Is TNT’s ‘Falling Skies’ The Lebron James of Summer Cable Shows? & Are Genre Shows Really Impervious to Big Sporting Events?

Falling Skies drew 4.461 million viewers and  million and a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating in its two-hour season premiere, down from last year’s premiere that drew a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating and 5.9 million viewers. Last year Falling Skies saw a significant drop in its second week, shedding 25% of its series premiere 18-49 rating (0.5). It would only go a tenth lower the remainder of season one.

Unlike last year, Falling Skies had to battle with game 3 of the NBA finals in its season two premiere. Last week the refrain from some commenters was that the NBA finals didn’t matter, that genre show ratings are impervious to major sporting events. That’s a generalization that assumes that there is effectively no crossover of Falling Skies viewers and fans of the NBA in general, fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat and perhaps especially haters of Lebron James

The Walking Dead was cited as an example of being a sports-proof genre show, but that’s a generalization that really only proves that The Walking Dead is immensely popular, and far more popular than Falling Skies (as well as far more popular than all scripted cable shows at this point).

The Walking Dead scored a 3.8 in its season two premiere (against Sunday Night Football and the MLB NLCS) and a 3.5 adults 18-49 rating in its mid-season finale (also against Sunday Night Football). But it scored a 4.7 adults 18-49 rating in its season finale in March when it did not face Sunday Night Football.  Those  numbers scream “haha, we’re more popular than every other cable scripted show and pretty much every one-hour drama on the broadcast nets!!” But those numbers do not suggest that The Walking Dead is impervious to big sporting events.

With the NBA finals over the only thing that might end the debate for some is if Falling Skies goes up this week. That’s possible, but I think the more likely outcome is that it simply doesn’t go down or at least not down 25% from its season premiere.

Falling Skies is TNT’s highest-rated show in the demo and was the highest-rated scripted show last week but much like Lebron, the Falling Skies haters will pick it apart regardless.

Below is a poll for season two episode 2 ratings but first, the season one historical ratings.

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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