4/8 UPDATE: Toned Up did not appear in the renewal lineup Bravo released today. This series is presumed cancelled.
Bravo’s latest foray into the fitness world introduced us (those of us who didn’t already know who they were, anyways!) to Karena and Katrina, the fit and fab founders of Tone It Up, a super successful health and fitness online community. Bringing their healthy lifestyle advice to Bravo audiences seemed a natural fit for these two as Bravo captured them at play, at work and, of course, working out.
Toned Up Season 1 wrapped last week after a 6 week, 8-episode run. Full disclosure: I was totally a fan! I found this new series to be fun, entertaining, inspirational and even aspirational–all adjectives that Bravo typically strives for in their programming. Kat and Karena are the type of girls that everyone wants to know. This partly explains their business success and why Bravo thought they’d be a sure-fire hit for the network. How many series, after all, start out with the already established following of millions of fans and subscribers that Tone It Up brought? It probably seemed like a no brainer that a good chunk of their fan base would want to tune in to see how the Tone It Up girls live.
And, like I said, I thought their show had all the elements for success. The girls are beautiful, relatable and super likable. Their lives felt authentic and real but still a little bit better than yours or mine–the reality TV sweet spot. There were little doses of drama here and there, from their high-stakes DVD shoot in Hawaii to their conflict over moving out and on to the next phase of their lives as Kat prepared to tie the knot. There was even the hint of a blossoming love story between Karena and the downstairs neighbor…and who isn’t interested to find out how that plays out? (Hint, when the girls appeared on WWHL the night of the finale Karena said they’re still together and “super in love”!!)
So, with all Toned Up had going for it, Season 2 should be a shoe-in, right? Unfortunately, I’m not so sure. The all-important consideration of ratings success (or lack thereof) cannot be ignored. Up until the two season finale episodes (ratings not yet released), Toned Up averaged only 541,000 total viewers per episode. If past renewal decisions are an indication, this falls well below the second season cutoff line. Now, I would argue that Bravo didn’t prime Toned Up for ratings success given a 10:30pm air time on Thursday evenings with a lead-in from another brand new series: Courtney Loves Dallas.
I still think there might be hope for a second season of Toned Up. And, again, this is probably fueled in some part by personal bias as I’d love to see Kat & Karena return to Bravo. But, what if Bravo got more innovative with ways to reach the Tone It Up community and tapped into their popular YouTube channel or posted episodes on the Tone It Up blog each week? As a network, Bravo has already been groundbreaking in their efforts to integrate traditional TV viewership with online engagement. Toned Up seems like a perfect testing ground for some new ideas there. Or, maybe all it would take is a better time slot to give Toned Up a second season boost. What we know is that Karena and Katrina are down for round two. They’re asking fans to tweet Bravo and Kat even self-renewed the series on WWHL! (Andy asked her about wedding plans and she said we’d have to tune in for Season 2 to find out–I think Andy got a kick out of that!)
Perhaps this is the last we’ll see of Toned Up on Bravo but, luckily for me and all Kat & Katrina’s other new fans, there’s always ToneItUp.com to keep us in touch with our favorite fitness femmes!
What did you think of Toned Up? Would you like to see Kat & Karina return for Season 2?