ABC President Paul Lee on ‘Rising Star’s’ Slow Start: ‘We Were a Little Disappointed With the Numbers’

TCA 2014: Lee adds that he believes the competition’s voting method will revolutionize reality TV and spawn copycats

Last Updated: July 16, 2014 @ 4:06 PM

ABC President Paul Lee defended the slow start of summer show “Rising Star” early on during his executive session Tuesday at the summer Television Critics Association.

“We were a little disappointed with the numbers, we wanted it a little bit higher,” Lee admitted of the show’s soft ratings.

“It’s a live show — unlike the other talent shows where you get the pre-packaged first episodes — so we sort of had to learn on the roll,” he continued. “I think they learned on the roll extremely well, and the episodes now are really high quality.”

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Lee touted a rise in Twitter interaction surrounding the interactive show as one measurement for success.

“I think that revolution that we did — which is to say now we’re truly giving you live voting — it took about a week to get the West Coast set right. I think you’re going to see that idea roll through reality now, because you now really do have the ability to say, ‘I vote this person [through] now.'”

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On NBC’s last-minute move to take thunder away from the “Rising Star” premiere with a new “America’s Got Talent,” Lee simply said, “We live in a competitive world, we all compete.”

“Rising Star” debuted to a 1.5 fast national rating in the key 18-49 demographic on June 22, according to preliminary numbers available at the time. That evening, “AGT” had a 2.1 in the demo.

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