'Boardwalk Empire' Season Four Premiere Viewership Down From Season Three

Categories: Cable TV

Written By

September 9th, 2013


The fourth season premiere of Boardwalk Empire debuted with 2.4 million viewers, down from last season's premiere which notched 2.9 million viewers, according to Deadline. Including the 11 PM replay, Boardwalk Empire attracted a total viewership of 3.2 million. Over three same-night airings, last year's premiere pulled in 4.6 million viewers.

  • Brad Stocker

    What did you expect from the network that just pulled Deadwood when it was getting going.

  • Stuart Pitt

    @Craig who wrote, “I think they alienated a lot of fans when they killed off Jimmy…”

    Agreed. Then add in that Nucky’s primary rival in season 3 was Gyp Rosetti. Rosetti was a nut job who was too erratic of a character and detracted from the quality of the show. He wasn’t that strong of a character to feature for an entire season.

  • Bjm

    I didn’t know Boardwalk Empire started Sunday. I’ll just watch it on HBO-Go. No problem.

  • Rick

    Hilarious to read the HBO crepe hangers.

    I swear, some of you know NOTHING about HBO’s business model.

  • shogun


    HBO isn’t CBS or NBC. They don’t drag shows out long after they’ve hit their creative end for ratings. Sure, their new shows aren’t guarenteed to be True Blood level popular, but neither is True Blood at this point.

  • BBFan

    TB is not being canceled because of it’s yearly production costs & BE does not cost as much as Thrones. TB merch sales alone made it a highly profitable investment for HBO. TB is being canceled because Alan Ball doesn’t want to produce it any more. He walked away after S4, & the show has had two different show runners since. It’s transformed from being a southern soap in the vampire genre to trying to be an epic battle. Ball prefers producing soaps where the show is more about the chars than the plot.

    BE’s demise was rooted in always being about the plot & developing chars in the background. Viewers never really took a liking to any chars in the show.

    Thrones probably peaked in S3 with the popularity of Rob. The Starks are likely the only chars viewers care about. Every one is a threat to them. What would the ratings for the Sopranos have been in S4 if Tony had died in S3? That’s the challenge before Thrones. I watched S3 in it’s entirety over the holiday weekend & two things came to mind. The male Starks are more likeable than the females, I’m caring less about the dragon-wielding blond as her power grows, & the action is both short-lived & not all that exciting. It lacks the adrenaline rush a viewer feels with Walking Dead & Spartacus.

    True Detective may prove no more interesting than Femme Fatales & the other series will likely peak at 6 Feet Under levels. HBO is likely headed for declining ratings over the next 3 yrs.

  • shogun


    You’re probably right about BE, but your pretty wildly glossing why True Blood is ending.

    And on Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark, Jon Snow, and Daenerys Targaryen disagree with you.

  • MediaMan23

    I enjoy Boardwalk Empire, although the comments about Jimmy resonate (terrific character killed off). And the competition this Sunday, as also mentioned, rings true.
    However, if you were tuning in for the first time (which is important if you want to lasso in new viewers), it would have been impossible to follow the parade of different characters. Of course Van Patten’s direction was superb.

  • Weez

    @ BBFan

    Saving your post so for the lulz. Will re-post when your predictions turn out to be horribly incorrect. If anything, HBO will likely gain subscribers over the next three years.

  • BBFan

    HBO rose to a peak of 30-31m subscribers during the rise of True Blood. It has since fallen to 28-29m subscribers while both SHO & Starz have grown by millions. Starz has been the most impressive because they’ve had the least success with series. There’s the short-lived Spartacus & then a wide gap with everything else. Starz is now in over 20m homes & that growth has been built mostly on their movie offerings. Access to Disney’s & Sony’s future films give them access to the best of Marvel & Star Wars. Their recent deal for FOX’s libary gives them those films from the past including Avatar. They let it be known they want FOX’s future films as well so HBO knows they’ll be bidding against them. Encore is in over 43m homes & has access to those films after Starz.

    It’s not hard to imagine Starz growth if they prove capable of developing more series capable of reaching Spartacus level of success.

  • Weez

    @ BBFan

    Your information is close, but not quite accurate. HBO’s subscriber levels haven’t fallen to 28-29 million, they’re still at the same level they’ve been (30-31 million) for quite some time, according to the recent information I was able to find (which compared Netflix subscription numbers to HBO’s). They’ve been stagnant in that regard, but when you consider that an HBO sub costs at least $17.99, and a subscription for Starz is just $10-12.99 (depending on the provider), you can see where the discrepancy in terms of profit would come from.

    My inkling that HBO will finally begin to gain new subscribers is predicated on the number of shows they have in-production, and the talent involved with those projects (J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Guillermo del Toro, David Fincher, Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Murphy, Matthew McConaughey & Woody Harrelson, David Milch, etc., etc., etc.) Essentially, I think they’ll be expanding to a second night of original programming, and continuing to develop their HBO Go platform (which, by all accounts, has been a huge success for them). More original series airing means more new exclusive content coming to that platform, which should drive subscriber levels higher than they’ve been since the latter days of The Sopranos.

    Not every show needs to be a True Blood or Game of Thrones, and as a network, they understand that quality and variety are what keeps them on top, even if that means that they support a low-rated show well past the point that another network would have (Treme, Enlightened), because they’re smart about cultivating good relationships with great artists, writers, and actors/actresses.

    That’s not to take anything away from the growth that Showtime and Starz have shown. Competition is a great thing, as it drives competitors to succeed and to strive to constantly do better. As someone who use to love film (and actually went to film school for a few years before deciding that a more reliable degree might be a good idea), I’ve loved seeing the medium of television grow and adapt into what we’re getting today (basically, an over-abundance of high-quality television that values writing, characterization, and smart story-telling over SFX and easy drama).

  • BBFan

    variety.com 2013 digital news netflix-keeps-its-lead-over-hbo-in-u-s-subscriber-count-1200495335 HBO 28.77m (+50k from Q32012 presumably for Thrones). It hasn’t been in a 30-31m range since S3 of Blood. Netflix 29.17m, SHO 22.7m, & Starz 21.8m. Over that time period, SHO & STRZ +300k.

    The fact that SHO & STRZ are growing at about the same clip is not surprising. For $18/mo you can get HBO. For $20/mo you can get SHO+TMC+STRZ+ENC. So you get the higher valued SHO series & the higher valued movie pack for slightly more than HBO. I think it’s something like 30 channels in all. If Black Sails proves to be as big a draw as Spartacus, I can definitely envision HBO subscribers making the switch.

    If movie pack deals are outpacing individual sales for SHO & STRZ then I can see them forming a partnership to share content. That won’t hurt the movie pack deals & will increase the value of their individual sales. For example, SHO might get access to the Avengers a month after it airs on ENC. STRZ might get access to Homeland a month after the latest season ends on STRZ. That avoids anti-trust issues if they were to merge and could lead their combined #’s to over 50m. ENC alone could push towards 46m. It would be an effective way to combat subscribers they may be losing to both Netflix & HBO.

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