There’s no sense in prolonging the bad news here, so let’s just get right to it when it comes to the Outlander season 3 episode 10 ratings. The numbers for “Heaven & Earth” are officially in and they mark the lost ones of the season by far — and by a pretty healthy margin.
In total, we are talking here about 1.23 million viewers. It’s still a nice audience for Starz, but it is a drop of more than 15% from what we saw the week before for “The Doldrums.” It’s a number that probably does put to rest some speculation/hopes about whether or not the show will get to 2 million by the end of the season … but we do think that it will be able to recover from this season-low number in the weeks to come because of lesser competition elsewhere.
To put this number in a little bit better context, there were episodes back in April 2016 that previously topped this rating — and not just the premiere. (Note that we’re talking only about live+same-day viewers; Outlander is still watched by more than five million people weekly and is sure to come back for another season.)
One of the things that this does debunk in some ways is the theory that episode titles seem to have much of a bearing on total viewers — one of the cited reasons why ratings for “The Doldrums” may have been lower was because of its relatively unappealing title and how that may have spurned interest in appointment viewing. Is there a more appealing name for an episode than “Heaven & Earth”? It’s hard to imagine so if there is.
There are effectively two different reasons in our head why we think that this episode likely slid down to this unexpected place.
1. On-air competition – Maybe the American Music Awards were a little more of a factor than we assumed going in — we just didn’t imagine that the Outlander fandom would have too much of an interest in modern pop music. More than that, the suffocating ratings for the Dallas Cowboys – Philadelphia Eagles game probably had more to do with it. Cowboys games on Sunday night always tend to generate enormous ratings. (By the time that game got to be lopsided Outlander was off the air.)
2. It’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving – This is actually what we believe is the bigger reason for the drop — appointment television falls to the wayside when people have other things to do. Some people may have been traveling that day/early in the week. Meanwhile, some other people are probably getting grocery shopping done or cleaning their homes for company. The ratings for many shows across the board were down Sunday — NCIS: Los Angeles hit a series low, and for its 200th episode, no less — and we have to think that the time of the year is an enormous factor in that.
The good news is this: The next few episodes won’t have the issue of airing a handful of days before a holiday. To go along with that, the AMAs are done and there are no major awards shows on the way. Football is still there and Outlander will have to remain aware of it as competition, especially late in the season when NBC gets many of the best games.
Why do you think that the Outlander season 3 episode 10 ratings are what they are? Share in the comments below!
Also, head over to the link here for some additional news regarding the show, including our review from “Heaven & Earth” and a preview for what’s next. Like CarterMatt on Facebook for additional news on this show and some others we cover. (Photo: Starz.)