As summer dims, cable’s notable new shows
A look at shows that bowed big and continued that way, such as 'Greenleaf'
August 24, 2016
There’s about a month left in the summer, but most of cable’s new shows have already made their debuts.
Some have been instant hits, others have taken longer to simmer, building with DVR replay or gaining online buzz that boosts their ratings.
Not all of the most notable new programs are ratings powerhouses. As with “Mr. Robot” last summer, television is getting used to a new model where live ratings are certainly a factor in determining success but far from the only one.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the most notable new shows and why they stand out.
TNT’s ‘Animal Kingdom’
The show posted middling ratings. A few years ago averaging a 0.4 adults 18-49 Nielsen rating on TNT was a sure way to be canceled.
But with the network looking for more cerebral, edgier fare, “Kingdom” received a second-season renewal and earned better buzz as the season went along and its complex plotlines developed.
Oprah Winfrey Network’s ‘Greenleaf’
This program about a megachurch in the south is one of those rare instant hits, setting ratings records for OWN and becoming its first scripted hit not from Tyler Perry.
It has averaged a 0.6 adults 18-49 rating in season one.
The show lost about a third of its 18-49 audience from start to finish, but it received a second season and earned some critical acclaim, which to AMC is worth nearly as much as ratings as it makes its case as the HBO of basic cable.
HBO’s ‘The Night Of’
Little wonder people are comparing this show to “True Detective” back when it was good. The twisted murder investigation has more than doubled its premiere rating during its two-month run, setting a series high of 0.7 last week. Sunday’s finale should do even better.
Hallmark Channel’s ‘Chesapeake Shores’
Hallmark is often an afterthought because it’s not a huge demo draw, but among older women and households its programming is strong. This new drama about a divorcee who returns home to make up with her family has done better with younger viewers than any of the network’s previous series.
In cable ratings for the week ended Aug. 21:
Top five networks in primetime (18-49s): TBS, USA, Adult Swim, NBCSN, Freeform.
Top five networks in primetime (total viewers): Fox News Channel, USA, HGTV, History, TBS.
Top five total-day networks (total viewers): Fox News Channel, Nickelodeon, Adult Swim, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network.
Top cable news networks in primetime (total viewers): Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, HLN, CNBC, FBN.
Top five cable news programs (total viewers): 1. Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” (Thursday, 8 p.m.); Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” (Tuesday, 8 p.m.); 3. Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” (Monday, 8 p.m.); 4. Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.); 5. Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” (Wednesday, 8 p.m.)
Top movie (total viewers): Hallmark Channel’s “Hallmark Original Movie,” (Saturday, 9 p.m.) 1.77 million.
Top sporting event (total viewers): CNBC’s “NASCAR Sprint Cup” (Sunday, 4:51 p.m.) 2.67 million.
Show on the rise: Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid XL,” Sunday, 10 p.m. The reality show jumped 26 percent week-to-week among total viewers, from 1.75 million to 2.20 million.
Show on the decline: AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead,” Sunday, 9 p.m. The midseason premiere averaged 3.86 million total viewers, No. 2 for the week on cable but off 12 percent from its most recent episode in May.
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