TRUE BLOOD (HBO)
Scheduling history: All 80 episodes of True Blood aired on Sunday at 9:00.
See (who saw) how it all began: The premiere ratings for True Blood don't remotely resemble the True Blood ratings to which we've become accustomed in the last few years. Frankly, they weren't even that good for HBO! True Blood began on 9/7/08 with a mere 1.44 million viewers and a 0.7 demo rating. The show started to take off immediately, building to a 0.9 demo in week two, and by the second half of the season it was consistently above 1.0.
The best of times: From the last few episodes of season two through the end of season five, True Blood almost always fell somewhere between 2.7 and 3.2, so there wasn't been any period that stood well above all the rest. If I had to boil it down beyond that, I'd probably choose the second half of season three; five of those six episodes hit a 3.0+ demo (just three other episodes have hit that plateau), and the penultimate season three episode hit a series high 3.2 demo on 8/29/10. The viewer high came with 5.53 million viewers on 8/21/11.
The worst of times: The worst of times was clearly early season one, and season one in general rated at less than half of any other season. The series low in both viewers and demo remains the aforementioned series premiere back on 9/7/08. I also feel I should point out the show's horrific performance in the second episode of season four on 7/3/11, when the show (a consistent 5 million, upper-2s demo grabber) got just 2.90 million viewers and a 1.5 demo. This was attributed to the double-whammy of Fourth of July weekend and early availability on HBO GO.
Then vs. now: It's been pretty amazing how well this show held up considering how big it got and how far it fell out of favor with many critics. It didn't take a significant fall until summer 2013, and even that left it as one of the summer's best demo draws. Still, HBO announced the end of True Blood after the 2014 season. Based on how that 2014 season went, they may have gotten out at the right time. Game of Thrones has taken over as the crown jewel of the network, and further True Blood declines were probably inevitable.
Adults 18-49 info by season:
|1||Summer 2008||Sunday 9:00||1.07||0.7||1.5||detail|
Historical-adjusted ratings by season:
For more on The War of 18-49, my look at the history of primetime TV's veteran shows, see the Index.