August 9, 2012

THE SKED CABLE RATINGS: “Dallas” Exits On a High Note (And a Note On FOX News)

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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TNT’s season finale of DALLAS, perhaps aided by USA’s decision to air a rerun Royal Pains in the timeslot, sprang to a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demo last night, its best rating since its 2d week on the air back in June.  That was up a remarkable half a ratings point from last week, and certainly gave TNT the send-off it wanted for the season cliffhanger, since the next episode won’t air until January 2013.  Around 40% of the total viewers were under 50, in line with the show’s typical performance.

Thinking of the proportion of older viewers to young, here’s a random but amazing factoid.  One often hears of how hugely successful FOX News is, and certainly among cable news networks that’s true.  However, that viewership is overwhelmingly composed of senior citizens.  The network’s biggest hit is THE O’REILLY FACTOR, and last night’s episode, while watched by almost 3 million people, had an audience that was, incredibly, 90% over 50 years old, with less than 300,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo.  To put that in perspective, it’s the same number of 18-49s that watched The LA Factor on CW this week, the lowest-rated show on all of broadcast television Tuesday night, and indeed one of the lowest rated in broadcast television history.  It’s also 1/3 of the 18-49s who watched last night’s Daily Show on Comedy Central (although 40% higher than that show’s total viewership, in accordance with its older audience).


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."