Despite a good lead-in, Showtime's drama Homeland started out with very little interest: just 1.082 million viewers and a 0.4 demo on 10/2/11, retaining well less than half of its Dexter lead-in (1.1) in the demo. The show held at a 0.4 for the next month, a number that looked marginally better as Dexter dipped below 1.0. And as Dexter picked back up a bit in the second half of the season, so did Homeland; it hit its first 0.5 in episode six, then a 0.6 the next week. After a few more 0.4's and 0.5's, it ended the season with its most promising point: 1.705 million viewers and a 0.7 for the season finale, marking its best-yet retention of Dexter (2.230m and 1.0).
Huge Sophomore Bounce
Homeland followed through on its late season one promise in season two. There have been many crazy sophomore bounces in the age of cable drama, but Homeland's 78% growth in season two is one of the biggest, riding a lot of awards love and an improved Dexter lead-in. Four of the first five Homeland season two episodes marked new series highs, and it hit another one late in the year with a 0.97 on 12/2/12 (which remains the series high).
The growth stopped there (as did much of the critical love). But considering it lost Dexter as a lead-in and moved to 9/8c to launch new series, season three can probably still be called a pretty strong effort. The show dropped 9%, settling around 0.7 for most of the season before spiking to 0.94 for the finale.
Season Four Disappointment and Season Five Redemption
The dreams of Homeland becoming a Dexter-sized player are probably pretty much gone now, as Homeland took a big 27% dip to a 0.55 average in season four. And after rising to roughly match the winter Showtime offering Shameless in seasons two and three, Homeland dipped well behind Shameless in the 2014-15 season. So while this show had that familiar sophomore spark, it's not been able to continue that growth, as peers like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and Sons of Anarchy certainly have. However, the series had a much healthier season five, dropping just 9% for the second time in three seasons.
Adults 18-49 info by season:
Historical-adjusted ratings by season:
*- For this winter's War of 18-49 updates, the A18-49+ is based on a projected league average, calculated by applying the league average's current year-to-year trend (thru 1/3/16) to the final 2014-15 average. This should help make these numbers compare more fairly with fall seasons past.
The War of 18-49 chronicles the ratings history of veteran primetime series. For more, see the Index.