If you’ve watched “Devious Maids” and sworn you’ve seen something like it before (but in different setting) then you wouldn’t be that far off. The model for the show is the former hit series “Desperate Housewives” whose creator, Marc Cherry, just so happens to be the creator of Lifetime’s “Devious Maids” which is entering its fourth season on June 6th. And perhaps not coincidentally, both shows begin with a spectacular death – in the case of “Desperate Housewives” (suicide) and in the case of “Devious Maids”, the murder of a Latina maid, Flora Hernandez (played by Paula Garces) who falls face first into a swimming pool amongst dozens of Hollywood Hills revelers, who are party guests of the very rich Adrian Powell (played by Tom Irwin) and his wickedly evil wife Evelyn (played by Rebecca Wisocky.)
The death of one Latina maid unites the activities and plot lines of four other Latina Maids in this campy (sometimes crazy) series that has just about everything – comedy, drama, satire, romance, suspense, mystery… you name it!
Why is this show entitled, “Devious Maids,” when the real devious characters are the uber-wealthy, creepy people who employ them? At one level it has something to do with the fact that all of the maids (save Marisol Suarez) are keeping a secret about Flora. At another level, they all have to pretend they are sincerely interested in the crazy lives of their employers, starting with the way over-the-top Genevieve Delatour (played by long-time Soap Opera Queen Susan Lucci), who is attended by her maid Zoila Diaz (played by Judy Reyes) and daughter Valentina (Edy Ganem.) There’s also the Latina maid, Carmen Luna (played by Roselyn Sanchez) who joins the household staff of a big-time music star (played by Matt Cedeno) in order to promote her own musical talents.
And last but not least is the very brainy (as in Ph.D. brainy) Marisol Suarez (played by Ana Ortiz) who goes to work for the Powells after the murder of Flora. Her “deviousness” is that she’s really not a maid at all, but wants to get as close to the Powells as possible to find out who really killed Flora… and for good reason. Her son Eddie is the one being charged with Flora’s murder and Marisol aims to prove otherwise.
Given the talented ensemble of veteran actors, it is somewhat surprising that this entertaining series hasn’t performed better with television audiences. In fact, on a Live-only ratings basis, the show’s numbers have been cut in half from Season One to Three. The silver lining in the cloud is that — when viewing levels are considered on a 15-Day DVR playback basis — the U.S household ratings have been quite strong and stable over the first three seasons, hovering in a range between 2.3 and 2.4:
At first glance, it would appear surprising that Hispanic HHs have only a moderate above average viewing index for “Devious Maids” given the centrality of so many Hispanic actors (109.9 Index vs Total U.S. HH Universe – first chart). But as is often the case with network television shows, the audiences they attract are often times circumscribed by the audience composition for their entire network. Perhaps a fairer comparison, therefore, would be Hispanic viewing households for “Devious Maids” versus Lifetime Network (second chart) which reveals an Hispanic Index of 121. Note as well the distribution percentage for African American households. Relative to the universe of all U.S. homes, African American homes have a 168 viewing index for “Devious Maids.” But in the context of African American viewership to the Lifetime Network, their viewing index to “Devious Maids” is actually below 100 (93 Index – second chart):
Local Cable Advertising
Over the past two seasons, over 100 clients have ordered 950+ :30-second units across 40 Viamedia markets (~55% of our national footprint.) That comes to an average of over eight spots on “Devious Maids” per client. (Source: B.I.G.SM database — Copyright © 2016 by Viamedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved)
In terms of local cable advertising categories, Automotive captured 24% of all investments which is on the low side in comparison with Automotive’s share company-wide across all programming (i.e., approximately one-third.) The second highest category (Tune-In) captures 19% of all investments on “Devious Maids”, which is almost 5-times the level we see company-wide. Food & Groceries is another relatively high category for the show – six percent (which is 3-times the level we see company-wide):
On to Season Four
When “Devious Maids” first aired, the show was not without controversy in the casting of four Latinas as housemaids, which at one level can be thought of reinforcing Hispanic stereotypes in America. But through the first three seasons of the show, television viewers (and critics alike) have seen countless times how these Latina housemaids can turn a stereotype right on its head! These are very competent (and at times scheming) women who know what they want as they navigate around — and through — the rich and famous denizens of Hollywood Hills.
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