Last week, History’s sister network Viceland renewed Action Bronson’s Traveling the Stars, in which Bronson and his friends smoke marijuana and watch reruns of Ancient Aliens. This coming week is the semiannual History Channel Alien Con, the fan convention for Ancient Aliens and extraterrestrial/science fiction pop culture. As part of the promotional rollout for the convention, the History Channel arranged for Giorgio Tsoukalos to do interviews with California TV stations from a History Channel studio in Los Angeles. This is a step up for Tsoukalos, who last year had to physically schlepp out to local news studios. From History’s cushy digs, he spoke yesterday with Simone de Alba of Fox 40 in Sacramento.
Before we begin today, some ratings news: America Unearthed ticked up in the live plus same day ratings to 514,000 viewers and a 0.09 in the advertiser-preferred adults 18-49 demographic. The show reached a series high for its Travel Channel run for an atypical episode with almost no fringe history content. The rise in viewership might be due to viewers finding the series after a few weeks on the air, or realizing new episodes are airing. It might also be due to continued weak ratings for the History Channel, whose Curse of Civil War Gold draws two-thirds fewer viewers than Curse of Oak Island, which normally fills the Tuesday night timeslots, or to the lack of major sports events on Tuesday leading to lower ratings for ESPN, whose largely male audience overlaps with that America Unearthed. The show’s performance over the next few weeks will let us know if the audience will continue to grow.
I’m holding off on any major writing today until I review America Unearthed this evening. I just closed on a new house, and as you might imagine, there is a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it. As a result, I will be blogging intermittently for the next few weeks. I intend to continue reviewing America Unearthed and Ancient Aliens, but the days in between may be a bit spotty until I am set up in the new house. In the meantime, I thought that this week’s cover of The Week magazine was worth sharing. It points to the Navy’s recent revision of reporting guidelines for pilots who see unidentified objects in the sky, and it inflates that to the more grandiose idea of “Taking UFOs Seriously,” in keeping with the spin put on the story by the team at To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science in conjunction with their History Channel series Unidentified.
Earlier this week, Vox magazine’s Sean Illing spoke with Diana Pasulka, the author of American Cosmic, about space aliens and the threat that UFO beliefs are becoming a religion. In the conversation, Pasulka offered this gem of a response to a question about the so-called “Invisible College” of UFO researchers, whose activities have shaped ufology for the better part of the past four decades:
The ratings are in for Tuesday’s episode of America Unearthed, and the show’s audience ticked down a notch this week. Total viewers fell by 9,000 viewers to 431,000 live plus same day viewers, with a total rating of just 0.06 among the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults 18-49. The 10 PM ET broadcast of this week’s new episode was trounced in the ratings among that demographic by the 9 PM rerun of, yes, America Unearthed, which brought in a 0.09 rating against 372,000 viewers.
Let’s start today with the ratings for Friday’s UFO programming. Ancient Aliens was close to its week-to-week and year-to-year average. The first new episode of the fourteenth season drew 1.3 million people, with a 0.26 rating among the advertiser-covered demographic of adults 18-49. It ranked seventh in the cable ratings for Friday. Unidentified, the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science UFO series, debuted with 1.286 million viewers and a 0.22 rating among adults 18-49, retaining most of its lead-in’s audience and outperforming most of the other shows that have followed Ancient Aliens over the past ten years in that regard. It ranked eleventh among all cable shows airing on Friday. But don’t despair! Both were outdrawn by HGTV’s My Lottery Dream Home, which had 1.6 million viewers and a 0.29 rating among adults 18-49. So, in the hierarchy of American life, lottery fantasies easily outdraw mind- and soul-shattering “truths” about time, space, and reality.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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