Is Fox Counting Out John Cena’s ‘American Grit’? ‘Obviously, the Ratings Were Not Great,’ CEO Says

TCA 2017: But Gary Newman & Co. are still “huge fans” of WWE Superstar

Last Updated: August 8, 2017 @ 3:18 PM

Fox loves being in business with John Cena, co-chairman and CEO Gary Newman told TheWrap on Tuesday — so it’s a shame TV viewers don’t seem to hold their “American Grit” series in such esteem.

So, what should an executive do with a show that can’t pull decent Nielsen numbers, even with a bonafide stud as its star?

“We really have not sat down and talked about the future of it,” Newman said of “Grit” during an interview at the Television Critics Association press tour. “We are… committed to giving shows their 35-plus days to see how their ratings aggregate.”

“Obviously, the ratings were not great for the show this summer,” he said. “We wish that they had been higher.”

“We are huge fans of John, there’s just no question that he’s a star,” Newman continued, echoing the conundrum. “We had really hoped that in Season 2, more people would come to it.”

In addition to “Big Match” John’s large-as-life presence, Newman also said he likes the series’ “blue skies” setting, as well as the format’s competition aspects.

But the WWE Superstar seems to be the main draw for Fox.

“Clearly, John is a huge appeal to us,” Newman told us. “Did we not have a great personality in the center of it, it would have been a lot harder to justify picking it up for a second season.”

“American Grit” recently wrapped that season, in which its 0.5 average in the key 18-49 demographic placed it among the lowest-rated shows of the summer. The reality show fared better in ratings over its freshman run (a 0.9 in the spring), though even then the series existed on the cancellation bubble. Both of those figures include a week’s worth of delayed viewing where available