The first Outlander season 3 episode 9 ratings are in, and unfortunately “The Doldrums” seems to be a fitting way to describe the show’s numbers. While they are certainly still good — easily good enough to merit an early renewal for season 5 — we don’t have any more record-breaking numbers to report on today.
Instead, the show slid down to its second-lowest ratings of the season. A total of around 1.492 million people watched “The Doldrums” via some of the latest live+same-day measures, which is a drop of more than 8% from the audience of “First Wife” the week before. That episode generated the second-best ratings of the entire season, so this just goes to show you the high degree of variance there really is when it comes to Outlander and some of its viewership as a whole this season. (The lowest numbers of the season came in episode 2, when the show drew just over 1.4 million viewers opposite the Emmy Awards.)
Is there any one thing to blame for the drop in the numbers? It’s obviously much easier when there is and we can sit here and cite something like a major awards show or some sort of historic event taking place away from TV. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. Maybe there are little factors here and there that played a role, but in general we tend to find that if you cannot immediately think of a reason why there’s a ratings drop, it’s probably not all that substantial a reason in the first place. Some of the show’s casual base may have just recorded it this week or was watching the NFL game instead.
Will the show recover with upcoming episode on Sunday? Maybe, but we don’t expect a huge turnaround or any new ratings records. This is the Sunday before Thanksgiving after all, and traditionally this is not a great night for ratings. While most people often don’t get time off work to commence the festivities for another couple of days, you do still have some people traveling and others preparing to travel; this is the time of the year when people start to get thrown off their routines. (CarterMatt will have more news surrounding the show’s ratings again next Tuesday.)
Are we surprised by the drop?
Honestly, yes. This is the first time we’ve been off all season as to whether or not Outlander would improve or lose viewers for a given episode. It was hard to expect that “The Doldrums” was going to set a new record, but there was also no reason to think a decline was imminent given that the appeal of seeing Jamie and Claire on high seas should’ve driven some more attention to the show. The only reason to think otherwise is if the Scottish landscape is one of its more appealing qualities and they’re not as subconsciously interested watching people on the high seas. Black Sails was never all that highly-rated and other than Pirates of the Caribbean there aren’t too many mainstream franchises these days that take place with characters aboard a ship.
Want some more Outlander fun?
Take a look over here to see our list of things we want to see in the finale! While it may be a bummer that the ratings didn’t go up this week, just remember that Outlander is Starz’s #2 series and, as reported last week, more than 5 million viewers that are watching weekly when you factor in all of the different ways in which people watch such as On-Demand and streaming via the app.
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