TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode, “Trust Me,” debuted to 1.9 million viewers on March 3, down about 29 percent from the previous week’s third-season premiere. The audience included roughly 500,000 adults between ages 18 and 49, the demographic advertisers pay a premium to reach.
“The show is down but it’s not out — far from it,” says Marc Berman, editor in chief of TV Media Insights, a top industry news site. Once DVR users who record the show and watch it later are counted, “Dallas’s” total audience could rise closer to the 2.5 million to 3 million mark, Berman says.
The show’s third-season premiere, “The Return,” was seen by 2.7 million viewers on February 24, but the audience rose 33 percent — reaching 3.5 million — once DVR users who watched the show within three days were counted. This audience includes 1.4 million adults between ages 18 and 49 and 1.6 million between 25 and 54, a group TNT targets.
Television shows generally lose between 10 and 20 percent of their audience after a series or season premiere. Berman says “Dallas” may have fallen outside the rule of thumb because it faced tougher than usual competition, including the season premiere of A&E’s “Bates Motel,” which drew more than 3 million viewers.
“Dallas’s” decline fits the show’s pattern. Last year, 2.9 million viewers watched the show’s second-season premiere on opening night; 2.2 million viewers returned the following week, a 24 percent drop. In 2012, the series premiere clocked 6.9 million viewers; 4.8 million people tuned in the following week, a 30 percent decline.
Fans shouldn’t be discouraged, Berman says. “The numbers could be better, but they’re not terrible.”
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