Battle Creek by the Numbers

Battle Creek, now with three weeks of viewership statistics to digest has dug in with steady numbers in key demographics. The results so far? Not great. But there are a couple of things that must be taken into account when you look at these numbers.

1. 10pm on a broadcast network isn’t great anymore. People on in the eastern time zone start to go to bed, especially people aged 50 and above, a significant chunk of CBS’s audience, traditionally.

2. After football season, Sunday night becomes cable’s domain. Between the Walking Dead, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and True Detective, broadcasters are having a tougher time than ever.

That being said, Battle Creek has performed solidly in terms of overall viewership, cracking the top four of programs broadcast on March 15th. The crime procedural also has seen raw numbers north of 6.5 million viewers every week.

Then why is Battle Creek performing so poorly in the 18-49 demographic, only barely hitting a 1.0 it’s first week, and then .08 and .09 in the second and third weeks, respectively? I think the answer is the Walking Dead, AMC’s zombie-core program that has been breaking cable ratings records for the past couple of years. Dead’s impact is so significant that AMC runs a pre-show and a post-show analysis program bookending the show.

While there has been rumblings of the show needing to perform better to avoid being cancelled, the silver lining is that the overall viewership numbers are pretty good. That, coupled with favorable critical reception, give Battle Creek a fighting chance.