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‘The Real Love Boat’ Set to Move from CBS to Paramount+; Streaming Provides Options for Underperforming Series

David Satin

Full speed ahead, and set a course for love Paramount+ subscribers! “The Real Love Boat,” one of the newest reality shows on television is moving from its former linear home on CBS exclusively to a streaming format on Paramount+ starting Wednesday, Nov. 2.

The move was made because despite debuting less than a month ago, “The Real Love Boat” has seen terrible ratings. The first two episodes combined, including DVR and on-demand viewing, saw only 2.59 million viewers tune in, according to The Hollywood Reporter. By comparison, the first episode of HBO Max’s hit series “House of the Dragondrew nearly 10 million viewers across platforms, despite exclusively being on premium cable and a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming platform.

“The Real Love Boat” was never intended to reach ratings of that caliber, but its poor showing must have served as a shock to Paramount executives. The fact that they were willing to give up on its linear run after just four episodes shows flexibility on their part, but also underscores how dramatically the series must have underperformed internal expectations.

The best-case scenario for Paramount now is that the “Love Boat” brand and lower pressure to perform on Paramount+ will revitalize the series. With four episodes already aired and much, if not all of the season’s production complete, tossing the rest of Season 1 in the garbage doesn’t make much financial sense for Paramount. But it’s already a very bleak omen for potential future seasons of “The Real Love Boat.”

However, the company has seen success on Paramount+ with unscripted programming with the recently revived “Ink Masters”; “MTV’s The Challenge”; the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” franchise; CBS staples “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” and “The Amazing Race”; and much more. So, while this move could simply just be the easiest way for the studio to burn off remaining episodes that are already in the can, putting it on the same platform as some of reality TV’s most popular programs could help it find the audience that alluded it on broadcast.

Paramount is not the only company moving a property with a storied past to streaming this fall. NBCUniversal moved its daytime drama “Days of Our Livesexclusively to its streaming service Peacock in September, after a 57-year linear run. Like “Real Love Boat,” the storied soap opera was shifted to streaming because ratings no longer justified it being broadcast on a network.

NBCU also gave up on the Peacock original “Girls5eva” last week, and was ready to cancel it before selling off its rights to Netflix. Netflix is giving the series at least one more season to prove it can draw in viewers with a more visible streaming home.

The moves by Paramount and NBCU are good indicators that media companies are no longer married to hard-and-fast rules that ruled the industry for decades. In days past, if a linear show had bad ratings, the network was either forced to ride it out for the season, cancel it and leave remaining episodes unaired, or air the rest of a season over the summer or on random Saturdays. Now, however, studios have the opportunity to prolong the lives of these shows on streaming, while also clearing the way for potentially better-performing series on linear.

The changes underscore how big of an impact streaming has had on the media landscape. Executives are able to respond to adversity with more flexibility than ever before, which means that consumers can always have at least some hope that their favorite show will live on somewhere else if it gets canceled by its original broadcast home.

Paramount Plus

Paramount+ is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 40,000+ TV show episodes from BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and more. The lineup includes “1883,” “Tulsa King,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and MTV’s “Laguna Beach.” From well-loved franchises to compelling originals, Paramount+ offers a great library worth streaming. Live NFL games are included. The service also offers the option to watch your live CBS affiliate.

Subscribers can choose between the Essentials Plan (which includes ads) for $4.99/month, or go commercial-free with the Premium Plan for $9.99/month. Subscribers can add Showtime to either plan for an additional fee.

With their Premium Plan, in addition to not having ads, you will also get access to your local CBS affiliate to stream your local news, prime-time lineup, and late-night. You will also be able to download offline and watch select shows in 4K.

With the lower cost “Essential” plan, you will still be able to watch live NFL games, Champions League, and national news – but you will no longer get your local CBS affiliate.

With their new app, enjoy advanced recommendations, curated homepages, and new content categories while still being able to stream major live sports like NFL, College Football, College Basketball. Sports fans will also appreciate the service’s inclusion of NFL on CBS, PGA Tour, along with every match of UEFA Champions League and Serie A.

The service was previously called CBS All Access.

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