ABC’s latest music competition series attempt debuted soft in the ratings Sunday night and was eclipsed by NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
ABC’s Rising Star—where viewers vote on auditions in real time via their smartphones—delivered a smaller demo rating than the network’s previous stab at the genre, 2012′s short-lived Duets.
The two-hour premiere, which featured singers Kesha, Brad Paisley, and Ludacris as cheerleading experts, had 5.1 million viewers and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49. Rising Star got no help from its lead-in, the return of obstacle-course comedy Wipeout—which opened to a series-low 3.5 million viewers and a 1.0 rating (once you’ve seen NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, it’s tough to go back). Rising Star was easily topped by Got Talent (8 million, 2.1). Still, ABC noted these are the best time slot numbers for the network during the summer since 2011.
It should be noted that Rising Star also didn’t draw many critical raves. As our critic Marc Snetiker put it: “So is Rising Star that next big thing? The short answer is no. The long answer? Nooooooo.“