June 11, 2012

THE SKED: Early Sunday Cable Ratings

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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No one will ever confuse the ratings for MAD MEN with those of TRUE BLOOD, but it was the former moving in the right direction with its season finale last night.  The Season 5 finale was the show’s highest rated, with what should be around a 0.9 rating in 18-49s, and 2.7 million viewers, up around 10% from Season 4.  The season as a whole was up 15% or more from the prior season.  It should also be noted that the series has an exceptional increase in rating when those watching within 7 days of first airing are added, more than doubling the initial number.  Also exceptional (and the key to why the show works financially for AMC, despite ratings that are, even with all the adjustments, just medium):  almost half of its audience has a household income over $100K, making them exactly the kind of viewers advertisers want.  (Don–and especially Pete–would be proud.)

TRUE BLOOD had much bigger numbers last night with its Season 5 premiere.  No demo numbers are available yet, but its total audience of 5.2 million viewers (almost double Mad Men‘s viewership, despite being available in only a fraction as many homes) was down around 150,000 from last season’s premiere.  It’s a number that could easily be made up on HBO GO (which didn’t exist last season) and on other platforms.

The success story of the night in some ways was A&E’s LONGMIRE, which grew impressively in its second week.  It had the same 18-49 audience as the Mad Men season finale, but because it skews much older, that was on a base of 4.1 milloin total viewers (and one would venture to guess the viewership was more downscale than Mad Men‘s).  Still, that was a 22% rise in 18-49s from the series premiere, which is terrific news for the network.


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."