How Will TNT's 'Falling Skies' Rate in Its Return?

Categories: Cable TV

Written By

June 16th, 2012

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.

  • Baqinardo


  • Chris

    I enjoyed this show last year, I hope it does well, but with BOTH the NBA Finals and the US Open with Tiger Woods likely in the mix in primetime, let’s see if this show can hold its own. Let’s note that this show is on cable, while basketball and golf will be on broadcast.

  • Spen B

    A repeat at 12:46 AM got a 0.8 rating. Just saying.

  • FattyMcFatso

    People seem to be excited about it, but I’ll be conservative and say 1.5-1.7.

  • RobertN

    It’s ratings would be better if I were able to catch season 1 streaming on netflix. I don’t understand why more fledgling shows don’t offer this.

  • Robert Seidman

    @Spen, not worth making much of those repeats that aired immediately following NBA playoff games that drew huge ratings.

  • rob60990

    Sports rarely have any effect and i doubt it will on a show like this. Above a 2.0 to a series high

  • Temis

    It’ll get around 1.8, same place it left off last year, still with the younger skewing demos. People may bitch about the show, but how many action-centric sci fi series do we have to watch anyway? It’s this and The Walking Dead, and that’s about it. SyFy does nothing but fluff anymore.

    Falling Skies’ ratings are a measure of the desperation of the audience for anything even remotely worth watching. If it had some good competition, it would be toast.

  • John A

    Never understood the hate for its ratings. I didnt like the show but comments made it sound like a big flop.

  • jordan

    The critics gave it good reviews last season too. They just change their minds because the buzz of the show was so bad. And this season, the reviews are the same as last season. I’ve seen the reviews on metacritic. The reviews are definitely not better than last season. This is definitely the worst genre show on cable. The writing was horrible.

  • don

    its a great show i see above 2 ;)

  • joss

    i dont care only show i watch on that stupid network is Leverage

  • Walt

    I’d say 2.2
    Critics are commenting positively so far. Even Ryan McGee at the A.V. Club who didn’t like the show last year.

  • Walt

    The reviews are most certainly better this year. Metacritic has only counted 5 reviews and looking at them, critics like Brain Lowry who gave the series a bad review last year, they are vastly more positive. New showrunner, new writers. This season will be better.

  • Dennis


  • Dillan

    I’m predicting 2.0.

    I would love if it got more, though. The show is amazing, and I’ve been excited for the new season ever since they left us with that huge cliffhanger last season!

  • William Haney

    An interesting showdown in the ratings between “Falling Skies” and “True Blood”?

  • Dan S

    I predict a new high of at least 2.0-2.2 for FS.I think it’ll also increase its overall viewership to boot

  • Richard Steven Hack

    This is a really bad show, on a par with The Event.

    The only positive parts of the show – aside from Moon Bloodgood, who is hot, but not one of the great actresses – are Colin Cunningham and Sarah Carter. Everyone else is a total loss.

    The premise is ridiculous. The writing is awful. The directing is awful. Very few of the plots make any sense at all. The special effects are awful (particular the aliens). The finale of season one ended on such a ridiculous note it was embarrassing.

    There’s really nothing good to be said about the show except the two characters played by the actors mentioned above.

    The fact that some critics liked season one is meaningless. Were these guys sci-fi buffs? Probably not. If the ratings were OK in season one, it’s because sci-fi fans are starved for anything remotely resembling sci-fi these days – and Falling Skies ONLY REMOTELY resembles decent sci-fi.

    Wait until end of July and watch Alphas on SyFy. THAT is an excellent sci-fi show with engaging characters, fresh concepts, good acting, good writing, and a plausible premise. I know, that’s unusual for SyFy, but somehow it happened. :-)

  • tvfreak

    My guess: Over 2.0 – not by much, but maybe 2.1 or 2.2 because we Falling Skies fans all wanna see what the heck happened after such a crazy cliffhanger last season…

    @Richard Steven Hack: I agree with your last paragraph – Alphas is awesome, no question. But I have to disagree with your assessment of FS – and, of course, The Event, which is in my all-time top ten favorites. What would you consider true sci-fi? Stuff like Doctor Who?

    Oh, and the effects are not, as you say, awful. Did you see the pic of the Mech on the top of this page? It looks really real and fearsome. It’s not quite Lost/Event/Fringe/Heroes-grade but it sure beats most made-for-Syfy fare, Alphas excluded of course. I would put it on the same level as Supernatural or Terra Nova.

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