The annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show sunk to its lowest ratings ever.
The event switched to a new network (from CBS to ABC) and a new night (from Tuesday to Sunday).
Yet the show was seen by only 3.3 million viewers and a 0.9 rating among adults 18-49.
That’s a sharp drop from last year’s telecast, which had around 5 million viewers and a 1.5 rating (and was the previous all-time low.
The show has long functioned as a strong ratings draw that could fill a time slot for a network during what’s typically a sluggish month for TV viewing, and for Victoria’s Secret serves as what’s essentially an hour-long pre-holiday ad.
ABC pointed out the special still delivered its 10 p.m. time slot’s best numbers all season (the now-defunct talk show, The Alec Baldwin Show, was the period’s previous occupant).
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show also drew controversy this year for comments made in Vogue last month, which published an interview with the lingerie brand’s “chief architects” Ed Razek and Monica Mitro, where they were asked if a transgender model will ever appear in the show. “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show?” Razek replied. “No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.” Razek subsequentially apologized, and Victoria’s Secret Chief Executive Jan Singer resigned.
Last night, singer Halsey — whose performance headlined this year’s event — took to Instagram to criticize the show.
“After I filmed the special performance, some comments were made regarding the show that I simply cannot ignore,” she wrote. “As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have no tolerance for a lack of inclusivity. Especially not one motivated by stereotype … If you’re a trans person reading this, and these comments have made you feel alienated or invalidated please know that you have allies. We stand in solidarity. And complete and total acceptance is the only ‘fantasy’ that I support.”
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