My first full-time job out of college was working at a restaurant in Ardsley, New York. Admittedly, it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I first stepped out into the “real world” with a shiny, new 4-year college degree, but my time there allowed me to work side-by-side with an interesting group of waiters and waitresses – a very decent group of people all in all, dealing with the everyday pressures of serving the restaurant’s clientele (not to mention trying to make ends meet on a pretty thin salary and so-so tips.)
In other words, exactly the opposite kind of folks prowling, prancing and preening their way around the SUR Restaurant & Bar in West Hollywood, California, which serves as the main stage for Bravos’ reality-series, “Vanderpump Rules.”
Perhaps a little background is in order. Lisa Jane Vanderpump (L.J.V.) is a British restaurateur and TV personality, best known for her role in Bravo’s hydra-headed “Real Housewives” franchise (“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”) Bravo decided to “line-extend” L.J.V. into her own reality-series that vaguely resembles “Real Housewives” – the difference being that rather than following the lives and dramas of rich, middle-aged married women, we are now treated to the lives and dramas of not-so-rich young adults (and I use the term “adults” lightly) who work for L.J.V. in her SUR restaurant.
Wannabe actors and actresses waiting on tables with (or without) a little attitude is hardly a new story, but the waitstaff at L.V.J’s restaurant takes “attitude” to a pretty high level. In all fairness, “wannabe” is not exactly the right word since these denizens of L.A. are of course on television. But whether they are actually “acting”, pretending to act or just being completely real and natural is a bit unclear. But there’s nothing unclear about their behavior, which ranges from serial cheating to pathological lying, swearing and altercations with customers. And presiding over this lovely little group (I won’t say “mess”), dispensing much-needed motherly advice, is none other than L.J.V., hence the eponymous title, “Vanderpump Rules.”
My guess is that watching this show satisfies some sort of “guilty pleasure” – but whatever the case may be, “Vanderpump Rules” had more or less maintained healthy ratings and shares while doubling the number of episodes from Season One to Season Three:
Upscale & Educated Viewers
My conception of the average “Vanderpump Rules” viewer was just that – “average” across most standard Rentrak household demographics. But after a quick review of the show’s Season Three household characteristics, I was way off. As can be seen in the chart below, homes with the highest income accrue an average rating more than double that of homes with the lowest income. Indeed, there is a consistent rise in rating level with income:
In terms of Race/Ethnicity, African American and Hispanic homes pull down the highest ratings, 12% and 11% higher than the average rating across all homes. And education-wise, homes with at least one member with a college degree accrue ratings 17% higher than the average:
Local Cable Advertising Demand
Over the past two seasons (Two & Three), 160+ local cable advertisers ordered nearly 1,300 30-second spots across 45 Viamedia markets (and 100+ sub-DMA advertising zones.) That comes to an average of about 8 spots per advertisers. (Source: B.I.G.SM database — Copyright © 2015 by Viamedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved)
“Vanderpump Rules” is one of the few shows we’ve blogged about in this space in which Tune-In represents the largest advertising category (23% share) — just nudging out the traditional leader, Automotive (20% share.) Undoubtedly, the show’s upscale viewers are a desirable target for competing cable networks:
On to Season Four
Back in July it was announced that “Vanderpump Rules” would be renewed for another season (which premiered on November 2nd.) But there was never really any doubt about a new season given the fact that Lisa Vanderpump has become a very valuable asset to Bravo. She’s one of the few remaining (and likable) characters to survive five full seasons of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, and she has become Bravo’s go-to “line-extension” with “Vanderpump Rules.” She may not be a very good restaurant manager, and I suspect a good deal of her waitstaff couldn’t care less about her “rules” or how she “rules over them”… but it all makes for guilty pleasure TV viewing that has attracted quite a few viewers and advertisers alike.
For more information on Viamedia, visit www.viamediatv.com.
– Written by Jonathan Sims, VP Media Research, Viamedia