Like fellow demo-specific entertainment networks BET and Lifetime, TV One had found success by cutting into the ‘biopic pie,’ namely of musicians.
While BET’s New Edition mini-series and Lifetime’s Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, and Aaliyah made-for-TV biographical films have led the ratings race for the past few years in the particular genre, TV One took home a relative win in 2016 with their take on the life of Grammy-nominated R&B unsung beauty Miki Howard.
Hoping for a redo of that ratings magic, TV One tapped former child star Ty Hodges to direct an unauthorized recount of the life of pop icon Whitney Houston‘s only daughter Bobbi Kristina. Titled ‘Bobbi Kristina,’ the film depicted her very public life as the child of two well-known (and troubled) celebrities – Houston and husband Bobby Brown – to her own tumultuous teenage years and untimely passing at the age of 22 in 2015.
The movie, despite being preceded by a controversial disapproval from the Houston estate as well as a lawsuit from Bobby Brown (click here to read more about that), still marched onto TV screens Sunday, October 8th at 8p/7p CST. The problem? Not many people were waiting for it there…
Viewership = 660,000
Rank = #46
Without context the numbers do look troubling at first glance, but there are things to consider. First, the figures above only reflect the program’s premiere hour ratings. Over the course of the night, thanks to reruns, its overall viewership = 2.2 million.
Next, when not compared to the night’s overall list of programs (i.e. live sports and news broadcasts), the original movie came in at #3 among scripted showings in its time slot and #1 in African American households for the 8p/7p CST hour.
Arguably, while its a matter of the lens you choose to look through, when undoubtedly compared to the 4.5M drawn to her mother’s Lifetime original and the ratings wins of other music (or music-related) figures, ‘Bobbi Kristina’ will go down as a loss.