Bristol Palin

Theo Wargo/WireImage for Candie's

If Bristol Palin's Life's a Tripp were running for office, it would be dead in the polls.

Reviews for the new reality show were occasionally brutal, and, worse, ratings for Tuesday's premiere were plain awful.

How to explain the show's bad Nielsen start:

1. It Fought the Teen-Mommy Wars—and Lost: When she's not best known as politician Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol Palin is famous for being a teen mom, or, now that she's 21, a former teen mom to toddler son Tripp. But in TV land there's one teen-mom show, and that's Teen Mom (and, all right, its foremother, 16 and Pregnant.) When Life's a Tripp, as aired on Lifetime, went head-to-head in the 10 p.m. Tuesday hour against MTV's Teen Mom, the new cable show got crushed: 3.3 million viewers for Teen Mom versus just 726,000 for Life's a Tripp

2. It Suffered a Bad Break (Sort Of): Dance Moms, the Lifetime hit that led into Life's a Tripp, was down ratings-wise from its previous episode, so there's that. But no, Dance Moms wasn't down that much.

3. It Didn't Have Enough Sequins: Bristol Palin has the potential to be a draw—as a member of the ensemble on Dancing With the Stars, which enjoyed strong numbers as the younger Palin danced her way to the finals in the fall of 2010. 

4. It Didn't Have Enough Sarah Palin—No, Really: While Mama Grizzly was present on Life's a Tripp's premiere, she was not the star, and when Mama Grizzly is the star, she pulls in a crowd. Consider: The perceived ratings flop that was the one-and-done reality series Sarah Palin's Alaska started off with 5 million viewers and never fell below 2.5 million.  

5. It Was Flat-Out Rejected: There's really no other way to spin it. On a night where Game 4 of the NBA Finals dominated the free-TV competition, cable was seemingly unaffected. Top Tuesday shows like Rizzoli & Isles and Storage Wars were up substantially from last week. Even the slightly diminished Dance Moms averaged a solid 1.8 million viewers, nearly all of whom abandoned Life's a Tripp.

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