Does it seem like Ancient Aliens is getting less attention than it used to? Sure, it has fan conventions and a core of online superfans, but I’ve noticed that its social media presence seems to be declining and there are many fewer articles about the show in the newspapers and magazines than there were last year. Even my reviews of the show have seen far fewer hits from Google searches than they used to, indicating that fewer people are searching for information about the show. It seems that the ratings for new episodes of the show a bearing out my intuition that the show seems to be burning out its audience, at least for now. The latest episode of the show, airing last Friday, hit a near record low for the series, just 739,000 viewers, ranking 55th for an original cable telecast that day. Last year, the show averaged more than 1.2 million viewers and ranked in the top five cable telecasts for Fridays.
For what it’s worth, the revived In Search Of has also lost about a third of its audience from last year. This past week’s episode cratered out at 754,000 viewers.
This is not an anomaly. The previous week, Ancient Aliens had just 777,000 viewers and In Search Of 705,000. Ancient Aliens’ ratings that week were even with the week before, when it returned from its month-long hiatus.
Part of the decline can be attributed to Major League Baseball and college football games airing the past three weeks on Friday nights, which drew away some of the show’s largely male audience. However, this can’t be the whole story, since games did not affect Discovery’s competing Gold Rush in the same time slot nearly as much. That show stayed above two million viewers against the same competition.
But even before Ancient Aliens went on vacation, its ratings were already in decline, down to the 800,000-900,000 range, and they have fallen at a rather steady rate since the beginning of the year. The consistent decline (though with week-to-week variations) can’t be attributed to stiffer competition from other channels or sporting events since it has been a regular decline across the spring, summer, and fall programming blocks and has followed a pattern from year-to-year, though this is the year that the bottom really fell out.
Previous to the marked decline this year, Ancient Aliens had one of the most rock-solid performances on cable. For its first few years, it drew north of two million weekly viewers before settling into a 1.1-1.4 million viewership range that remained largely unchanged for the better part of a decade, barring the occasional heavily promoted episode that brought in more viewers or random one-time timeslot shift that would send ratings plunging.
I was hesitant to say that we are finally in the declining stage of Ancient Aliens, and I have a sinking feeling that it could always make a comeback. But for now, the ratings decline seems to be the new normal for a show that has been running on fumes on the creative side basically since its second season. That said, with baseball ending, we will probably see ratings rise closer to their summer average, give or take. It will be interesting to see, though, how many viewers return.
Honestly, it’s just on too damn much. When History ran 13-16 episodes per year, I can see why it would be amusing to watch. When new episodes are on up to 30 times a year, it starts to feel like a chore. And when all of those episodes are interchangeable instant reruns, it’s no wonder that eventually the audience decided to look for something else to watch.
10/23/2019 09:32:29 am
Its low ratings aren't because of other shows but when baseball, which is another show and has been on since spring stops the ratings will go up??? Make up your mind.
Stating the obvious
10/23/2019 12:14:02 pm
Joe Kent Scales, the baseball playoffs (which only occur in October) receive considerably higher TV ratings than mostly meaningless regular season games that are nationally televised.
10/23/2019 04:52:40 pm
Welcome to Gunnsville.
10/26/2019 08:29:28 am
Welcome to JoekentScalesville
10/26/2019 09:26:48 am
Sorry. The joke's on you, you imbecilic cyber-stalker. Too bad your lack of distinction leads to your everchanging monikers. But I get it. This is embarrassing for you. It keeps you up at night. Your blunders confound you as you toss and turn. So you wake up and get another name, thinking somehow it's humorous to anyone other than yourself.
10/31/2019 07:34:36 pm
No Joe Genital Herpes Scale the joke is on you. Just remember that we are laughing at you not with you.
10/31/2019 10:21:52 pm
Again, your mind on my junk.
10/23/2019 09:45:35 am
Be honest. AA is your reason for living. When you were in college you had a crush on Giorgio and when he rejected your advances your lust turned to hate. This has been your life.
10/23/2019 04:54:14 pm
Be honest. This blog is your reason for living. When you were in the fifth grade you had a crush on the science teachers pet lizard, Newt and when he rejected your advances your lust turned to hate. This blog has been you life ever since.
An Anonymous Nerd
10/27/2019 10:43:43 am
[AA is your reason for living.]
10/23/2019 09:52:44 am
"When new episodes are on up to 30 times a year,...."
10/23/2019 10:26:23 am
There have been 19 episodes of Ancient Aliens in 2019.
10/23/2019 10:47:59 am
There is a difference between number of new episodes in a season and how often each new episode may run as encore presentations following its first airing. As the great Woody Hayes would say, "pay attention,thun."
10/23/2019 11:25:50 am
Sometimes they even run the same episode with different commercials, anyone for a veggie burger ?
10/23/2019 07:44:06 pm
Figuring how many episodes to count depends on how you classify the spinoffs and offshoots that air alongside the show. I don't cover them because they are primarily made up of recycled segments, but they do contain some new content. Additionally, some mothership episodes are two hours on initial airing and are later broken into two hour-long episodes for reruns. But I meant to type "20" rather than "30."
10/24/2019 06:05:17 pm
I love AA. I also love Tsoukalos. The pyramids are so strange. Also certain areas still have crazy beautiful cover stones in place, dressed stones. After we built a new church, we didn't just leave the tools lying around for archeologists to find 10,000 years from now. The Packard plant in Michigan doesn't have all the tools for making cars just lying around. I don't know why ancient societies are expected to have just left their tools lying around. Seems dumb. Actually if I were a trader, I'd totally raid an earthquake racked city looking for tools to loot so I can trade elsewhere. It's like free inventory. But egyptians are supposed to have just left their telescopes lying around the base of the pyramids?
Jr. Time Lord
10/26/2019 12:43:38 am
An Anonymous Nerd
10/27/2019 10:48:31 am
Actually there's always stuff lying around. Not every wrench in, say, a car repair shop is accounted for when that shop shuts down. Let alone if the business isn't replaced with something else and the structure just rots.
10/24/2019 06:14:13 pm
How many people worked on the pyramids? And how many of their shoes were found? Where is their garbage dumped? What is their source of water? How was it not contaminated by feces and urine? How do we manage that many people in terms of food and hygiene in that area? Did malaria exist? Shouldn't there be like dozens of illnesses going around at the time? And sex. Men like sex a lot. So how do you manage a bunch of dudes? Shouldn't there be a hospital for delivering all the whore babies? So where is that stuff? Cooking utensils and shoe maker huts and fornication huts and hospitals and sick died skeletons of people and water containers. Do they drink from their hands or do they have cups?
10/25/2019 01:09:34 pm
There werent any brown whore babies. I took care of that.
10/24/2019 06:36:56 pm
Suppose group AA built the pyramids, and it satisfied some need, they stayed a while. Then they moved away, taking all their junk with them. Then group ancient Egyptians came along later, put their names on it and pretended they built it. Picked up some AA leftovers and played with it. Then the arabs. The the french. Why not? Why insist it was the same proto-group the whole time?
10/24/2019 07:02:53 pm
You know what is also wrong? Let's suppose your grandfather built the big pyramid. Your dad built the second biggest. The economy is weakening. You've got a kingdom falling apart and money problems and there's no way your sons and grandsons could possibly afford pyramids in their time. Wouldn't you decide to share your pyramid in order to ensure they, all your children and grandchildren and so on would also be able to enter into heaven? One pyramid per person seems unduly selfish, right? Why can't it be shared in some way, I mean people can share the road, right? A gate permits lots of people to enter. So why one pyramid per person? No way it's a tomb for one guy. It's a gate at the very least.
11/3/2019 03:21:12 am
A gate to where?
10/24/2019 07:18:40 pm
Where is this pyramid building labor force coming from, anyhow? Are they soldiers turned masons? Who is doing the soldiering? Who is doing the policing? We need farmers and tanners and metal workers, so all of a sudden the region became pacified to build pyramids? Nobody breaks the laws, no jail required?
10/24/2019 07:39:43 pm
You know what else is wrong? The are no fortresses. Whoever dreamed up the idea of a pyramid didn't think to build a castle fortress like the walls of Jericho or Troy. Whoever built the pyramids had no fear whatsoever of other contemporaneous civilizations. The chinese built the great wall, right? That makes sense. Pyramids don't. Whoever it was had no concern at all of a future band of invaders.
Oshikuru the Demon Samurai
10/27/2019 12:23:54 am
Without assenting to the comments section becoming "What James Thinks" I'll play along.
Jr. Time Lord
10/27/2019 07:39:44 pm
10/27/2019 09:51:52 pm
Same here lol. Best reference in a long time.
10/29/2019 08:40:17 am
Is it possible that the pyramids themselves are fortresses?
10/26/2019 01:23:58 pm
Honestly i thought the show season was over with ttsa show. Had no idea it was just a break
An Anonymous Nerd
10/27/2019 02:56:23 pm
1 - Yes, it's conceivable that the show could recover. Why not?
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.