'Political Animals' Debuts Weakly for USA Network

Categories: 2-Featured,Cable TV

Written By

July 16th, 2012

The premiere of USA miniseries Political Animals averaged 2.6 million viewers and 675,000 adults 18-49 (a 0.5 adults 18-49 rating) and 834,000 adults 25-54 in live plus same day DVR viewing according to Variety.  Variety calls it a modest debut, but that seems gentle considering that repeats of NCIS and Law & Order: SVU routinely perform better that.

Granted Political Animals aired at 10pm which is one of the tougher primetime hours, but by contrast last Thursday night Suits averaged 3.7 million and a 1.2 adults 18-49 rating at 10pm. While the series was billed as a six-part miniseries, it was always assumed there could be another season if it did well in the ratings.  That seems less likely now.

  • Max


  • Jon

    Dayum, did not expect such a low number.

  • Otto

    It was terrible. Bad acting. Bad writing. Bad direction. What was USA thinking?

  • Tommy

    Holey CRAP! I was expecting at the very least a 1.2, but was honestly hoping to go beyond 1.5.

    Looks like this will actually be a “Limited-Series” :(

  • Jenna

    WOW…Kinda shocked by those numbers. Based on the amount of promotion and the hype surrounding the show I expected to see something much better, at LEAST for the premiere. These numbers don’t look “modest” to me…looks more like a dud. :/ Haven’t watched the show yet, but I am interested to see how it is. I guess it may stay a mini-series after all.

  • Max

    It sort of felt like Greg Berlanti was pissed about the axing of Brothers & Sisters, so he decided to make this. Granted, other show runners have had success duplicating similar type programming (Sorkin recently with Newsroom and all) but I guess viewers are tired of “family + political drama.”

  • Miles

    Another liberal show, they are a dime a dozen…yawn, rather watch paint dry.

  • Bryan

    I think many news sites have been afraid to say the obvious to the much-loved USA – their ratings are not what they used to be. Basically every show is down this year, and the net that used to have the most watched cable shows seems to be struggling to compete with the other cable nets now.

    As for this show, I’m not surprised. It was just too “dirty” for my tastes. Some people bag on USA for their “blue skies” approach, with light-hearted content, but I personally enjoyed that. Shows like Monk, Psych, Burn Notice and White Collar used to be really good, pretty wholesome shows all around. Now, starting with Suits last year – they want to go darker. More “mature” with cursing (s-word, other bombs more frequently) and sex-appeal and I personally don’t like it. It’s even starting to leak into other vets, like White Collar (the s-word was used several times in last week’s premiere).

    BTW, I’m not some old person either. I’m in my early 20s. USA was (and still is, but to a much lesser extent) a good network for not-so-disgusting content (SVU aside). But sadly, their desire to be more mature is disappointing, and will lead people like me to stop watching as much. Somewhat, I think that’s what happened here with Political Animals.

  • Samunto

    Given all the hype and pedigree involved i honestly expected very high viewing figures atleast around 5mil. Those are very weak numbers.

  • AppleStinx

    I was going to tune out when the oriental woman put a finger in her throat to purge in the toilet bowl, but then I wanted to know how Hilary Clinton’s life would have been had she divorced Bill. :smile:

  • Eric


    Grow a pair!

  • TomSFBay

    Perhaps the show could have been successful if it wasn’t a ripoff of the Clintons.

  • Craig

    Im sure it skews older. It was in direct competition with Longmire which also skews older but as we see hit a series high last night.

  • Michael

    That’s funny, Miles. When I want my bullimic gag-reflex to kick in, I just turn on Fox news. I haven’t had to watch much of it to stay slim.

  • One

    That certainly feels DOA, even by USA’s (somewhat) diminished standards. I wonder what turned people off…

  • Nadine

    it was just awful. We tried to stick with it, but gave up after about 40 minutes. I’ve rarely seen such bad writing and bad acting combined. Weaver was appalling; Ciaran Hinds (a usually reliable, terrific British actor) was just dreadful. The younger actors were nonentities dealing with a dreadful script punctuated by sozens of raunchy sex scenes to cover the lack of anything to say. And it was a pretty shameless ripoff of Bill & Hillary, twisted to some strange and lewd place. I’m amazed that many people stuck with. What was USA thinking?

  • Max

    I haven’t watched it yet – but I don’t know what USA was thinking putting this on Sunday night with all the competition of True Blood, Breaking Bad, RHONJ, Falling Skies and the gazillion other things on Sunday night…

  • Nadine

    @Miles — not it was not a liberal show!! Where the heck did you get that from? You mean because she was supposed to be Democrat? Well more voters are registered dems than anything else, so it’s the safest bet. The Dem president was despicable; the ex-Dem Prez was despicable; the Dem cabinet was a bunch of horse’s heinies — if this was a liberal show, I hope they do a conservative show pretty soon to give those creeps an equal shellacking.

  • juan

    that’s sad since I just saw the pilot and I though it was very good. oh well

  • CurlingIronLung99

    I blame the word “political” more than anything… that put me off. The second I hear anything related to politics I feel like stabbing myself in the face and plucking out my eyeballs.

    The fact that it’s on USA was a bit of a downer as well. All the reasons Bryan listed above why he enjoys the channel are all the reasons why I hate it. It’s fluff with no grit. I like dirty and I like swearing and I want more of it.

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