Critical derision and middling ratings be darned, NBC has ordered up a second season of "The Marriage Ref."
 
In addition, NBC also announced on Monday (April 5) that the less maligned "Minute to Win It" and "Who Do You Think You Are?" have also been renewed for next season.
 
"All of these new series have demonstrated increasing popularity and generated far-reaching interest among viewers," states Paul Telegdy, executive vice president for alternative programming for NBC and Universal Media Studios. "Equally important, each has a compelling and innovative format, and a second season will allow these shows to grow creatively and attract an even wider audience."
 
Attempts to parse recent Nielsen ratings for any evidence of this "increasing popularity" failed.
 
"Who Do You Think You Are?," for example, has declined in total viewers on four consecutive weeks, though it has also helped to shore up NBC's unsteady Friday night 8 p.m. hour. This past week, the genealogy series topped a new "Ghost Whisperer," making it the first time any regular competitor in this slot has beaten a fresh episode of the Jennifer Love Hewitt drama since 2006. Produced by Lisa Kudrow, "Who Do You Think You Are?" has averaged 6.8 million viewers and a 1.6 rating in the 18-49 demo.
 
It's been difficult to chart the ratings progress for "The Marriage Ref," which comes from Jerry Seinfeld. NBC is claiming the show has averaged 7.2 million viewers and a 3.0 demo rating, but those numbers include a post-Olympics tryout that drew what has been the show's largest audience by a significant margin. Last week, a new "Marriage Ref" drew under 5.3 million viewers and a 2.2 demo rating.
 
"Minute to Win It," hosted by Guy Fieri, has averaged 6.0 million viewers and a 2.0 demo rating in its regular Sunday airings. This Sunday's episode was under both of those averages.