Despite rave reviews — including Sepinwall's written review and our joint podcast praise — and aggressive promotion, the second season of FX's “The Americans” got off to a ratings start which can most politely be described as “soft.”
Wednesday's (February 26) premiere drew 1.9 million viewers, including 863,000 in the key 18-49 demographic.
Those numbers look especially bad if you compare them to last January's premiere, which drew 3.22 million, including 1.57 million in the 18-49 demo.
Like the song says, though, FX would prefer that we accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Since we're not going to eliminate the negative, however, let's mess with Mr. In-Between.
If you want to be tepidly positive, the “Americans” premiere was up — barely — from the 1.85 million viewers that the show averaged through its full first season, albeit down — barely — from the 882,000 viewers it averaged in the key demo. And part of why the first season numbers for “The Americans” are so low is because it really dropped off a cliff in its homestretch, averaging 1.58 million viewers and only 695,000 key demo viewers for its last five episodes. So relative to that, “The Americans” was up 20+ percent.
FX also wants to note that Season One episodes grew 83 percent overall and 93 percent in the 18-49 demo with Live+7 figures.
The big problem, of course, is that FX numbers have tended towards upward season-to-season growth for dramas like “American Horror Story: Variable Titles” and “Sons of Anarchy.”
Still, the network remains high on “The Americans,” which won last year's TCA Award for Outstanding New Series and finished No.7 in HitFix's Annual TV Critics' Poll.
As FX SVP Public Relations John Solberg says in the “Americans” ratings release, “We fully expect 'The Americans' will be on our schedule for the next five years or more.”
That quote is not legally binding.