We’ve already written about how “Justified” season 4 really got things going this week with an action-packed premiere, and it also happens to be one that is definitely resonating with viewers.
Just in case you needed a reminder as to how popular this show is on FX, the first episode of the year brought in a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which is very impressive and an improvement of 30% from the 1.0 that the show drew for the season 3 premiere a year ago. In terms of total viewers, it was up to 3.594 million, just over 500,000 from its last premiere episode.
So what is the reason for this impressive season-to-season gain? The first thing you have to look at is recent tradition, as these shows on cable are the kind that friends tell friends about, and slowly get hooked on over time. While most network shows lose viewers over time, “Dexter,” “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” “Sons of Anarchy,” and TV’s top-rated drama in “The Walking Dead” are all examples of just how many cable programs are growing their audience over time rather than peaking during season 1 and then dropping.
However, you also have to consider the lack of competition. “White Collar,” a major USA series with a similar sort of following, was in reruns while “Justifies” competed against it last year. In addition, major networks also had on stronger competition last year versus a low-rated new show in “Vegas” and a drama in “Private Practice” that is limping its way to the finish line in viewers (though thankfully not quality).
Will “Justified” be able to keep it up? It is hard to say, but even if they shed some viewers we have a feeling that executive producer Graham Yost is still going to have an opportunity to tell more stories moving forward.
If you want to read some more “Justified” scoop about the future of Raylan and Boyd’s friendship, you can do so over here.