I am doing moving-related tasks today and don’t have a lot of time for writing, so today I’d like to share the ratings results for the past week in fringe history TV. On Friday, the History Channel and To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science collaboration Unidentified reached 1.158 million viewers (0.26 in the advertiser-preferred adults 18-49 demographic), beating its lead-in Ancient Aliens (1.1 million, 0.19 adults 18-49) for the first time. Both were trounced by HGTV’s My Lottery Dream Home. It’s interesting to see that Unidentified is growing its audience beyond that of Ancient Aliens, particularly in the younger demographic, though the small variance from week to week suggests that this isn’t yet a pattern and can be attributable to any number of factors, including the relatively dull topic for this past week’s Ancient Aliens. The ’90s throwback to Bob Lazar probably alienated some viewers who consider him old news. Last year’s In Search Of briefly topped its Ancient Aliens lead-in for a small part of its run, but the overall pattern has been for the 10 PM ET show to lose viewers since the 10 PM audience is smaller than earlier in prime time.
On the other hand, ratings for America Unearthed continue to climb as viewers (re-) discover the series a month into its return season. This week’s episode hit 583,000 live plus same day viewers with a 0.14 in the adults 18-49 demographic, continuing the show’s week-to-week ratings growth. While still a far cry from the million-plus that watched the show during its first run, the upward trend suggests that the show’s softening of Scott Wolter from radical conspiracy theorist to generic cable host seems to be having the intended effect of turning the show into cable TV wallpaper attracting a mid-level audience, though not one as large as Portals to Hell or Paranormal Caught on Camera on the same channel.
But before you get too antsy, one contributing factor in the show’s rising ratings is the Travel Channel’s decision to stop running reruns of the show before new episodes, replacing them with repackaged and enhanced versions of Expedition Unknown, which had been Travel’s tentpole series before its move to the Discovery Channel, prompting Travel to turn to Scott Wolter as a replacement. Repeats of the Josh Gates-led series bested America Unearthed reruns by 200,000, and that increased lead-in accounts for the 100,000 extra viewers the 10 PM ET new episodes of America Unearthed have attracted. Basically, it looks like Expedition Unknown is goosing America Unearthed’s ratings.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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