We focus most of our attention on network ratings, because they’re more readily available, because their shows are typically more watched, and because ratings mean more in the network universe, where a string of bad weeks can lead to cancellation, whereas on cable, a low-rated show usually will not get pulled mid-season just as you’ve gotten invested in the story. Whenever we examine cable ratings, I’m also invariably surprised by how few people watch certain shows that nevertheless seem to be huge on the Internet. We are spoiled by our Internet friends. Try, for instance, striking up a conversation with parents at your kid’s birthday party about “Louie” or “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Not only will they not know what you’re talking about, they might wonder why you think Hitler and black-face jokes are so funny. Arigato, racists.
SpoilerTV ran down the numbers on a lot of cable shows over the summer, and so far during the fall season, and here’s the gist of their findings, broken down by winners and losers. Ratings are in the 18-49 demo only, and are the average ratings for the show over the course of the summer season or the fall season, so far.
The Walking Dead, 5.45 average (up 46 percent over last season)
Sons of Anarchy, 2.31 average (up 15 percent)
American Horror Story, 1.7 average (up 31 percent)
Breaking Bad, 1.28 average (up 58 percent over last season)
Dexter, 1.13 average (up 25 percent)
Homeland, .73 average (up 82 percent)
Tosh.0, 1.25 average (down 30 percent from last season)
South Park, 1.11 average (down 29 percent)
White Collar, .99 average (down 19 percent since last year)
Boardwalk Empire, .93 (down 17 percent since last season)
Covert Affairs, .87 average (down 30 percent since last year)
Awkward, .85 average (down 17 percent since season one)
Covert Affair, .82 (down 9 percent since last season)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 0.7 average (down 45 percent since last season)
The League, .56 (down 23 percenet since last season)
Hell on Wheels, .55 average (down 38 percent since season one; it’s been renewed anyway)
Wilfred, .55 average (down 26 percent since season one)
Alphas, .46 average (down 30 percent since last year)
Louie, .40 average (down 18 percent since last year)
It is woefully disconcerting how low Louie’s ratings are. Damn.