Returning "America Unearthed" Draws Just 440,000 Viewers, Beat by Reruns of Itself in Key Adult Demo
My new book on the history of the mound builder myth now has an official title: The Mound Builder Myth: Fake History and America's Hunt for a "Lost White Race." The official title is close to one of the titles I asked about in my survey last week, and that option scored a whopping 95% of votes cast! My thanks to everyone who participated in my survey over the weekend, and for all of you who offered thoughtful suggestions for alternative titles. Some elements from those suggestions have made their way into the final title.
The ratings are in for the relaunch of America Unearthed, and it did not exactly deliver boffo ratings. Prior to air, I predicted that the show would not crack 500,000 viewers, and I was … right. The 10 PM broadcast of the series scored 440,000 viewers with a 0.08 rating among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic. (All times reported here are Eastern.) Embarrassingly, the 10 PM broadcast scored a lower rating among adults 18-49 than the 8 PM America Unearthed rerun that led into the show. The rerun’s 360,000 viewers had a 0.09 rating in the key demographic. Over the weekend, America Unearthed reruns topped out at 370,000 viewers.
By comparison, last week in the same timeslot, Travel’s Bermuda Triangle: New Secrets drew 391,000 viewers and a 0.10 rating among adults 18-49. In its original run on the H2 network, America Unearthed bagged between 1.0 and 1.5 million viewers on any given week.
America Unearthed delivered just about exactly the same ratings for a new episode that it did for the first round of reruns that aired on the Travel Channel this spring. The show’s ratings were also just about on target for any old Travel Channel show any night of the week. A Haunting scored 397,000 viewers the day before, and on Friday Portals to Hell brought in 422,000 viewers and a 0.11 rating among adults 18-49. Both were dwarfed by Paranormal Caught on Camera, which drew 625,000 viewers the previous Wednesday at 10 PM with a 0.19 rating among adults 18-49 and In Search of Monsters, which bagged 479,000 and 0.13 among key adult viewers at 9 PM. Even The Dead Files outdrew America Unearthed among adults 18-49, bagging a 0.09 rating and 410,000 total viewers last Thursday at 10.
Since America Unearthed has been on something like a perpetual loop on Travel for the past week, it must be a disappointment that the lower-profile Portals to Hell and Paranormal Caught on Camera outdrew it. On the other hand, the show benefits from the fact that it draws basically the same number of viewers any time it airs, whether it is new or a rerun, so it is a stable performer and could be a utility player as Travel seeks to complete its transition from a travel-based network to an upscale home for ghosts and conspiracy theories to complement sister station Destination America, which provides similar programming for a downscale, rural audience.
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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