If you were wondering who watched that new Bomani Jones show that keeps popping up in Twitter’s “promoted” section, the answer is no one. Well, almost no one.
Sunday’s premiere of Race Theory with Bomani Jones drew just 153,000 viewers, even though John Oliver, who hosts the show before his, drew 664,000. In other words, Jones lost 77% of his lead-in’s audience. That’s awful. If networks canceled shows after one week, Race Theory would be done for.
And despite Jones’ putrid debut and his history of professional failures, the sports media hall monitors haven’t said a word of criticism. Not a peep from the blue-check, Richard Deitsch-type accounts.
You’ll remember in 2016, these same tweeters and journalists were greatly invested in the ratings of Bill Simmons’ similarly-formatted HBO program, Any Given Wednesday. Media reporters got a kick out of Simmons’ lackluster viewership. Here are some headlines:
“Ratings for Bill Simmons’ ‘Any Given Wednesday’ on HBO are terrible,” wrote the Star Tribune.
“Ratings for Bill Simmons’s HBO show have hit rock bottom,” claimed a useful idiot at the Washington Post.
“Ratings for Bill Simmons’ ‘Any Given Wednesday’ aren’t pretty,” said the left-wing rag, pro-Bomani outlet called Awful Announcing.
“5 Reasons Why Bill Simmons’ ‘Any Given Wednesday’ Tanked,” headlined a list on The Wrap.
“What Will Bill Simmons Do If Any Given Wednesday Is Canceled?” asked USA Today.
Headlines like these went on and on and on, and people on social media similarly mocked Simmons for his mediocre success. Meanwhile, only one website on the entire web covered Jones’ terrible ratings this week. Us, at OutKick.
Bill Simmons got absolutely destroyed on social media for his HBO show’s ratings. Bomani Jones’s new show has far worse ratings than Simmons’s ever did. Will be interesting to see if the criticism is anywhere near as intense: https://t.co/u31hEcve9o
Wow. No one watched Bomani Jones' new HBO show.
HBO aired Bomani's show directly after John Oliver's to help with the ratings. Yet Bomani lost nearly 80% — 80% — of Oliver's average.
No one has ever failed like Bomani has at ESPN and now HBO.https://t.co/MMhk3Rzbuc
— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) March 15, 2022
This is particularly telling as Simmons easily outrated Jones, even though Simmons didn’t have Oliver as a lead-in as Jones does. Any Given Wednesday averaged 260,000 viewers in no man’s land on Wednesday nights.
So why the disparity in coverage? Why do the very people who mocked Simmons for low ratings on his weekly sports show on HBO ignore Jones for far lower ratings on his weekly sports show on HBO?
There are several answers, each of which reveals the nasty innerworkings of the media industry.
First, Jones is friendly with media writers. Look at the series of puff pieces Jones has participated in over the past week. It seems as though more media schmucks wrote positive reviews about Jones than viewers who actually watched his show.
They wrote little headlines that proclaimed Jones’ new venture a success before it even aired. GQ fawned over Jones so much that it almost became inappropriate. Jones also has media podcast hosts in his back pocket. They cover him nicely, and he retweets them. A form of media symbiosis that benefits the participants, but not the viewers.
By contrast, Simmons doesn’t talk much to the media at all. It’s much easier to report honestly about a person whom you know will never contact you to complain.
The second reason why media have treated these two men so differently — a reason even more pathetic than the first one, if that’s possible — is that Simmons is white and Jones is black.
Reporting negatively on Simmons is easy. He’s a pompous white guy. Who’s going to attack you for demeaning his character? Jones is a black man who has made a career out of calling people racist. Simmons doesn’t talk much about race. Media writers are insecure, their bosses are fragile. The last thing they want to do is risk someone on Twitter calling them racist.
Media members protect Jones because they fear he will call them white folks or some other kind of supposed pejorative. It’s better to be on his good side, they think.
Jones epitomizes what it means to be an elitist blue-check. Though he may not have any reach on television or radio, he is a favorite among woke Twitterbros and bots. Unlike Simmons, Jones lashes out at his critics, and his progressive minions then target these critics and their family members in their turn. This kind of bullying is enough to scare cowardly media reporters into silence.
The press won’t even criticize Jones for his overtly racist commentary, which he has issued for almost a decade. Jones can call all white people racist without any pushback.
Bill Simmons doesn’t have this, shall we say, privilege. Very few people do, and they include Bomani Jones, Jemele Hill, Katie Nolan and Mina Kimes.
The negative coverage of Simmons’ program made it easy for HBO to cancel AGW after one season. HBO knew no one would push back at the decision. But HBO will have a harder time deciding what to do about Jones. His ratings won’t improve, and HBO execs know it. The ratings for Jones’ past canceled shows have all declined as the weeks and months progressed.
Still, axing Jones won’t be easy. If HBO cancels Race Theory after one season, Jones’ media allies will come for the executives, call them racist, and encourage a lawsuit for something like workplace misconduct. This is what companies risk when they get into business with vile, race hustlers like Jones.
That’s why if you are going to align yourself with a woke grifter, you ought to pick someone with a track record of success. Not Bomani Jones, who has done nothing but fail upwards his entire career.