Ratings Progress Report: ‘The Bastard Executioner’ looks to keep its head

There are a few things that have surprised us about the first season of “The Bastard Executioner,” but one of the most surprising things comes from FX itself. For some reason, the network has yet to greenlight a second season of the Kurt Sutter-produced show. This is a network known typically for giving drama series a chance to build, and while we think that a renewal is probably coming, for whatever reason they are taking their time.

But should the show be renewed, or is it better off heading to the guillotine now? In the latest edition of our Ratings Progress Report, we will take a look at both the good and bad of Wilkin Brattle’s underdog story.

The good news – Let’s start as recently as the ratings from Tuesday night. “The Bastard Executioner” drew a 0.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic and, for the first time in several episodes, over a million viewers watching live. For a show that had a week off thanks to a “Twilight” marathon of all things, it’s impressive that everyone stuck around. This shows loyalty, and it alleviates some of our fears that the show was going to just drop and drop until we reached the finale.

In terms of total averages in live+same day viewing, “The Bastard Executioner” is faring better than some other shows on FX this year including “The Americans” and “Tyrant.” One thing to also remember here is that this network is almost looking more at this point at live+3 data, and this series is a consistent performer there, as well.

The bad news – There are some caveats to some of what we just shared. The average rating for this show is front-loaded thanks to it premiering to a 0.8 rating, and it has since dropped half of that in live viewership. Also, “The Americans” and “Tyrant” both averaged better numbers in their first seasons in 2013 and 2014, respectively. We don’t know how expensive this show is to make (it certainly doesn’t look cheap), and bringing it back could be a little bit more of a gamble to renew than other shows out there.

As we’ve said, we do feel overall positive about the future of “The Bastard Executioner,” though we do wish it was pulling a little bit better numbers live. The biggest thing to remember here is that we think that this is a show that could benefit from some time off so that viewers can binge-watch and catch up. Some of the early episodes in particular are long, and may be better-served to some in that format. It was a little easier to get viewers to commit to watching long “Sons of Anarchy” episodes live, when they were more committed to the characters and the story.

What’s your take on the show’s ratings so far this season? Share in the comments.

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