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.

  • Mike

    2.3 an the same amount of viewers as dallas

  • groove365


  • SpyTV

    I thought FS Skies was pretty good last year, and I’m happy that the critics seem to think this season is shaping up even better. I agree with tvfreak, the effects were pretty darn good (If you think the effects are bad, please tell me exactly what you think “real” alien mechs would look like?!). For the record, I really like Alphas too.

  • TVGuy

    Well, TNT has certainly given it attention. They promoted it during the NBA Playoffs, and aired first season repeats after Inside the NBA. I say 1.8-2.0.

  • CarShark

    Even though I got burned by Dallas, I’ll go high again and say

  • CarShark

    …2.5. Sorry about that.

  • Colin


  • Justin121


  • David Howell

    As an action-oriented sci-fi, Falling Skies might be more vulnerable to sport than something more “geeky” like Fringe. Probably a bigger audience overlap in young male demos in particular.

    1.6 or 1.7 tonight, but it’ll actually go up from there midseason.

  • Silvio

    1.5 A18-49 with 4.5 million total viewers.

    Terrible timing for a TNT’s Falling Skies Premiere. Two-hour season 2 premiere at 9-11PM goes again final day of US Open on NBC and NBA finals on ABC.
    US Open viewership should peak at approximately 8:20PM to 10:30PM when leaders Furyk and McDowell (tee off 6:10PM, 3:10PM PST) should be at back 9 holes.
    NBA finals Game 3 viewing should peak during 2nd half (around 9:45PM to 11PM).

    There is repeat of both Falling Skies episodes (11PM, 12AM) + there is thing called DVR = with those numbers included FS should be OK – but original A18-49 ratings not so.
    Episode 3 goes against Game 6 of NBA finals next Sunday (series tied at 1-1, so it’s very probable it goes 6+ games, doubt either team can now win 3 in a row).

    The Killing (AMC), Client List (Lifetime) and Girls (HBO) season finales could also be affected by sports heavy day. Also, marginal Showtime shows are all having season finales today: Nurse Jackie, The Borgias and The Big C (perhaps series finale). I really don’t know which of those shows are female skewed (and hate to guess it) and therefore to be less affected. But it’s probable all those won’t have usual season finale ratings spike, instead being flat to “regular” episodes.

    Young skewing True Blood is probable to suffer from NBA today. Similar, various “Sunday movies”. On the other hand, old-skewing Longmire and The Glades are probable to take hit from US Open. MLB baseball on ESPN and College World Series on ESPN2 are certain to take big hit.

  • huldu

    Falling Skies is pretty terrible, but watchable. The same applies to Alphas…

  • One

    US Open probably won’t challenge. Woods is +4 going into today.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see at least a 2.0.

  • Walt

    @Richard Steven Hack
    Thanks for your input. Everybody cares. And thanks for comparing this great show to a sh*tty SyFy show!

  • Constance Kurtz

    Too many things on tonight, I will DVR Falling Skies, have to watch finale of The Killing or someone will spoil it for me, then Longmire, and DVR The Glades later that night.

  • Californiadgd


  • Nick

    I guess a 1.9-2.0. I’d say higher, except for the NBA Finals.

    Everybody who says that sports really won’t affect this show are wrong. Sports interfering with a show hasn’t happened a lot because most network shows are female-skewing, while sports are male-skewing . Almost no audience overlap= no audience decline, but big audience overlap = audience decline.

  • tv_viewer

    My guess is 1.5 – 1.7 rating and 5 million total viewers because of the NBA finals. I think this is a male skewing show so of course sports will impact its ratings.

  • Nadine

    Since it didn’t do all that well to start with, why is this such an issue?

  • Dillan


    Because it’s TNT’s biggest show in the 18-49 demo.

  • Samuel

    I’d say the same or higher, but not much higher.

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