How Will TNT’s ‘Falling Skies’ Rate in Its Return?

Update: Falling Skies drew 4.461 million viewers and  million and a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating in its season premiere, down from last year’s premiere that drew a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating and 5.9 million viewers.

TNT’s Falling Skies returns Sunday night at 9pm ET with a two-hour season premiere. The show is TNT’s highest-rated scripted drama with adults 18-49 and yet last summer the show drew more negative comments for the highest-rated scripted show on a cable network than I’ve ever seen. We’re used to seeing such negative commentary about high-rated reality shows and competitions, but not so much with scripted fare.

While the Dallas premiere drew more total viewers (6.863 million) than the Falling Skies premiere, Falling Skies bettered Dallas by 33% with adults 18-49 in its premiere.  Of note while most of the scripted fare that aired the Sunday before July 4 last year took hits due to a three day holiday weekend, Falling Skies was mostly impervious.

TNT has had almost a year to run repeats of the show and give it more exposure so all other things being equal I wouldn’t be surprised if it ties or sets series highs. But all other things are not equal. With the NBA season running longer due to the fall lockout, Falling Skies will have to go up against game 3 of  the NBA finals on ABC. It will also have to go up against the end of golf’s U.S. Open which could draw big ratings if it’s close and Tiger Woods is still in the mix.

One red flag – at least several critics like the first few episodes of season two much more than season one. If I’m Turner head of programming Michael Wright of course I’d want good reviews, comments of praise on the Internet and good ratings. But if it’s a “pick one” situation give me the good ratings!

Below is a poll for season two ratings and the season one historical ratings to aid in your prognostications.

Falling Skies Season One 18-49 Ratings and Viewership:


Date 18-49 Rtg L+SD Viewers (Millions)
Sunday, June 19, 2011 2.0 5.905
Sunday, June 26, 2011 1.5 4.200
Sunday, July 03, 2011 1.4 4.066
Sunday, July 10, 2011 1.4 3.901
Sunday, July 17, 2011 1.4 4.269
Sunday, July 24, 2011 1.4 4.068
Sunday, July 31, 2011 1.5 4.312
Sunday, August 07, 2011 1.9 5.703
Sunday, August 07, 2011 1.9 5.541

Note: last year TNT counted the two-hour premiere as only one telecast for Nielsen purposes but counted the two-hour season finale as two telecasts.

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