Ratings: Extreme-ly Soft Lead-In Sets Up Castle for New Low, Bones and Broke Girls Drop

Bones-Ep817-The_Ghost_in_the_machine_sc-2_0115Quick, Castle, unwrap your early Christmas present from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition… Hey, it’s a big lump of coal!

Hampered by a super-soft lead-in — two hours of EM:HE that averaged 4.4 million total viewers and barely a 1.0 demo rating aka barely a third of what Dancing With the Stars last drummed up — ABC’s Castle was forced to a new series low this Monday, sliding 19 and 15 percent to 8.4 mil and a 1.7.

Castle thus placed third in the 10 o’clock hour being NBC’s Blake Shelton holiday special (on par with Revolution at 9 mil/2.8) and a fresh Hawaii Five-0 (9.2 mil/2.2).

RELATED | Castle Christmas Episode Recap: Homicide for the Holidays

NBC’s The Voice was the night’s double champ, topping all comers in both total viewers (with 12 mil) and in the demo (dipping 7 percent to a 3.9).

RELATED | Michael Slezak’s The Voice Recap: Six-ual Tension

Elsewhere on Monday:

* On CBS, How I Met Your Mother (8.2 mil/3.0) was down 9 percent. 2 Broke Girls, leading out of a softer repeat this Monday (i.e. one of its own vs. Big Bang), dropped 15 percent from last week’s season high to 10.1 mil/3.5. In turn, Mike & Molly (10.2 mil/3.1) fell 14 percent. The aforementioned Five-0 lost 11 percent in total audience and ticked down in the demo.

RELATED | How I Met Your Mother Recap: Robin Wants One Night With Barney – But Does He Want Her?

* The 150th-ish episode of Fox’s Bones (7.3 mil/1.9) was down 9 and 21 percent. Mob Doctor (3.35 mil/0.8) returned to its ailing ways, dropping 15 and 27 percent.

* The 100th episode of 90210 (1.04 mil/0.5) gained a few eyeballs while flat in the demo. Gossip Girl (800K/0.3) dropped a tenth.

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76 Comments
  1. Daisy says:

    Did anyone else find last night’s episode of Bones really disturbing and weird? I ended up fast forwarding through most of it.

  2. Cam says:

    Dear Matt, Bones got a 1.9 according to TVByTheNumbers. Double check pretty please. Thank yoooou. :)

  3. Katie says:

    Really? You guys are kind of a joke. Castle was forced to a season low? Castle is a five year old show. It should stand on its own weather it has a good lead in or not.

    I don’t see you saying “Castle was forced to great ratings”

    What hypocrisy.

    • Symce says:

      NBC had the voice as a lead-in for everything else. CBS had H5O, HIMYM, 2 broke girls.

      What did ABC have on that station that drew in an audience? Castle, there’s your answer, if you look at the big picture, it stood just fine on it’s own. ABC’s lineup is just very weak on Mondays.

    • cat says:

      I don’t understand the “lead-in is everything” concept either. Do people tune in to Castle deliberately or not? Does this show have NO dedicated following? Or are people who watch Castle just drifting into it every week because Dancing with the Stars is on before it?

      • wrstlgirl says:

        Exactly. If I enjoy a show I could care less what comes on before it. If it’s not something I watch I’ll do something else until my show comes on. The “lead in” should not matter if you are a loyal fan.

      • Shaun says:

        maybe they hoping for new audience from DWTS and Makeover to add some potential viewers.

        • Sg. Grant says:

          No, they are just hoping people fall asleep watching those boring-ass shows and leave their tv on, thus boosting the ratings of the shows after them.

      • LegendofCas says:

        I definitely understand your point, but in my opinion, the 8.4 million that DID watch regardless of the lead in are probably the dedicated fans. The lead in is important to attract casual viewers. I’ve never been a casual viewer myself, but there are enough of them to impact a viewer count. Dancing with the Stars attracts a variety of viewers that may not seek out Castle on their own. But if a preview is interesting, or the beginning of the episode can draw them in, you’ll definitely pick up more viewers with a strong lead in. Overall, 8.4 isn’t a bad number, just in comparison to the approximately 10 million they’ve brought in lately. Another point I always exaggerate is that ABC is also not very good at advertising it’s own shows. Some less-aware fans may not have even known there was an episode this week, as Castle is typically paired with DWTS. Maybe some people thought they both had the same finale date.

    • lauren says:

      I would like some of what you are smoking if you think that having a tiny fraction of it’s usual lead in isn’t to blame here.

    • Anya says:

      THIS! They’re 5 years old. They should be able to bike without training wheels at this point. The lead-in is just a fan excuse. They’ve been coddled for 5 seasons now with a ‘strong’ lead-in. Sad.

      Yes, Matt, TVbythe#s lists Bones as 1.9. Don’t grade them lower. It’s a little disconcerting that whenever it’s Bones related, they get slapped (in the title even), yet when they are actually doing well. But when they really do well, it’s being waved off with some lame handflip. Biased, much?

      December is a horrible month for ratings so this is not at all surprising that all shows went down. CBS I don’t consider valid anymore since apparently Nielsen keeps that one neatly above the rest, as always. CBS doesn’t even count.

      Good that most shows are stopped now until 2013. Seems for the best.

      • scooby says:

        Ah, the bitter Bones fans are out in force, bashing Castle instead of acknowledging their own show’s issues. Some of you just give the rest of the Bones fandom a bad name. Lots of good Bones fans out there, everybody, many of them in this comment section. Don’t judge them for the nastiness of others. Castle’s never been after a scripted show, only aging reality franchises. Castle didn’t just have a crappy lead in, they were off last week so it’s a final episode before a break, floating out in the middle of nowhere. ABC should’ve had DTWS from 8 to 10, then Castle’s midseason finale afterward. Typical network shenanigans, hanging them out to dry. Wonder how much the lack of support is due to Castle coming into being under another network president’s tenure. Why make the last guy look good?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Upon consideration, I have edited the headline accordingly; “Forces” was a bit too declarative.

  4. Grace says:

    Sadly, I’m finding that with BONES I am doing that more and more, it seems to have lost some of the edge (for lack of a better word.) That made me want to play along, it seems to aiming for the more gross the better – also the story lines seem tired. Like the actors are just done and over the whole show.

    Sad, I used to love the show.

    That typed, anyone else think Castle is also very tired and needs either a reboot or a cancel?

    • Stacey says:

      Last night’s BONES episode was one of the bonus episode from last season. One of the extra four FOX made them do, but held off airing until this fall. I liked it. It was different. Although I couldn’t help but recall the MASH episode, but this was different since they did from the POV of a corpse and focused majority on the lab instead of the FBI side of things. We really didn’t see Booth and any suspect until the truth was found. I have liked the episode. Different episodes. But still purely BONES. I don’t think BONES is looking tired. It still has life in it! But this was the last of the bonus episodes, so ALL episodes in January and onward are original of this season.

    • Agree with the comment on Bones. I tired of them a season ago. Disagree on the comment on Castle. Love this season so far and looking forward to many more. Also, I simply tune into the show(s) I watch, don’t depend on lead in material. That being said, I know that that “lead in” demographic is responsible for a decent percentage of any shows audience share, and the networks use that to position certain shows. Seems to me with their programming of late, ABC either doesn’t care about the numbers Castle can generate for them on Monday nights, or they are trying their damnedest to skew their numbers. But then, who can actually figure out what networks are really thinking with the kind of crap they deem watchable these days. A two hour time slot for extreme makeover? Please. Soft doesn’t even begin to describe that kind of scheduling.

    • Emily says:

      I think last night’s Bones is creative but I didn’t enjoy it. I felt really dizzy throughout the episode. And the writer was kind of forcing the characters to carry the bones to everywhere. And Brennan didn’t act like herself.

      I love Bones too. I still do. But now I’m more like an old friend instead of a lover.

      For Castle, I think the writers are doing a really good job in keeping the chemistry and developing their relationship. It’s really fun and interesting to watch. I think the storytelling is good.

  5. DreamRose311 says:

    Seems likely that being off last week would hurt its ratings too, as I’m sure a lot of people would assume that meant it wasn’t on this week either (re: Castle)

  6. Carole says:

    Bones gimmick eps are hit and miss. I love the show but it does better in ratings when it sticks to what works best and its formula…..Also I do think that Booth and Brennan need to be brought to the center, there has been too much focus on the B-cast with the first 8 eps and it’s not working for me…the eps in the new year seem more promising for B&B centered eps.

  7. brigygirl3 says:

    Kinda disappointing, seeing as how last night’s Castle was the best one since the Hamptons. Seemed like an old-school episode to me! Really enjoyable …

  8. Jake says:

    Lead -ins aren’t really that big of a deal. The majority of people don’t just watch one network all night. I know for me, when it is time for Castle, I just turn to that channel. So saying the ratings are because of a soft lead-in, I don’t buy that.

  9. lil ole me says:

    I’m curious to see what the Castle DVR +7 or +5 (whatever that is) ratings increase to. I am a dedicated Castle watcher, but never watch anything live anymore. I think the lead-in contributes to the live viewership but not much else.

  10. Rida says:

    Cnsidering all other 10 pm shows are affected by lead-ins as well, Castle does not really look bad because it held its own despite the suckest lead-in of all. Plus other ABC 10pm shows do much worse with a great lead-in thn what Castle did without one. So no, Castle does not look that bad because its the only performer ABC had this monday.

  11. Ant says:

    Only reason I didn’t watch Castle was because of the Giants game.

  12. Cam2 says:

    It’s Dec the ratings are always lower as it has shown across the networks with all their shows this Monday ….re: the lead-in debate, if you aren’t a freshman show you should be standing on your own two feet. Good lead in or not and maintaining a core fandom viewership…..What about the shows with NO lead-in? Who do they blame for dips? Own your own ratings.

  13. Susan Krisha says:

    Regarding lead-ins and ratings. Specifically this discussion about Castle. I have to say that I agree with cat and Anya. A five year old show should have it’s own legs by now. However (like but) if the lead-n concept is valid, how does Bones manage to have consistently solid (not stellar) ratings with no lead-in? Yet the shows following Bones (Finder/Mop Doctor) tank?

  14. as a member of the bet fandom in the world, I do not put much stock in the rating report. they fail to take into consideration millions of viewers world wide the archaic nielsen method of rathing should be put to rest for good. The top trending show on tv last night was Castle. I am not a part of the nielsen family of viewers but I am not a dwts fan and never will be. I only tune into Castle on Monday as I have for years. Trust me I am not unique in my viewing choice or pattern. Castle has the aility to stand on its own 2 feet and it constantly rated as of the most popular shows on tv. It definitely holds its own most Monday’s regardless of a good lean in or not. Hopefully ABC ignored this normal ratings drop in December on a Monday and will continue to promote (which they do not do well) the best show on TV including the best actors in a crime drama since west wing was booted off by poor writing and scheduling.

    • JJ says:

      I agree that Nielsen ratings are fairly archaic, BUT those numbers are still used by tv execs and advertisers. So like it or not nielsen ratings still affect the business part of television, and consequently make them quite relevant.

  15. MF says:

    Castle unfortunately isn’t doing well rating-wise the whole season. This week is just rock bottom.

    Despite that, I’m pretty sure ABC will treat us fans with another season, eventhough season 6 will most definitely be the last.

    I’m really sad, but to change my opinion on this topic, the ratings have to rise incredibly through the roof, once the show is back on air next year!

    I still hope for the best!

    • Elena says:

      Actually, Castle is doing quite well this season and holding steady (overall). Last night’s episode was the only “major” dip the show has taken all season. Plus, if you compare this season to previous seasons the numbers are pretty much the same. It has a very steady audience (averaging between 10-11 million viewers a week) and generally hits somewhere between 2.0-2.2 every week. It’s typically the most watched scripted tv show of all networks on Monday nights. I think, besides the first couple of weeks Revolution was on back in September, last night was the first night all season that Castle wasn’t the most watched scripted show of the night.

      So, I wouldn’t worry too much about Castle. It’s a very solid performer for ABC…last night’s ratings weren’t awesome but it’s one night…and one night does not define a whole season. :)

  16. de says:

    Gossip Girl was surprisingly good last night.. I wasn’t expecting that to happen.. Hopefully the last two episodes will make me forget the rest of the season…

  17. Marie says:

    Bones deserved bad ratings last night. They stole a n episode and the title from The X Files. They are not The X Files and they never will be. Bons sucks. They need to get they’re own ideas instead of stealing iconic shows like The X Files episodes and ideas.

  18. Jenny says:

    BONES does science well. Character development is sooo bad. I wonder if they truly care about the characters cause they do everything wrong regarding them. For example, Cam and Angela are a huge bore. They bring nothing to the table. Idk why they’re even there. Everyone else has some special personalities but hart Hanson and team don’t bother using it to their advantage. . How many science shows are out there? Done time and time again right? It’s having characters that stand out along with a great story that usually makes a show successful. Bones has lost it’s edge it once had and it’s painful to watch now. I find myself not caring about any of the characters, even Bones and Booth, who I feel have also been ruined as a couple simply because of how they got together which was sooo forced and unnatural. They literally got together over night. I’m 3 eps behind on Bones and idk that ill ever catch up.

  19. sarah says:

    That is not good that H50 dropped but it was very close to Castle’s #’s so that is actually good.
    That is great that more people tuned into 90210.

  20. Lauren says:

    Castle is a solid performer in terms of ratings but that demo (1.7) is concerning. That’s the number the network is looking at.

    • Mary says:

      I know us old folks don’t matter; however I think they need to realize many of the demographics they want do not watch TV. I know my son watches very little TV unless it is sports or history.

  21. kevin says:

    Bones is just dying on the vine. Last night was meant to be some kinda warm hearted seasonal show, but ended up unintentionally creepy. When does bones EVER bring a skull home with her?

    I do applaud the attempt at changing up the film making and trying something different..but the execution was just jarring and unnatural.

    and Cindy Lauper is just annoying …she’s terrible..hate to say it , but she is.

  22. Tikkanen says:

    Love Castle. This is a travesty!

  23. Cynthia V. says:

    Castle – It has a solid fanbase and moreover, created a unique market of revenue for abc/Disney: What other show on T.V. has a NY Times best selling series ‘authored’ by its lead character about his muse, the co-star? Its own coffee label? A comic book? The list goes on. It’s a quarky series with quarky characters. I love that they don’t label it comedy or drama. And it has been successful thus far, telling a love story of classic tone set in a modern framework. Not worried; my hopeful guess is that this show will run its course naturally. “It’s not about the numbers anymore…”

  24. Tom says:

    Typical network suit mentality — preempt Castle the previous week (when CBS ran a fresh episode of Hawaii Five-O) then air two hours of crap on in front of Castle this week. Then wonder why the ratings went down. Yup, that’s a real head-scratcher.

  25. Sarah says:

    I actually liked Bones last night. Definitely more than “Joke”. I blame the ratings on it.

  26. Boiler says:

    I don’t get the lead in thiing either. You don’t even need to get your butt off the couch to change the channel anymore!! Networks HAVE To find a way to make DVR work for them. Last week Castle gained 3.8Mill with DVR, Nashvilee 3mill, Glee 3 mill, New Girl 2.6, Bones 2.4. None of the so called reality shows are in this range. I’m tired of watching reality crap but that is wht we will end up with soon if they ignore DVR.

  27. Debbie Harris says:

    Maybe it would help if ABC would do any kind of advertisement for Castle. I constantly see Nashville and Shark Tank promos, I don’t watch either of those, but I sure know when they’re on.

  28. emgregson says:

    At first, my stomach actually HURT at the sight of that 1.7 rating for Castle. I couldn’t imagine what had happened to cause the show to take such a dip and hit that series low. Then I started thinking and had a few thoughts that put things into perspective.

    First, Castle’s “winter finale” episodes have always had similar ratings. Who knows why exactly, but that is pretty much par for the course when it comes to this time of year for Castle. So, I suppose last night’s result was almost to be expected.

    Second, Castle actually took the pretty dismal numbers the sweet but not particularly popular EM:HE brought in and doubled them (both in ratings and number of viewers). There was actually a 60% rise in viewers as the night shifted from EM:HE to Castle. That’s pretty impressive and, I think, an indication that Castle actually DOES bring in viewers on its own and does not rely on its lead-in to draw people to tune in.

    Third, Castle has been the most-watched scripted show of Monday night (in terms of number of viewers) every week since around the 3rd week of the season. Obviously, it has a strong and loyal fan base watching every week that has pushed Castle to the top of the Monday night shows. I don’t think people just didn’t watch last night because they didn’t want to…there were likely other factors involved that took away those 2 million more viewers it usually has. What could those factors be? Well, for one thing, there was a huge Monday Night Football game on last night (Redskins vs Giants), so the hugely important NY and DC markets were affected by that factor. In addition, there was a Blake Shelton Christmas special on NBC that drew pretty nice numbers. In all likelihood, a good number of those missing regular 2 million viewers DVRed Castle and watched the football game or the Christmas special live. I’m interested to see how Castle’s rating/viewers rise with the DVR numbers factored (not that those numbers matter quite as much as the live numbers do to networks) but I’m just curious.

    **I think it should be noted that Castle’s season low in terms of number of viewers is still significantly higher than the average number of viewers the ratings juggernaut Revolution has typically been earning per episode pretty steadily since it experienced a drop-off after its 3rd or 4th airing. The same goes for Castle compared to just about all of Monday night’s scripted shows. So, looking at the big picture, Castle’s lowest viewership numbers are right on par with how its Monday night competitors perform on a weekly basis. For its series low to be on level with many shows’ average performance is saying something about how well the show typically performs, isn’t it?

    The same can be said for the number of viewers many of ABC’s other hit dramas have been bringing in all season, namely Revenge and Once Upon A Time. Though Castle’s Nielsen ratings are frustratingly always lower than those shows, its number of viewers is typically higher than theirs…usually by 1.5 million viewers for OUAT and closer to 2-2.5 million for Revenge. I don’t think Revenge has ever had more viewers than Castle (especially not this season) and OUAT may have edged Castle in that department a couple of times this season but that result does not seem to be typical.

    I know the Nielsen rating is what really counts…as frustrating as that is…but I’m just speaking to the actual number of people who watch Castle regularly. Though that number did take a bit of a dip last night, I don’t think it is a reflection of the show’s overall performance. It was one week, one episode, airing at a time of year that is just rough for a lot of shows. Again, though, what’s considered “weak” for Castle is considered “strong” for other shows. I just think that’s something that needs to be pointed out and taken into consideration here.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not making excuses here just putting things in perspective and trying to see the whole picture. :)

  29. Astrid says:

    I actually LOVED bones! I thought it was both creative and extremely well filmed. It was a nice different way of seeing it :)
    And Castle was just cute <3

  30. Kirsten says:

    Will they ever stop making those extreme makeover shows? I haven’t seen Castle this week, but only because it comes on at 10 p.m. and I have to wake up at 5 a.m. I have to watch Castle and Parenthood later in the week or on the weekend when I don’t have to get up before the crack of dawn.

    • scooby says:

      They DID stop making them. It’s cancelled and the crew gone elsewhere. The show was probably made last year. They did a bunch of specials and are just waiting to release them. The post-production work was done this past spring.

  31. tlc19 says:

    It was such a cute ep of Castle! Sad to hear it didn’t do well in the ratings, but I definitely think not having an ep last week hurt it. My mother enjoys Castle as a casual fan (I’m the crazy won’t-miss-an-ep kind) and I called her last night to see if she was watching. She was like, “oh, is there an episode tonight? I checked last week and it wasn’t on so I thought it was over until January with all the Christmas specials on now.” It didn’t help that she still thinks Castle comes on NBC, lol.

  32. Jamie says:

    I can’t imagine why Castle rating are dropping. The show is still great, chemistry is still there and the murders are just as interesting if not more then they have been. I don’t get it.

  33. tp says:

    I had 5 episodes of Bones stacked up to watch later and I deleted them today. I’m mad because I forgot that Cam was secretly seeing someone. Who was it?

  34. kiber9 says:

    Ouchy, I wondered why TVLine had stopped recapping Bones. Now I see the reason, the Bones haters, Castle gushers have taken over the site. My mistake for reading this crap, wont do it again.

    • Emma says:

      @kiber9
      SO MUCH TRUTH in your statement.
      LOL at the Castle fans trying to BS excuses for their dire 1.7 demo rating. Castle has been airing in the same timeslot for 5 years and at the beginning of last season, they had ratings of 3.0+…and now look at their ratings. It proves that more and more people are turning off the show and it’s success depends on DWTS

      Even so, I do think Castle will be renewed for a 6th season but it will definitely be the last

  35. Shawna says:

    Have to say, I kind of agree with kiber9 and I watch BOTH shows. The amount of publicity (read: bias) Castle gets on this website is shocking and there is alot of hate for Bones in the comments sections…god, people need to learn to MOVE ON if they hate a show so much

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