Just when America Ferrera's Ugly Betty is starting to look beautiful, ratings for her once popular show are becoming hideous. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the ABC comedy's two-hour Season 4 premiere Friday night drew a disappointing 5.1 million viewers, and scored an even more disappointing 1.4 preliminary rating among adults 18–49 (a key demographic that advertisers watch). The low ratings for Betty (on its new night) gave ABC a distant fourth-place finish for the night behind the other major networks: CBS, NBC and FOX. THR actually used the word "bestial" to describe the show's ratings. Ouch. I have to agree, especially since this season's premiere of Betty was down over 4 and a half million viewers from last season's premiere, which opened to 9.77 million viewers on Sept. 25, 2008.
But there's hope yet. While the numbers for Betty were down—big time—the show did perform just as well as the 2008 premieres of Wife Swap and Supernanny (the two shows that used to occupy Betty's current Friday night time slot), and I also suspect that Betty, a show that's popular amongst young women, will see significant gains when the DVR numbers for the episode come in in a few weeks.
Still, I doubt that will be enough to keep the show on the air beyond April 2010. Rumors of Betty's inevitable cancellation started way back in March when ABC decided to bench the Emmy-winning comedy in order to try out the comedies In the Motherhood and Samantha Who? in Betty’s former Thursday night time slot. Then in May, the network surprised everyone when they announced they’d be moving their one-time hit comedy to Friday nights—the worst night of the week to air any show. Two weeks ago, the network confirmed everyone's fears that they were no longer behind the show when they postponed its Season 4 premiere by a week, from Oct. 9 to Oct. 16, angering die-hard Betty fans.
Last week, I asked Ana Ortiz, who plays Betty’s loveable big sis, Hilda, on the show, if she was worried that it would be cancelled, and here’s what she said: “I think for us, the move to Friday will be good. We are the only comedy there and we are up against cop shows. Our fans love us and they’re so loyal.” But she added, “If it is the final season, we’ve had an amazing run and I can’t complain.” I love Ana, but maybe she (and her Betty costars) should start complaining.
What say you, Vivo Por TVians? Do you think Betty's headed for cancellation? Dish in the comments section!