It was a big week in the cable universe last week as many shows began or ended their respective seasons on high (or low) notes.
Game of Thrones – HBO
Game of Thrones made a triumphant return to HBO for its second season premiere, recording season highs in the ratings with 3.9 million viewers. GOT surpassed the previous series high set for the first season finale, which drew in 3 million viewers. Altogether, 6.3 million viewers watched Games of Thrones across all platforms.
Mad Men – AMC
Mad Men returned to television last week after a 17-month hiatus and seen some its best ratings ever. 3.5 million viewers tuned it for its long-awaited return, up 21% compared to the season four premiere – which was a series high at that time. In the coveted 18-49 demo, 1.6 million viewers tuned into the shows two-hour season premiere.
The Killing – AMC
Unfortunately, The Killing didn’t have the same fate as Mad Men in the ratings. The Killing was down 33% compared to the pilot last year, only drawing in 1.8 million viewers. Factoring in repeats later in the night, The Killing topped out at 2.5 million viewers, almost 50% lower than last years total viewership for the pilot.
The drop in viewership is expected to be linked to the disappointing season finale, which was supposed to reveal the killer of Rosie Lawson and end the season long mystery. However, the show stunned viewers by ending the season on an unexpected cliffhanger and sending fans into a frenzy online, expressing their disappointment.
The Killing breaks the record ratings sweep that AMC has been having with season openers. Mad Men, Breaking Bad (2.6 million viewers), and The Walking Dead (7.3 million viewers) all posted gains vs. their previous season premiere.
Shameless – Showtime
Shameless has been on a role during its second season in the ratings, as well as in character and plot development. Shameless‘ season finale drew in 1.45 million viewers originally, peaking at 2 million viewers with DVR playback and repeats on Showtime. The season finale was up 26% compared to last year. Over the course of its entire season, Shameless was up 29% compared to season one, averaging 4.85 million viewers.
House of Lies – Showtime
The first season of House of Lies ended with 775,000 viewers at 10p.m. Over the course of the season, HOL averaged 3.35 million viewers, which include original episode, repeats, DVR playback, and online viewing. The comedy starring Don Cheadle is on track to become Showtime’s highest rated comedy.
Californication – Showtime
The fifth season finale of Californication followed House of Lies, and drew in 768,000 viewers, up 40% vs. last years finale.
Punk’d – MTV
Punk’d returned with new episodes Thursday night to decent ratings, but things could have been better for the reality show considering the massive advertising push by MTV, and with the recognizable title and stars attached this season. Punk’d drew in 3.2 million viewers for its 10p.m. telecast, and a 2.7 in the 12.34 demo.
The Pauly D Project – MTV
MTV learned that removing one person from their Jersey Shore castmates doesn’t equal big ratings. The Pauly D Project debuted to 2.9 million viewers at 1030p.m. following Punk’d. Pauly D was down 62% compared to the last new episode of Jersey Shore, which isn’t surprising at all.