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.Powered by Sidelines