How Far Will HBO Let Bomani Jones’ Show Tank?

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Bomani Jones is again the recipient of various fawning puff pieces. Outlets like the New York Times are raving about Jones ahead of Season 2 of his HBO series, “Game Race Theory.”

Jones’ program is of a simple premise: he calls white people racist and decries their supposed privilege.

A premise simple but also ironic.

Few personalities epitomize privilege like Bomani Jones. HBO renewed his series after it recorded one of the lowest-rated seasons for an original program to date. Television has not seen such a dud since “High Noon,” a program ESPN canceled in 2020. Jones also hosted “High Noon.”

Last season, HBO aired “Race Theory” directly following the top-rated “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” And yet, somehow, Jones managed to lose 80 percent of his lead-in audience.

Eighty percent. That’s a cancelable offense for any other host. However, Jones survived. More on why in a bit.

The show averaged as low as 45,000 viewers. The third episode ranked behind a 2 am infomercial on the daily ratings chart.

No cap. Airing videos of snuggies is better business than enabling Bomani Jones:

So, why did HBO give a dead-end program a second season? Perhaps the network appreciates the social media applause of Jones’ claims to victimhood.

Or perhaps HBO was afraid to cancel Jones over fear his lackeys in the press would accuse the network of racism.

After all, like-minded personalities still accuse ESPN of racism for canning Jones’ last-place-ranked former television program three years ago.

Either way, HBO certainly did not renew Jones on the basis of success.

The network essentially admitted as much when it announced his renewal in March. HBO often cites “ratings,” “viewers,” “popularity,” or “growth” in a show’s press releases. However, the network mentioned not one of these factors in a press release confirming a second season with Jones.

Rather, EVP of HBO Programming Nina Rosenstein made the subjective statement that “Bomani’s perspective on sports comes from a great base of knowledge.”

Jones need not show a return on investment or even draw ratings to remain employed. Consider it a form of #Privilege, if you will.

Unfortunately, other HBO hosts have had no such luxury. In 2016, HBO canceled Bill Simmons’ sports program after drawing around 200,000 viewers, more than double Bomani’s average.

Of course, the media smeared Simmons for his ratings on the daily, pressing HBO to make a move. Here are some notable headlines reporting on Simmons’ former show:

“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.

For comparison, here are the headlines covering Bomani’s stint at HBO:

The More Things Change, the More Bomani Jones Remains, says The Ringer.

“Bomani Jones Calls an Audible,” headlines the New York Times.

“Bomani Jones embraces his authenticity with ‘Game Theory,'”declares the AP.

“Bomani Jones Finally Feels Right At Home,” writes GQ.

The very media watchdogs who ridiculed Simmons have yet to acknowledge Jones’ ratings, as if his viewership is not public knowledge, but hidden in the abyss.

Now, Bomani will inherently see an uptick in viewers during his second season. This year, HBO will air “Race Theory” following “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Maher often doubles the viewers of Oliver. Put simply: Losing 80 percent of Maher’s viewers > losing 80 percent of Oliver’s.

But that goes for all programs. Though few could tank an audience to the degree Jones has. Most shows maintain at least 40 percent of their lead in.

Not Bomani Jones.

Jones’ schtick includes railing against white people who survive the corporate system with “mediocrity.” He smugly said so again last month.

“Maybe one day someone will pay a mediocre white man for something. i don’t know when that day might be, but it’ll happen soon. just you watch,” sarcastically tweeted Jones.

Unfortunately, Jones didn’t provide any examples for his claim. We wish he had because it’s a challenge to find a white man who has failed but been rewarded to the extent Bomani has.

Bomani Jones on HBO.

Jones has yet to succeed at any stop. His ESPN Radio show lost over 90 affiliates, recording the lowest ratings in network history.

His ESPN television show, “High Noon,” set record lows following Stephen A. Smith at noon ET. Then, the show set a new record low at 4 pm, upon its time slot demotion.

Now, he’s on HBO losing to infomercials, drawing a 0.01 TV rating

Few hosts can state they’ve tanked lead-in audiences from John Oliver and Stephen A. Smith. Bomani can add Bill Maher to that list later this week.

The career of Bomani Jones proves privilege does, indeed, exist. But are we sure it’s white privilege, as he so often purports?

Written by Bobby Burack

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

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