The latest episode for ABC's "Real O'Neals," a comedy series centered on a gay teenager raised in a Catholic family, had fewer than half the viewers of the program's pilot episode.
According to data compiled by The Nielsen Company, the "Real O'Neals" episode from Tuesday had approximately 2.9 million viewers and a 0.8 rating, which is well below the approximately 6.3 million viewers and 1.79 rating for the pilot episode in March.
Tuesday's episode also represented a decline from the April 5 episode, which garnered approximately 3.6 million viewers and a 1.04 rating.
"ABC's The Real O'Neals (0.8) also dropped below its milestone, going fractional for the first time, but it took a repeat lead-in from 'Fresh Off the Boat' (0.7) to get it there," reported spottedratings.com.
Debuting in March, "The Real O'Neals" is about a fictional Irish Catholic American family wherein one son comes out as gay and a daughter is leaving the faith.
Dan Savage, the controversial LGBT activist behind the anti-bullying campaign "It Gets Better," is one of the show's executive producers.
"The Real O'Neals" has garnered criticism by some groups, like the American Family Association and the Parents Television Council, for its graphic content and reported anti-Catholic humor.
"'The Real O'Neals' mocks Christianity and insults Catholicism. AFA recognizes this show ridicules people of faith, and Christians across America are offended by it," stated AFA President Wildmon last month.
The Parents Television Council, which has also taken issue with the program, released research it conducted on the graphic content on the series, which is rated TV PG.
"PTC research has found that the first three episodes of ABC's new show, 'The Real O'Neals' were saturated with adult content," noted PTC.
"Children watching were exposed to either sexual dialogue or bleeped profanities on an average of once every 43 seconds — in spite of the fact that the show is rated TV-PG and airs as early as 7:30 p.m. in half the country."
In its March 2 pilot episode, "The Real O'Neals" garnered over 6 million viewers. The following week the program was moved from Wednesday to Tuesday and with that saw a sharp decline in viewership.
Most weeks its ratings have been in a steady decline, though until Tuesday's episode the comedy show was able to stay above the 1.0 rating.
"To say 'The Real O'Neals' has been performing well in the ratings would be an overstatement, and a fairly big one at that. To say it's been performing well enough? That's considerably easier to swallow," observed one site that examines possible cancelations.
"The show's ratings since moving to its Tuesday home have been low — in five weeks, it's only been above 1.0 once, and then only at a 1.1. … Considering ABC Studios owns the show, that's probably good enough to get to a second season, so it moves into safe territory."