Political Animals: Could Buzz Offset Soft Ratings and Beget a Season 2? And With the Same Cast?

Though Political Animals, USA Network’s star-studded “limited series event,” by no means roared out of the gate ratings-wise, laying claim to a piece of the pop culture conversation and generating buzz in other ways could – could – be enough to trigger a Season 2 pick-up.

Facing stiff competition in its July 15 bow – including Breaking Bad‘s final season opener, HBO’s noisy if polarizing The Newsroom and A&E’s ever-rising LongmirePolitical Animals started off with an audience of 2.6 million total viewers and a 0.5 demo rating. In Week 2, those numbers dipped, about 10 percent.

But when asked if there was a ratings target/minimum that would prompt a renewal order, NBC Universal chair Bonnie Hammer shook her head and told TVLine, “We never quite measure it that black-and-white. We want to see what the response is, we want to see who comes [and see] what kind of interesting buzz it brings to USA as a whole.

“It’s never just, ‘Do you hit a certain rating?'” she reiterated. “It’s really about the whole, what it adds to USA as a brand.”

Though Political Animals was from the get-go announced as a six-week limited series, series creator Greg Berlanti tells us “the hope” has always been to tell more stories about the Barrish family (fronted by Sigourney Weaver), intrepid journo Susan Berg (Carla Gugino) et al.

“Everyone is contracted for multiple seasons if we get picked up for multiple seasons,” Berlanti says. “We have a whole life of the characters [planned out], some of which is set up in these six [episodes], and a lot of which we pay off in these six.”

“The curtain can come down [after] six and hopefully you’ll be satisfied with what’s gone on,” adds executive producer Laurence Mark. “But we’re happy to raise the curtain again!”

Two weeks in, what’s your read on Political Animals? Do you vote yea or nay?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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228 Comments
  1. Ashley says:

    YAY, YAY, YAY. Absolutely obsessed with the show, it’s fantastic.

  2. Laura says:

    you know, i really like the premiere, and then completely forgot it was on last night… wonder if that was a common problem

  3. Rolfe says:

    I think Political Animals is great for the USA brand. Glad to see they’re branching out from typical crime-esque proceduals. Hoping for season two.

    • Reality Check says:

      I agree. I’m sick and tired of L&O:SVU, NCIS and House reruns. Its time for something different.

    • jenna says:

      Agreed! Everything on USA was starting to look the same to me so I like that they stepped outside their box. I found myself really enjoying the show! I’m curious how much depth we’ll get with the characters in just 6 episodes but I have my fingers crossed for a second season!

  4. Emily says:

    Read: USA wants a critically acclaimed, award-winning show that will make people start to take them seriously, expanding their brand beyond light procedural drama-comedies. Sigourney Weaver is a good first step.

    • Artemis says:

      Basically this. But I like the show, so I hope they get what they want.

    • BBBoomer1946 says:

      I can see this being nominated for an Emmy. The network stations are showing such reality garbage that, except for CBS, I am watching mainly cable stations these days. If not reality shows, they inundate us
      with sitcoms. I can almost recite the lines from NCIS they have been rerun so many times.

    • Well if that’s what they want, then they’ve definitely found their show!!!!! …here’s for Season 2!!!!

  5. Diego says:

    There needs to be a season 2. The show is absolutely AMAZING.

  6. Tj says:

    I like this show a lot, great cast dynamic and a cast I want to know more about, good scripts/story lines so I’m in for many more episodes!

  7. mst3k says:

    Sucks it’s on against Breaking Bad and the Newsroom. I watch everything on DVR. I’m sure this will turn out to be a money-maker for USA in the long run.

    • Debra Dobbs says:

      Since there is DVR then it really shouldn’t matter when it is on. I also watch the Newsroom but all On Demand. Please bring back Political Animals fir a Season 2.

  8. This show HAS to get renewed if only to have James Wolk on my TV screen every week.

    • Summer says:

      And Sebastian Stan, though they will have to work around his schedule for Captain America: The Winter Soldier

      • Siria says:

        Not to mention his Mad Hatter on Once upon a Time. I really hope he will make some guest appearances there

  9. Yay as well for me. I love this show. Smart, well written. Excellent cast. What’s not to love?

  10. Jake says:

    oh wow! i thought it was just going to be a mini-series, but id be happy with more seasons!

  11. Rrrrrr says:

    I’m surprised by how well this show is received. I tune in, expecting it to be this really good, fast-paced character driven drama, something like The Newsroom should have been, but instead we had cheesy dialogue and poorly written characters. Sure, the acting is good, but a show can’t survive on that alone.

    • Sandy Brawders says:

      May I suggest to Rrrrr that after viewing Episode 5 the writers are getting it, the actors got it, and now the audience needs to be constructive in feedback. I really like it and I don’t like miniseries.
      Love to see Barrish, her Mom and Susan Berg mix it up! Yes a bit of soap opera, but that is definately Washington D.C. The actors get to say alot of things I wish I could and lots of folks would listen and think about the consequences. The real star is Bud! I have seen Mr. Hinds in other things, never would have dreamed he could be so obnoxious and yet charismatically in control of the room. Really, hats off to this effort. I went back and watched the episodes in relation to a possible season 2? USA if you do not, you are not taking the pulse of the American public once they are back from vacations and the political season bursts forth….fingers crossed!

  12. Tori says:

    I enjoyed the premire. Haven’t yet watched episode 2. Sundays are very crowded for me. Breaking Bad, The Newsroom, Leverage, The Glades and Political Animals.

  13. RenewIT says:

    Ellen Burstyn RULES!
    Renew it!

  14. MichaelS says:

    I vote Yea! This show is just what I need during Political Season, since I’m never going to get that Clinton Movie/Miniseries I’ve wanted. And no, I’m not talking about “The Special Relationship”. Gotta love Sigourney Weaver!!

  15. Eh, from what I’ve seen so far I’m definitely not clamoring for a second season. Episode 1 was pretty average, and last night’s episode barely kept my attention (though it was hard for anything to do that after that awesome episode of Breaking Bad last night). Even if it does get picked up for a second season I can’t even guarantee I’d watch it as of now.

  16. Krissy says:

    This show is great. Sad that USA chose to schedule it on such a crowded night. I am hoping for a season 2.

  17. Susan Green says:

    They say they are not using the Clintons but it’s obvious they are. Wish it were more original.

    • Jonathan says:

      They only used a former first lady whose husband cheated who ran for pres, an wound up secretary of state. In the scheme of the entire show an all the story lines that is no much…the rest of the family situation and everything else is completely original.

  18. Talia says:

    Love this show and the amazing cast. Hope to see a season 2!

  19. Reblogged this on criticaditelevisore and commented:
    –They need to kill of Bud if they’re hoping for a second season. He is crude, the furthest from charming, and absolutely repulsive. Of course everyone’s going to rally for Elaine if this is who she considers her biggest political detriment. This is lazy writing – creating a compelling, likeable character only to realize OH WAIT he’s shady as all hell is what I would like to see. I do hope it gets a second season, as Douglas and TJ are quite interesting and I daresay I like them more than their parents. — CDT

    • by ‘everyone’ I mean the audience, since apparently in this universe Bud is beloved by all of America.

    • Trina says:

      I agree. Although Ciran Hinds is a great actor his portrayal is too far over the top. I for one find it hard to believe that many women would find him irrestible – where was Bruce Boxlienter (sp.?) when this was being cast?

  20. Lorie says:

    So far, this is just OK enough for me to DVR it for later. No way will I watch this live when Longmire is on.

  21. Denise says:

    Absoultely obsessed with this show !!!!!! There has to be some way it can be picked up for more seasons!! Sigourney weaver is amazing !

  22. Gerald says:

    Well, a 10% decline in your second episode isn’t too bad. Usually shows drop a lot more the second time around. That being said, I hope they renew it and we get a second season. I think its fun, addictive and has some great performances.

  23. Sarah says:

    I love it but they should have put it on a Wednesday or not a packed day

  24. BrianR says:

    Thinly veiled Clintonesque drama with too many cliques running throughout it.

  25. Scott says:

    I have struggled with the first first thirty minutes of the two episodes that have aired. The rest of the episode keeps my attention.

  26. arial2 says:

    Enjoy this show, but usually watch the second airing, at a later time the same night, because not all shows air the same new episode twice. It seems that ratings only take into account the first airing despite the apparent choice being given to viewers to watch during a second timeframe (judging from the figures I see on tvline.com, anyway).

  27. mia says:

    I LOVE Political Animals. Sigourney Weaver is so fierce in this. She carries this show SO SO well.
    .
    My whole family enjoys the show (we’re not Neilson viewers) and I hope USA renews it, it really does fit with their brand; fantastic characters, great stories and top-notch quality writing/acting week-in-week-out. That’s what USA means to me, and Political Animals is that.
    .
    And SIGOURNEY!!!! She’s going to get an Emmy nod too.

  28. This show is far from good, just like it’s ratings. We all know that NBC itself is used to renewing ratings under-performers with their recent struggles, but I doubt they can do that on USA as well. I can’t imagine the cast is cheap or that they would make any money with this show and it’s sub-par ratings. If they are hoping for awards, best to keep hoping. Every show nominated for an Emmy in the mini-series/movie category is significantly better than this show. NBC needs to learn to cut bait and move on from ratings failures. They tried a second season of Harry’s Law hoping for elusive awards and got one nomination and and a cancellation out of it.

  29. sara says:

    love it!!!! please renew!!!!

  30. downsidebob says:

    A big YES I am hooked
    A must for season 2

  31. Sam says:

    LOVE this show – love the pace and the cast is amazing. Would like to see more of this show in the “mini-series” format after this run.

  32. downsidebob says:

    I think BRenda suffers a breakdown and keeps her apart from Fritz
    It was a great series and a great character

  33. Danielle H says:

    Bring it back! USA is really good about bringing back what should be instead of just listening to ratings. Then again, everything on the network does well.

  34. Jane Johnson says:

    I hope someone who counts is reading these comments – this show is AMAZING and I’m really hoping it keeps going. So far, so GREAT!!!

  35. Janna says:

    I find this show very intriguing. The cast is spectacular. It shouldn’t be overlooked. Carla Gugino’s character is very fascinating. I hope they look at more than just the ratings. So many shows get the axe that are great shows. KEEP this show!! Its soapy, dramatic, and funny.

  36. Jessie says:

    I am LOVING Sigourney Weaver in this role. I would love to see a second season that focuses on the campaign. And as campy as I thought Ciaran Hinds was in the pilot, he made a much better impression on me in the second episode.

  37. Regal says:

    Really hope we get a Season 2. Sigh… this has been a really great year for the political drama. For years and years I’ve been looking for something to fill the hole that West Wing left, and then in a single year BBC America gives us The Hour (which is excellent, you really should give it a try if you haven’t – easily my favorite show that they’ve done on their Wednesday night Dramaville), ABC gives us Scandals (my 3rd favorite new show of last year-after Once and Revenge), HBO gives us Newsroom, and now USA gives us this. What a gluttony of riches.

    • Karen says:

      Absolutely true! Love them all! Have missed West Wing since it went off, and finally we have these! Please give us a second season!

  38. Bill_31964 says:

    Hang onto this show and amazing cast for at least one full season and more. USA has these actors locked up for several years, too good of a cast to abandon after just a short 6-part run! Political Animals is smart, intruiging, and sexy fun, and will no doubt be profitable in the long run for the network!

  39. I’m starting to wonder if NBC pays people to comment on TV sites to get people interested in their shows lol. Some people comment regularly but then you get this whole other group of one post wonders making comments that sound like they write positive critical reviews for a living lol.

    • Ram510 says:

      HAHA! I was thinking the same thing. Last week it was a real mix bag of comments on here. On TVBTN the comments were really mixed. But this week everyone loves it here??? Not to mention all the comments sound the same

      However I am REALLY loving this show, flaw and all and am hoping USA gives them more episodes

    • I wouldn’t doubt it, honestly.

  40. erin says:

    Yes! season 2! this show is fantastic.

  41. Rain says:

    I wasn’t sure I was going to watch this but since I don’t watch anything else when it’s on I gave the first episode a try, and I’m HOOKED! I didn’t realize at first it was only going to be 6 episodes so my fingers are crossed for a season 2 pick up. I’m not normally a political show lover but this show has such a brilliant cast I can’t resist!

  42. Velvet says:

    I have no plan to ever watch this show.

  43. tp says:

    How is it going to be a limited run with a second season?

  44. John says:

    I’m sorry but I cant get into the show. It was so earth shatteringly dull that I nearly fell asleep. The characters are as interesting as wallpaper, the dialogue is absolutley corny and it thinks its saying more than it actually is. Cant wait until its cancelled.

    • margaret mueller says:

      I hope the “powers that be” who read the viewers reviews don’t pay any attention to this ‘viewer’
      I couldn’t wait for 10PM every Sunday night…. Was sorry when the last episode was shown…
      Certainly hope it is re-scheduled for fall for at least one FULL season…

      • Roby Fox says:

        I was absolutely riveted to the tv…sometimes rewinding to make sure I didn’t miss a line. After that last show I was like…what do I do now? I want more…a lot more. And, not just a mini-series that lasts 6 weeks. I want a full season. You guys barely glanced the tip of the iceberg. I want to know what happens with Elaine, Bud, the boys…even the “does she care, doesn’t she care” reporter. I miss them already. Please bring them back!

      • Roby Fox says:

        I agree with Margaret Mueller whole-heartedly. I was sad when the last episode ended. I’ve got to see more!!!

  45. Jacob says:

    LOVE this show! Second best show on USA (next to Burn Notice)

  46. Soup says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

  47. Carl says:

    This is now 1 of my favourite drama tv shows. Hope it get picked up for a second season and a 3rd and 4th etc

  48. chris says:

    Love political animals! Sigourney weaver is amazing in this show! Please USA renew this show! It really shows what goes on behind the closed door of politics. Can’t wait for episode 3!!!

  49. shelly says:

    Love this show!!

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