“The Newsroom” has already been renewed for a second season, but with the ratings in for Sunday’s second episode, HBO may have reason to question whether it acted too soon.
New York Magazine reports that total viewership for the Aaron Sorkin drama about cable news was down about 20% from the premiere, to 1.7 million. The decline was even bigger in viewers under 50, with Nielsen reporting a demo rating of 0.7, down 30% from the 1.0 for episode one.
Sunday’s installment trailed Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” Lifetime’s “Army Wives” and a movie on FX, the story notes.
The report adds: “The heavy guns on Bravo and Lifetime may also be contributing to the show’s continued gender gap: ‘Newsroom’ ranked No. 33 among cable series Sunday among women under 50, but it was No. 6 with men of the same age. Another factor this week was likely intense competition from the BET Awards, which featured a Whitney Houston tribute and lured 7.4 million viewers (down a tick from last year’s Bieber-boosted 7.7 million).”
With the show in heavy rotation on HBO — and given its availability on alternative platforms — it’s too soon to sound alarms about a decline in viewership, the story notes.
The report concludes: “If ‘The Newsroom’ were on a broadcast network, this week’s declines would be cause for modest concern, particularly since last week’s premiere numbers were more ‘good’ than ‘great.’ But HBO has trained its subscribers to look for multiple repeats of its shows throughout the week or to view via its HBO On Demand or HBO GO platforms, so until all those numbers are in, it’s really impossible to know whether this week’s drop-off is a sign of viewers opting out, or simply deciding to watch the show on their own timetable.”