Cable ratings: ‘Political Animals’ starts slow; ‘Breaking Bad’ wins big

Based on the ratings or Sunday night’s series premiere, it is looking like “Political Animals” is going to stay a six-part miniseries for USA rather than becoming something larger down the line.

Despite premiering to an aggressive promotional campaign and featuring the talents of one Sigourney Weaver, the drama (which you can read our full review for here) mustered just 2.6 million viewers and a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic. These numbers are far lower than most of the network’s other original programming, and it even lags behind some of their syndicated repeats for the CBS hit “NCIS.”

So why didn’t the show resonate more than it did? One of the problems may have merely been that the program picked a bad timeslot — 10:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday night is fairly competitive on cable, especially when you have “The Newsroom” on HBO, “Weeds” on Showtime, and the return of “Breaking Bad” over on AMC. You also may people who may be watching recorded episodes of “True Blood” or “Falling Skies” from the hour before.

Ultimately, one of the biggest mistakes USA may have made with this show was misjudging just how popular politics were going to be in an election year. Many are burned out after hearing about President Obama and Mitt Romney for months on end, and even a fictionalized version of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton wasn’t enough to get people watching.

Why do you think that “Political Animals” failed to resonate well when it comes to young viewers? Be sure to check out more news here, and we’ll have the numbers for the “Breaking Bad” premiere when they are available.

Update: The “Breaking Bad” numbers are here … and they are big. With 2.9 million viewers and around a 1.5 rating in the demo, the drama had its most-watched episode ever. Most impressive is the 18-49 number, which represents a growth of over 30% — and this is with Dish Network not airing the episode.

Check out the full premiere for “Political Animals” below.

Photo: USA

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