It’s been a tough summer for TV in the U.S. First off, the big media groups saw their shares fall, sometimes dramatically, as reported earlier by VideoAge.
And ratings, specifically for cable shows, are not where those networks would like them to be.
“In July, 21 of the top 30 most-watched cable channels saw significant declines in prime-time ratings, according to Nielsen,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
TNT, for one, experienced a 22 percent drop from July 2014 to July 2015, according to the Journal. Disney Channel lost 19 percent of its audience, Bravo is down 24 percent, ESPN and A&E are down 30 percent and MTV fell 24 percent.
Interestingly, the cable network to show the largest gains was Discovery Channel, which rebounded by 22 percent this summer, and has done well with shark-themed programming and unscripted series Naked & Afraid. And Discovery’s sister channel Investigation Discovery, HGTV and Fox News Channel are seeing some promising numbers (the latter thanks to Donald Trump’s presence at the Republican debate). AMC has also had success with its premiere of Fear the Walking Dead (it opened with more than 10 million viewers on August 23).
Among the other shows that have been successes this summer: FOX’s Wayward Pines and CBS’s Zoo and Under the Dome. In the reality realm, ABC’s The Bachelorette, a primetime, celebrity version of the game show Family Feud, and NBC’s nearly 10-year old America’s Got Talent.
But still, according to USA Today, ratings for the four major U.S. broadcast networks are essentially flat.
Below, the top five cable and broadcast series of the summer* and the millions of viewers they’ve brought in (includes viewing delayed up to seven days on DVRs and up to three days on demand), according to USA Today (from Nielsen):
Summer 2015’s top broadcast series:
- America’s Got Talent (NBC) 12.8
- Zoo (CBS) 9.8
- Celebrity Family Feud (ABC) 9.4
- Under the Dome (CBS) 8.2
- The Bachelorette (ABC) 8.1
Summer 2015’s top cable series:
- Game of Thrones (HBO) 10.2
- Fear the Walking Dead (AMC) 10.1
- Rizzoli & Isles (TNT) 6.3
- Major Crimes (TNT) 5.9
- Alaskan Bush People (Discovery) 4.9
* Broadcast data from 5/25-8/9/15; cable data from 6/1-8/16/15