode ended with Harvey Levin breaking the news to the Artiaga family that they found the answer to the question serving as the thesis for this show in less than half the time mapped out. I don’t have a video clip to embed, but jump to the 38-minute mark on the episode to watch the announcement. If you’d rather not, here’s the gist: the Kardashians and Paris Hilton had connections before becoming famous, and being on TV does not necessarily make you famous. The audience is the final arbiter.

I’m sorry things didn’t work out, I guess. But how did half a million people manage to keep quiet about this until a formal announcement was made almost 48 hours after the fact?

  1. Note: the show lost 200,000 from the first half-hour to the second.  
  2. Ratings data courtesy of Univision.  

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv
  • Aaron Mucciolo

    Yes, but you see, Criminal Minds is – never mind, not going to defend anything here.