While it may be a little early to start making some hardline prognostications for Outlander and its season 4 ratings, but we do very much believe one thing: We’re going to see the numbers move in a positive direction. We’re gearing up for a new batch of episodes airing this fall, and at the moment there is little reason to think that this will be anything other than the show’s most successful season yet.
We should point one thing out here before we continue: Our feeling is that the total viewership will go up in terms of average weekly viewers and not necessarily how many are watching the show live. Because of Starz uploading the episodes to their app before their linear airings happen, it’s becoming increasingly unpredictable seeing how many people are going to continue to watch a show when it’s on as opposed to checking it out via other means. (We’ve already bemoaned at length not getting more comprehensive ratings across all platforms every week, but at some point during season 4 we should get a good sense of the overall average viewership.)
Here are three of the reasons to expect big things from season 4.
1. The natural trajectory for most shows – For the majority of big scripted hits other than Game of Thrones that really capture the public’s imagine, the fourth/fifth seasons are often the ones that are the most popular. That’s when it is early enough for new viewers to find the show and catch up but not so late that you start to really lose viewers. This is when The Walking Dead was dominant and when Breaking Bad began its big surge. We anticipate the season 4 premiere ratings to be big for Outlander and for them to then drop slightly for some of the airings that follow — though hopefully there will be a couple of big episodes along the way. If Outlander can manage to keep improving its ratings from season 4 and 5 on, that will be an especially impressive feat. (Technically there is no official season 5 right now, but it’s considered to be a sure thing.)
2. The American setting – While we do think there was a certain percentage of American viewers who enjoyed the escapism of going away to Scotland, there may be something that is also very appealing to others in getting a chance to really dive into something that is so much more organically American. People who love this period in U.S. history may really appreciate the fact that this season offers up some chances to see the buildup to the Revolution through a very different lens.
3. Even more promotion – The coverage of Outlander is more expansive now than it’s ever been, and we figure that with the trailer launch still to come alongside many high-profile appearances for Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, there’s going to be a marvelous press tour. If the series can pull in a few Emmy nominations, that could expose it to some viewers who don’t regularly watch Starz and know much about it.
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