Justin Bieber fever continues as all signs point to a ratings spike in new comedy “The Hard Times of RJ Berger” after Bieber tweeted about meeting the show’s creators, and expressing that he found the series funny.
The result is that MTV has just renewed the struggling raunchy teen comedy, which has averaged less than a million viewers a week, but saw ratings rise steadily after being mentioned by the floppy-haired singer. Comparatively, MTV ratings powerhouse “Jersey Shore” recently scored 5.3 million viewers for its second season premiere.
On July 19, the 16-year old pop star tweeted, “Just met the guys who created that new show on @MTV “The Hard Times of #RJBerger” — good dudes. Show’s on tonight at 10pm. Funny stuff.”
Showing the ever growing power of Twitter, and the reach of Bieber’s rabid fan base, that night the show’s ratings rose 9 percent, then 14 percent the week after. Since then the show has grown 31 percent in MTV’s coveted 12-34 demographic, with the most recent show garnering 993,000 viewers. Still, Bieber remains modest about his contribution with his rep saying that he is, “Happy he could help good people…if he helped at all.”
Despite the modest ratings, MTV renewed “The Hard Times of RJ Berger” in part because it wants to continue to grow their stable of teen scripted series, with a TV adaptation of “Teen Wolf” and an American version of British teen drama “Skins” on the way.
“We are 100 percent committed to scripted programming, and our current reality hits like “Teen Mom,” “If You Really Knew Me,” and, of course, “Jersey Shore,” provide an incredibly solid foundation for us to launch scripted series and let them gain traction,” said MTV President of Programming Tony DiSanto. “That’s key, because whereas reality tends to burn bright and fast, scripted series take time to grow. We have been so heavily branded as a reality network [that] it will take a beat for our viewers to embrace this new diverse slate on the channel. That’s why we are so thrilled by the response to ‘Hard Times.'”
Bieber’s positive comments came after an attempt by co-creator David Katzenberg to reach out to several famous friends to get the word out about the show, and using Twitter as a marketing tool. Katzenberg personally sent Bieber DVDs of the show to get his opinion and support. Other celebrities who have taken to Twitter to voice their love of the series include Katzenberg’s girlfriend Nicky Hilton and her sister Paris, Ryan Seacrest, Holly Madison, Rob Dyrdek, Lil’ Jon, and Travis Barker, who guest-starred as himself in one of the episodes.
“The show gets a big teen male audience,” Katzenberg said, adding that Bieber’s tweet couldn’t have come at a better time. “‘Hard Times’ is a word-of-mouth show and kids are not in school right now where they would be talking about it. That’s a problem for us, but Bieber’s fans are insanely loyal and I think it’s rubbing off on our show.”
The season finale of “The Hard Times of RJ Berger” will air Mon., Aug. 23 at 10/9c on MTV.
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