Cable networks upped the programming game this fall with new shows like Discovery’s “Jungle Gold” and hit returning series like AMC’s “Walking Dead,” Showtime’s “Homeland,” and FX’s “American Horror Story.” The fall season also saw solid ratings from niche reality and tabloid series, from A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” to TLC’s “Breaking Amish” to MTV’s “Teen Mom.” And as Thanksgiving nears, original series from Hallmark are going strong. The list goes on. But to start with, here’s 10.
AMC “The Walking Dead”
The walkers are unstoppable. Literally. Season 3 of the zombie series has been emotionally powerful, whether it’s about Hershel’s deadly injury, Lori’s death taking toll on the other survivors, Rick dealing with new prison inmate cohabitants or governor’s twisted persona. The latest episode on Sunday captured a 7.6 HH rating, drawing 10.4 million total viewers. It remains the #1 program of the fall season among Adults 18-49. Having a megahit might mean mega ad sales. According to Ad Age, commercials on “The Walking Dead” are now charging $375,000 per ad package, more than what most top broadcast shows charge for a 30-second spot.
Showtime “Homeland” and “Dexter”
These two hit shows airing on Sunday nights have delivered record-breaking ratings for Showtime. On Oct 28, “Homeland” drew 2.07 million viewers while “Dexter” grabbed 2.28 million viewers, marking the first time two of the network’s original series have had more than two million viewers each in one night. While “Homeland” was up 19% vs. the previous week and posted series-high ratings, “Dexter” delivered its biggest viewership since its season premiere.
FX “American Horror Story”
With Live+7 ratings data, the October 17 premiere telecast of “American Horror Story: Asylum” set a new record for the highest delivery of W18-49 (2.35 million) of any program in FX’s 18-year history, and it tied for the number one-ranked FX telecast ever in delivery of Adults 18-34 (2.48 million; a tie with “Sons of Anarchy” Season 5 premiere, 9/11/12). From Live+Same Day to Live+7, Chapter 1 of American Horror Story: Asylum, “Welcome to Briarcliff,” recorded percentage increases of +43% in Total Viewers (3.85 million to 5.05 million), +46% in Adults 18-49 (2.78 million to 4.07 million) and +39% in Adults 18-34 (1.78 million to 2.48 million). This marks the first time the “American Horror Story” franchise has delivered over 4 million in Adults 18-49 and 5 million in Total Viewers.
FX “Sons of Anarchy”
The ride’s still good for the “Sons of Anarchy,” now in its 5th season. The 8th episode of the season set the table for how things will pan out for the remaining five episodes. The motorcycle drama recently saw a 17% boost in Men 18-49, a 5% lift in W18-34 and a 7% increase in total viewers (4.6 million).
Hallmark Channel “The Wishing Tree”
On the heels on last week’s “Countdown to Holiday Preview Weekend”, nearly 3.9 million unduplicated viewers tuned in to watch wishes come true in the November 10th world premiere of Hallmark Channel original movie, “The Wishing Tree,” garnering a 2.3 HH rating. It becomes Hallmark Channel’s highest rated original movie of the year among HH, W25-54, AD 25-54, and total viewers. For the weekend (Sat-Sun, 6am-6am), Hallmark Channel ranked as the #1 cable network among W25-54 with a .7 rating.
MTV “Teen Mom” and “Catfish: The TV Show”
MTV scored a big Monday night with the season 3 premiere of “Teen Mom 2” ranking as the evening’s #1 original cable series among P12-34, and the debut of “Catfish: The TV Show” ranking second for November 12. Additionally, according to Social Guide, “Catfish: The TV Show” ranked as the most social cable television series Monday night, followed by “Teen Mom 2,” which garnered multiple trending show topics across Twitter throughout the evening. The season 3 premiere of “Teen Mom 2” delivered a 3.2 P12-34 rating and drew in 3.4 million total viewers, up from the final season of “Teen Mom,” and outpacing the “Teen Mom 2” season two finale. New series “Catfish: The TV Show” debuted with a 2.6 P12-34 rating, making it the highest rated MTV series debut since “Ridiculousness.”
TLC “Breaking Amish”
“Breaking Amish” has become TLC’s #1 freshman series ever with P2+ total viewers and among HH and W18-34 ratings and delivery. It was also the highest rated series among P/W25-54 and W18-49 since “What not to Wear” in 2003, and the network’s number one series in 2012 to-date among HH, P2+, P/W 25-54/18-49/18-34 in ratings and delivery. The season garnered a 2.5 HH rating and was viewed by an average of 3.2M P2+ viewers, and ranked #1 among all ad-supported cable in its Sunday time period in delivery among HH, P2+, P25-54, W18-49/18-34 and #2 among W25-54 and P18-49/18-34.
Discovery “Gold Rush” and “Jungle Gold”
With the return of “Gold Rush” and the premiere of all-new series “Jungle Gold” on October 26th, Discovery Channel was the top network on all of TV among men (M25-54, M18-49 and M18-34 delivery) for the night, and outperformed programming on CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX. Discovery was also the #1 cable network among P25-54, M25-54 and Men 2+ delivery. The strong ratings for both “Gold Rush” and “Jungle Gold” resulted in Discovery Channel’s highest-rated October night in the history of the network. “Gold Rush” season premiere “Million Dollar Season” earned a 2.90 HH / 2.43 P25-54 / 3.27 M25-54 AA%, delivered 4.45 million viewers P2+, and posted double-digit gains over the season 2 launch in all key demos. The premiere was also the network’s highest-rated primetime telecast in all of 2Q12, 3Q12 and 4Q12 to date (P2+, P25-54 delivery). Freshman series “Jungle Gold” earned a 1.85 HH / 1.50 P25-54 / 2.00 M25-54 AA%. The premiere episode “Culture Shock” delivered 2.76 million viewers P2+ and was Discovery’s highest-rated series premiere this year in key demos and fifth highest series premiere overall for the network.