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Supernatural Season Four Premiere Delivers Highest Ratings Since On The CW

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Thursday night’s season four premiere of Supernatural, “Lazarus Rising,” opened to the best ever ratings for the show since moving to The CW at the beginning of their second season.  Total number of viewers came in at four million, a one million viewer increase over last year’s season premiere “The Magnificent Seven”.   

The last time Supernatural pulled four million viewers was for “Devil’s Trap,” the season one finale.  That episode aired on the now defunct WB network.  Since then the ratings haven’t come close to that on The CW, and season three averaged only 2.92 million viewers.  In an even more impressive statistic, it retained 92% of Smallville’s lead in, which is The CW’s number one scripted show.  On Thursday, Smallville scored a total of 4.3 million.

According to a press release from The CW (yeah, I know, I’m surprised too), “Versus its premiere last season (10/4/07), SUPERNATURAL improved dramatically with double-digit gains of +33% in adults 18-34 (1.6/5), +45% in women 18-34 (1.6/5), +42% in adults 18-49 (1.7/5), +64% in women 18-49 (1.8/5) and +33% in viewers (4mil).” As for Supernatural and Smallville together, “The CW was first on Thursday night among men 18-34 (1.9/7-tie) and men 12-34 (1.9/7), and beat the Big 3 on Thursday in adults 18-34 (1.7/6), persons 12-34 (1.7/6) and men 18-49 (1.9/6).”

These are remarkable figures since The CW does little to promote both shows, providing fuel for the argument that buzz among their loyal fanbases make these shows successful.  Thursday night has traditionally been The CW’s highest rated scripted night, carving a niche against impossible competition from other networks on what is considered TV’s busiest night.   

Supernatural benefitted from several factors.  For one, it’s coming off the Season Three DVD release on September 2nd which resulted in 109,307 units sold and a number six ranking, outselling the previous two seasons in their first weeks.  Two, it didn’t have Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, and The Office to compete against thanks to an earlier premiere.  Third, it ended with a cliffhanger in which they killed off one of their two leads, likely resulting in people coming back to see what happened next.  Season two didn’t end in a cliffhanger, but instead wrapped up in the finale because the producers weren’t sure if season three would be a reality.  Season four got an early pickup in March, thus removing such doubt and allowing a creative movement forward.   

No matter the reason, the episode was a classic, and is boldly taking this show into a new direction.  Hopefully it’ll be enough to inspire fans to check in next week and tape the return of Grey’s Anatomy.         

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About Alice Jester

  • Elaine

    Thank you for that write up Alice. It is interesting that part of the momentum created may be attributed to the DVD Sales since Season 3 was not their strongest season. The ratings do suggest that throgh whatever means, to have had such an increase in viewership, the blogs that have been written recently, and in mainstream media have been saying, “don’t be scared to tune in for the 4th season if you have never watched it”. It means people watched it, hopefully enjoyed it and we will see what happens next week if they have stayed.

  • Tigershire

    Kinda makes you wonder what would happen if they actually put some real money behind promoting this show, doesn’t it?

    It always amazes me that with the long standing, steadfast dedication that fans have to the horror/sci-fi/fantasy genres why the networks always seem to pretend like it’s not there. The actors rarely get recognized for their contributions (like really, who in the fan base doesn’t think that both Jared and Jensen (in particular) deserve major recognition for their performances?).

    Thankfully folks like Eric Kripke know that “if you film it, they will come”.

  • Tiffany S

    I had been looking so forward to the premiere. I was not disappointed! I could not leave my seat the whole time. I groaned through the commercials wishing that someone would have sponsored a no commercial season lol Will definitely be waiting eagerly for and recording every episode!

  • WinchesterFan

    Gossip Girl and 90210: That dust you are choking on was kicked up by that snazzy black Impala that just roared past you.

  • Linda

    Fantastic episode. Loved the interaction between Jensen/Dean and Castiel. Castiel is a very intruiging additin. Please, Kripke, let him stay for a loong time….

    Jensen was fantastic, or as other have mentioned, he was on fire. He never cease to surprise me with his brilliant ackting. Someone give the man a reward!! :)

  • Troy

    A fantastic episode, i have watched the episode about 5 times already and each time is just as exciting to see, i’ve been a long time viewer and cannot wait for the next episode.

    On the US networks, i really wish they would wake up and start giving great shows the recognition and support they deserve, i agree that they never provide enough support to the Sci-Fi genre and its those fans who are often the most fanatical, when will they learn.

  • Rosewood

    Yay Supernatural! Great news. Are people finally going to find this show? Supernatural is selling well on iTunes too, so I am hopeful. Fingers crossed that folks come back for week 2 instead of deserting for the premieries of Grey’s or the Office. Can’t wait to hear Dean tell Castiel his response to God’s request for help.

  • vichi

    the first episode was great. I am a spoiler junkie and I read a lot about this 4th season but Lazarus Rising still surprised me. Castiel is a very interesting character and Misha Collins is the perfect choice for this role. I saw it 4 times already and planning to review it with friends before the next episode. About the ratings, I am pleased to know that almost 4 milions people watched it. I am sad that we, the fans outside the USA don’t count because this show has a lot of international fans. You should check the downloads on the net for that:)
    God, I really missed my boys, especially Dean. Now, I can’t wait for the next episode and I’m hoping that everyone who watched on tv last week will do it again and tape Grey’s.

  • heraldtalia

    I have to echo what Tigershire said–if SPN can do this well with little promotion (what was with that so-called “promo” anyway?) from the CW, imagine how well it could do if they actually promoted the show? I know at least 4 people who never heard of it until I told them about it, who love the show now and can’t understand how they missed it all this time.

    And yeah, Lazarus Rising rocked! I just hope the show can continue these numbers!

  • Mike Chambers

    Well said.

    I wonder what the total viewership was worldwide for the premiere. Well, in Canada at least. We had a 3 day period of the premiere(Thurs the 18th, Fri the 20th, Sat the 21st) on two channels.

    I was surprised by how many people I know watched the 4th season premiere in the area. I knew only about 5 fans locally before the premiere, but since the premiere that number has tripled in my friend network.

    SpaceCast Canada did a great job in promoting the show, IMO. I saw many commercials and special interview segments promoting the premiere in weeks prior to the 19th.

  • http://jesterz.net/b2ev/ Alice Jester

    Mike – Its interesting you bring up Canada. I just found out that a Canadian cable channel, Scream, is airing Supernatural now in second run syndication, starting with season one. That’s very thrilling to see for a show in its fourth season. From what I heard, the show is very popular in Canada.

    It was also interesting how I found out that was happening in many other countries as well, and its only the US so far that isn’t syndicating this show. I’m not sure what the hold up is, for the demand is there. Usually second run syndication helps a show in the ratings.

    Thanks for sharing your information!

  • Mike Chambers

    It almost appears like CW wants to get rid of Supernatural. I’ve seen this lack of promotion many times with American television shows that become cancelled by seasons end. All the while, the other shows on the channel take the promoting space of the said show that falls to cancellation. Sorry, I’m tired I hope I am making sense ;).

    I’ve read in the past that international ratings are what is keeping Supernatural alive.

  • http://jesterz.net/b2ev/ Alice Jester

    Mike – This show has one very big thing going for it, Warner Brothers. Since they own the show, and they own 50% of The CW, if Supernatural is making them money (which it is because of DVD sales and International distribution), then they use their influence to keep it going on the network. Same with Smallville. It may have passed its prime creatively, but more episodes means more money for Warner Brothers in syndication, so they’ll keep it going as long as possible.

    Supernatural hits the magic 100 episodes in Season Five, which for Warner Brothers, is where they can really reap the dollars. Given how well the DVD sales are going and how big the following is Internationally, I’m thinking the only way season five won’t happen is if The CW folds.

  • sami

    LOVE THE SHOW…ITS EVERYTHING AN ENTERTAINING SHOW SHOULD BE…HOPE IT STAYS FOR AT LEAST AN EIGHTH SEASON..I KNOW, JUST FINISHED SEASON 4, GETTING AHEAD OF MYSELF, BUT JUST EXPRESSING MY LOVE FOR IT…LOOK, I’M EVEN WRITING IN CAPS LOCK;)LOVES IT