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Second Episode of Bomani Jones New HBO Show Tanks So Badly It Missed the Ratings Charts

UPDATE: According to Nielsen data, Bomani Jones’ HBO show drew only 44,000 viewers on Sunday, down from 153,000 the week before. For comparison, CNBC went commercial only at 2 am on Sunday and drew 83,000.


HBO invested seven figures into failed ESPN host Bomani Jones, and the partnership could not be off to a worse start.

Despite directly following John Oliver’s top-rated Last Week Tonight, Race Theory with Bomani Jones debuted last week to just 153,000 viewers, losing a stunning 80% of his lead’s in viewership.

If you think that’s bad, Jones tanked even further this past Sunday. How many viewers watched episode 2? We don’t exactly know because the number was so low that it failed to chart.

See, only the top 150 daily cable programs make the chart, as advertisers view programs outside the margin as completely irrelevant, a scratch. In other words, the cable industry doesn’t consider Bomani Jones’ new show worth mentioning. His ratings are that bad.

On Sunday, a day most cable channels don’t air original programming, Jones in primetime lost to a 2 am airing of “PAID PROGRAMMING.” It’s unclear what “JUGADA, LA LF SUN” is, yet its 0.02 rating and 66,000 viewers still charted, while Jones didn’t.

This may all seem like a joke, but it’s not. Look:

Via ShowBuzzDaily

It turns out, even a 1:01 pm re-air of cornhole on ESPN2 is more popular than Jones’ new program. The random cornhole showing managed a 0.02 and 55,000 viewers.

Only HBO has access to Jones’ official number at this point, but don’t expect it to publicize data for a show this unpopular.

And yet, the media continues to cover for Jones’ failures. As we discussed last week, the Washington Post, The Wrap and USA Today crucified Bill Simmons for his mediocre viewership on HBO from the start. However, not a single media outlet will mention Jones’ much lower ratings on the same network.

Below is an excerpt from what we said last week:

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

HBO canceled Simmons’ show after the first season.

Bomani Jones is a career-long failure, from ESPN Radio to ESPN TV to HBO. But not charting in the top 150 on a Sunday is a new low, even for him. It’s impressive how bad this guy is for business. 

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

8 Comments

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  1. Don`t understand how this guy keeps getting gigs. He must be really good at the one “talent” he has: working the race card. You would think at some point the media execs would give up on him and not worry about being called a racist…….NOBODY WATCHES HIM!!

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