The X-Files Ratings

Ratings: The X-Files Gets Off to a Spooky-Good Start

A whole lot of people still believe.

The opening installment of Fox’s six-hour X-Files revival drew an impressive 13.5 million total viewers on Sunday night during its first half-hour (starting around 10:25 pm), leading out of a well-watched (if lop-sided) NFC Championship game (which delivered north of 40 million viewers).

For comparison’s sake, The X-Files debuted in September 1993 to 12 million total viewers, while its 2002 series finale drew 13.3 million. A year ago, CBS’ Scorpion led out of the Colts/Patriots AFC Championship clash with an audience of 12.3 million (paired with a 3.2 demo rating).

In the demo, The X-Files scored a 5.1 rating in its first half-hour; fuller ratings are still to come later today.

TVLine readers gave the mythology-heavy episode an average grade of “B+.” Episode 2 airs tonight at 8/7c.

Broadcast TV’s only other original Sunday offering, ABC’s Galavant, did 2.1 mil and a 0.5, dipping a tenth to a new series low.

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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  1. MissEllys says:

    Good for XFiles. A very intriguing premiere. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.

    • Charlie from Revolution STANK says:

      I think the numbers are much more impressive than the ones in 1993 and 2002 since now there are more channel/outlet options for watching programs versus back then.

      • Annie says:

        Same! The fact that they were able to capture similar numbers that they did over a decade ago is a tv miracle. There should be some sort of ratings inflation guide lol.

  2. Drew says:

    I’ve been waiting to see the ratings. Very nice. I hope Fox agrees to make more (and Carter decides not to write any).
    The question is, how many people won’t come back tonight. They wasted no time before kicking a lot of fans in the teeth with politics and then threw nine seasons out the window. Will that alienate people?
    I hope not. I’m really looking forward to the next three. But there were some big issues with the premiere.

    • KLS says:

      I was not an original X-File watcher, but I tried it last night. It was confusing to say the least between the sets (2 houses?), to the long speeches, to the non-chemistry between the leads, I haven’t seen what the fuss was all about. I will watch the next one, but if no improvement, then I am out.

      • Drew says:

        Chris Carter tends to get a little full of himself, writing long monologues with huge words that nobody really uses in a conversation. The mythology of the series is a jumbled mess.
        All that said, the show has always shined in the monster of the week episodes. The other writers are usually great. The show is better when the actors/characters are able to loosen up a little.
        Last night might have been the low point of the series, unless I’m forgetting something. Please don’t judge the series based on last night! :)

        • Blackwood says:

          Do you really have to trot out your Carter criticisms after every single article? You’d think he’d run over your cat or something.

          • Drew says:

            My first post was a relevant comment about ratings. My second comment was a direct response to some talking to me. If you have a problem with the fact that not everyone thinks or feels the same way that you do, I recommend a dark room with no internet connection.
            I’ve been watching The X-Files since the day it premiered. I am entitled to my very informed opinions.

      • S. says:

        KLS, I really really think you’d enjoy binging on the previous stuff, esp. to get a look at the Mulder/Scully chemistry. It’s been off the charts before. Having seen the original I was not necessarily lacking in confusion about the writing here sometimes, but I was more wiling to shrug it off because things are supposed to improve. Carter had some stuff to establish that I’ve seen him do better. I get why reviews of the 1st ep were iffy. It was mythology heavy and as for non-chemistry between the leads, that’s on purpose, probably to reset the will they/won’t they. They spent years with so much chemistry it’s ridiculous and we’re apparently meant to believe Mulder’s depression broke them up. Hmm. Well if he’s back to being excited about the X-Files, the chemistry ought to wake up again I’m betting.

      • maria says:

        Do yourself a favor and watch from season one, Hulu has them all right now. You wont be disappointed…this was a confusing episode, they are trying to get their footing back.

      • Laurie says:

        I definitely expected high ratings. I wasn’t an X-Files original watcher either, so I never got the appeal of either star until I saw Duchovny in Californication. My entire opinion of him changed. I think it would be impossible for him not to have chemistry with ANYONE unless it deliberate. He exudes charisma so I have to think the cold exchanges between he & Anderson last night was deliberate. I seem to remember they had chemistry in the movie (which oddly I did see, but not the series.) I also don’t know how a show can last as long as this one did if the 2 leads did not have some kind of chemistry.
        I can’t say I understood everything going on in this episode but I found it appealing enough to tune back in tonight. It will be interesting to see if can keep the appeal & if it keeps the ratings up.

        • Lee says:

          The degree of chemistry between Mulder and Scully going back to the original series grew over time.,.like chemistry between two newly paired police partners. If you’re watching X-Files for the first time, Scully, is a medical doctor turned FBI agent while Mulder, is an FBI agent with a penchant for believing in the unexplained. Scully, always the scientist, trusts only what can be proven and explained by empirical evidence; Mulder believes first what he “believes” he sees with his own eyes no matter how unexplainable. Makes for great pair of bookends. The evolution of their professional turned personal relationship was inevitable. Don’t mistake what appears to be lack of chemistry in episode one of new series…the two of them know each other intimately and having said that, know each others strengths/weaknesses all too well. Personally, I’m thrilled to see the new series. And, strongly recommend HULU reruns for the milennials seeing this show for first time to catch up to the personalities of the two lead characters.

    • Blackwood says:

      I just think it’s really mean-spirited to use every single post as an opportunity to take a cheap shot at the guy who created the whole show in the first place. And implying that any contrary opinion is somehow less informed? Not cool.

      • Drew says:

        I think it is mean spirited to attack anyone who expresses an opinion about an artist or their work. I didn’t attack Carter as a human being. I commented on his work, which is perfectly valid. I never said that others were uninformed. I said that I’ve been paying my fandom dues for 23 years and I’m not going to suddenly shut my mouth because my words make someone get the sad feelz or whatever.
        These conversations are what X-Philes have been doing for years. You don’t get to come in and change the rules of the game because you feel like it.

        • Blackwood says:

          I’ve been a fan just as long as you have. You’re not any more or less entitled to express your opinion than anyone else. If you’re so experienced at this “game,” you should be used to other fans disagreeing with you and going to bat for the opposite viewpoint by now. There’s no need to have a meltdown just because someone’s dared to challenge your public sleights against the show’s creator.

      • Andrew says:

        @ Blackwood – I agree.

        Just like it’s not cool to say that you’re not a “true fan” of the X-Files if you believed the episode was amazing after your first viewing—another comment I saw that irked me.

        • Blackwood says:

          Thanks, Andrew. The idea that any one fan can declare themselves superior to any other based on how long they’ve watched the show or how aggressively critical of it they can be is just bizarre. No one has jurisdiction over the truth!

    • Laurie says:

      Irritation-not being a long-time viewer I don’t know what you mean they threw 9 seasons out of the window. I didn’t know half of what they were referring to last night & will have to research anyway, but I still enjoyed it enough to tune back in.
      (I like you how you threw in the word “ALIEN”ATE.)

    • Greg Cantin says:

      I’ve seen every episode ever, and I don’t feel like I’ve been kicked in the teeth. As a matter of fact, I LOVED the new ideas/politics Carter has put in. It’s almost too real for people to believe. Give me more!

  3. wrstlgirl says:

    I wonder how many people are ticked off today realizing that they’ve only got half of the episode on their DVR. FOX really should re-air it.

    • S says:

      ^This. I sat down to watch it and was massively disappointed. Shocked it didn’t air again at 11pm. Am taping on Friday on Space. Guess I’ll have the first three episodes to watch in quick succession.

    • NDFan says:

      As soon as I knew football was on before the premiere, I automatically set my DVR to run extra. Its just standard nowadays anytime a football game is on. I do feel sorry for those who didn’t realize or see it though. Wish they would re-air it.

      • wrstlgirl says:

        Yeah, I did the same but like someone said above, those who weren’t home, etc. couldn’t make the adjustment. I knew I couldn’t watch ep 2 live tonight and planned on watching the first two eps together, it’s just now I have to filter through all the BS to find it, no biggie but it’s just irritating.

        • NDFan says:

          I agree, its definitely irritating to have to filter through! I’m a football fan but I still always get annoyed by the excessive lengths of the games.

    • Becky says:

      How many people don’t know yet that if tape something after football, you need to add time. Come on people. This has been going on for a long time. How can you be surprised?

      • wrstlgirl says:

        Believe it or not there are people who don’t watch football and probably didn’t even know there was a football game on yesterday.

      • Laurie says:

        I feel last night’s game went extra long, maybe because of the trophy ceremony afterward. I caught the end of the show but probably because I was at home already & watching live. I actually missed the beginning of it because the game was so boring because it was so lopsided I fell asleep before the end of it! I have On Demand, though & can catch the entire episode of X-Files on there.

    • Becca Porter says:

      I was very glad that I had an Apple TV with the FOX app to watch it on once my DVR cut off.

    • Annie says:

      I called my Mom to make sure she extended her timer. She would have been tickkkkked

  4. Mulder And Scully says:

    The episode one is very good….happy for you. But the nexte episode (2 and 3), could be Awesome !!!

  5. ScrubsGuy says:

    Galavant deserves better.
    XFiles will have a better read tonight without a football lead in.

  6. A. D. says:

    Never been a big X Files fan, but I hope it does well for their fans and for other shows to get revivals.

  7. Mr. Tran K says:


  8. Tenney says:

    Poor Galavant; it’s so fun and no one is watching it. Last night’s episodes were great – The healer – Neo of Sporin, King Richard and Gal being besties, the awesome homage to Grease’s Summer Lovin, etc… It’s so witty and funny, I don’t want it to end.

  9. mgs2277 says:

    Thought the episode was a great start! but shocked that people didn’t adjust their DVR ending times accordingly

  10. Foxie says:

    Let the complain and criticism begin from people or fans who say this first episode was not as good as the expected, was not good beause etc etc. Lighten up people

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      The recap and its comments can be found here:

    • Drew says:

      You’re talking to old school geeks here. Not the modern “its so cool to be a geek” geeks. The X-Philes are not pop-geeks.
      Old school geeks dissect the things they love. They are the harshest critics.
      In today’s world, this might be called “hating” or whatever, but to real geeks, this is part of the fun. No old school X-Files geek is tuning in and turning off their brain. They’re mentally crosschecking this episode against every factoid from the original.

      • Well, says:

        Or, you know, they are just thrilled that Mulder and Scully were back on their television screens, and knowing that it was written by Carter, knew what they were going to get long before it aired…..

      • Timmah says:

        Or maybe they’re not a homogeneous group that nitpicks every detail of their favorite shows. Maybe some are simply enjoying the return of their favorite characters while they patiently let the story develop.

        • Becky says:

          I agree with Timmah. Some nitpick, fine. Some just want to enjoy.

        • Drew says:

          Would you say the same thing to people discussing a book? Would you tell them not to discuss their likes and dislikes, or share their opinions of an author’s decision?
          Some people enjoy conversation about these things. If you want to just smile and enjoy, that is fine. But a discussion about the show, the ratings, or whatever, will have many opinions and lots of discussion.
          When did we get to a point where that was a bad thing?

          • Blackwood says:

            It’s probably the aggressive, adversarial and belligerent nature of the criticism that wears people down. Intelligent discussion of the show and its content is one thing, but when every point comes with a side order of bile directed at the writer/creator it becomes something else. It is possible to dislike a narrative choice without framing it as an attack on the author.

          • Drew says:

            Carter slung bile in the episode. Are you calling him out for that?
            It isn’t bile on my part. I’m still trying to get more people to watch this revival, especially after the premiere when I’ve seen a lot of people say that they’re tuning out.
            These conversations go back decades and they’re relevant to this conversation. The flavor of The X-Files changes depending on who is writing the episode. Chris Carter’s are not the best of the bunch. This was one of the first show where people really did stop to notice the name on the writing credit. The same is true of Buffy. Discussing the writer of an X-Files episode goes hand in hand with discussing the plot. Sorry if that’s not cool with you, but that’s just the way it is. I casually mentioned who wrote episode 2 of this revival to someone online and their response was to say that they loved “The Field Where I Died”.
            I’m sorry if you don’t understand X-Files fandom, but it is what it is. It’s been that way for a very long time, and it’s not likely to change any time soon.

          • Blackwood says:

            Drew, you seem to think you’re the only one who watched the show back in the 90s. Guess what? I watched it from the beginning too, and I’m well aware that these arguments have been going on for decades – it’s why I’m so tired of seeing the mud slinging. Personally, I’ve always found “The Field Where I Died” to be one of the worst episodes of the show, embarrassingly bad. But I’m cool with you liking it. Conversely, I’d say “Paper Clip” and “The Post-Modern Prometheus” were two of the very best. That’s why I’m always excited to see what Chris Carter comes up with next, because he’s a visionary writer/director.

          • Drew says:

            I wasn’t the one who liked The Field Where I Died, but I get what you mean.
            See what you did there? You countered my comments with thoughts and opinions of your own. They’re perfectly valid and I can appreciate them. I’m not going to tell you to be quiet, call you mean spirited or any of that. If you had just come in with those views, we could have been having a much more friendly, fun conversation. Why didn’t you do that instead of attacking me for expressing opinions about the show?

          • Blackwood says:

            Please, condescend to me a little more, it’s really endearing.

      • Fluff says:

        Well said. Geeks who watched the show from the start, long before it was cool or popular, are nitpickers. They usually hated the second movie. Other “Xphiles” who started watching after season 3 when awards and hype started rolling in, are more lenient. They usually didn’t think the second movie was great but are content to forget everything was crappy just because Mulder and Scully were a couple.
        Different strokes for different folks. Just having “Mulder and Scully on screen” is not enough for me. I am glad they’re doing well but I’m not holding my breath for a show that will recapture the original’s magic.

        • Blackwood says:

          Fans don’t fall into two neat camps like that. Everyone’s different. It might be comforting to label those who don’t share your same criticisms as lesser/newer/younger fans, but it’s simply not the case. It’s sad how fandom a used to bring people together, but now they just divide them into rival factions trying to wage war over whose opinion is more valid. Live and let live, you’ll be happier.

          • Drew says:

            Geeks are passionate. They are all about details. They focus on the thing they enjoy, turning it around and letting the light catch it from every direction. Geeks are not the people who think it might be fun to see a comic book movie this weekend, if they have nothing better to do. They are the ones who have been following the production of that movie for a decade and know everything that led to getting that movie on the screen.
            You see hate. That is unfortunate for you. Yes, there are rival factions of geeky fandoms, and they like to debate or even argue about these things. What you see as hate is what they consider fun. Think of it as a sporting event, with rival teams. They like to get into the statistics, pick favorite players and talk trash to each other… then they’ll go grab a root beer and watch the next episode. It’s not hate. It’s not ugly. It’s how they forget about the crap going on in their real lives for a little while. It’s fun.

  11. Lysh says:

    Man, this does not look good for Galavant. Sad.
    But great for The X-Files! I hope they do just as well tonight. It’s weird not having it on a Sunday and I hope people don’t forget about it.

  12. Awesome premiere ratings! Hopefully this leads to more in the future. It will be interesting to see the ratings tonight. They’ll be down, but hopefully not too down. There is a lot of competition tonight and no lead-in.

  13. kmw says:

    Good start but remember those numbers are likely to be adjusted down because of football and they are up against new shows tonight, however I do say it did much better than I thought especially with such a lopsided football game

  14. emaureeng says:

    I’d like to see the ratings adjusted for the actual airing time rather than the scheduled time. Those high ratings must be for the football game and post-game. My PVR got the first half of X-Files; I checked when it concluded at 8pm, saw Mulder, and recorded the rest manually. Tonight’s episode is the second part of something most people may have only viewed partialy.

    I gather the first two episodes will be repeated later in the week, too bad ep1 wasn’t repeated the same night since it could have been predicted that the game might run late.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      “…drew an impressive 13.5 million total viewers on Sunday night during its first half-hour (starting around 10:25 pm).”

  15. Jen says:

    I don’t understand why FOX decided to premiere the new X-Files on the same night as a championship football game. It’s no secret that football games ruin many tv shows for people who use DVR. So I missed the last half of the premiere! FOX has been advertising this premiere for months now. That’s just BAD scheduling! They should have premiered Part 1 on Monday, then continued with Part 2 next Monday, since the show is on Mondays anyway. But I’m not surprised with the FOX Network. They are not what they used to be. I hope they at least do the right thing and replay the premiere, and soon!

    • LT says:

      Ummm, did you miss the part where the football game had north of 40 million viewers? That’s called a LEAD-IN. It wasn’t BAD scheduling…it was BRILLIANT SCHEDULING!

      • Andrew says:

        @ LT – Not necessarily. It’s great that Fox gave it a huge lead-in from football, but it’s also a double-edged sword, because the numbers have nowhere to go but down.

        However, I think they’ll retain a lot of viewers tonight, for sure.

  16. Root says:

    I loved the show but found this first hour rather dull, with it’s myriad of conspiracy theories. A lot it felt like it was recycled material. And how is smoking man back? He was very convincingly killed by a missile in the series final. But I’ll keep watching, and I hope the next hour is better now that the exposition is out of the way. And I hope that they give Skinner more screen time!

  17. Ruth says:

    I’m thrilled that the show is back. I’m hoping that it is so successful more episodes will be made.

  18. So happy says:

    That’s weird X Files debuted everywhere else on Sunday night. My television guide says it airs tonight (Monday).
    I can’t wait to see it :)

    • Poppy says:

      It did premiere everywhere on Sunday night (unless it was pre-empted in your area for some reason). The episode airing tonight is episode 2 and the season will continue to air on Monday nights from now on. Hope that helps.

  19. R says:

    I was only able to catch the last half hour of the pilot, but I was an avid fan when it was a regular program so following was not a problem, I hope that they do decide to make and let it regain life again.
    I guess now it’s more of a documentary today than a work of fiction.
    The people really do “want to believe”. Unfortunately you can’t believe anything the Gobberment tells us anymore.

  20. jeremy n jenn says:

    we have been hoping and waiting for the new xfiles. now its a reality. and we gotta say, it was everything we hoped for and more! we’re so excited and happy its finally here! we give it a A+! now we’re hoping for more seasons!!

  21. JAY says:

    The X Files deserve an A. Saw the first episode and loved I. I give it a 10 out of 10!

  22. JAY says:

    Correction: The X Files deserve an A. Saw the first episode and loved It! Look forward to the rest of the episodes! I give it a 10 out of 10!

  23. Jason says:

    If Galavant gets another miraculous renewal…. I can’t wait for what the writers think up to top of “Suck It, Cancellation Bear.” :D

    (That said, I am sad that the ratings are going lower and lower. I felt like the episodes last Sunday were the show’s strongest this season. Even if I do miss Chef and Gwynne.)

  24. Steve says:

    I totally forgot last night was “the night “! I was very relieved to see I could stream it from my Roku’s Foxnow channel. How one views content has surely change since X File days. Lol

  25. jacob says:

    The x files should continue with more episodes Chris did a good job rebooting the series surely he will make more then 6 episodes

  26. Matt says:

    Ya know it’s funny, I “believed” that this would rear it’s fantasticness again…
    Been a fan since its inception!!
    So far… Isn’t disappointing would be an understatement:)

  27. davis says:

    i think what a lot of people are failing to understand is this isn’t a reboot, this is season 10. Chris carter reopened the x files, they are not starting over. i recommend to watch the old ones, all nine seasons first to better understand including the movies. basically they are sort of picking up where they left off in a sense. the chemistry is still there, only thing is the characters are older and they have to behave as such. a lot when on between Mulder and scully i suppose in the 14 year gap. i know the show will be successful especially if they bring William (the son) in to the mix. to me the characters are still the same only just a bit more serious than before. cant wait till the other episodes are aired. P.S- the x files was always a sophisticated show with a deep well written and sophisticated dialog, why change that because some of us don’t understand the big words that they use. not trying to be a jerk but i suggest that whoever has trouble with understanding the show should watch something else that is more dumbed down for you or have a dictionary in hand perhaps. without that charismatic dialog the show would not have the flame that it has, instead it would be a disaster.

    • Lee says:

      Davis…you got that right…this is absolutely Season 10, not a reboot. Pls scroll up for my comments directed at the new (younger) millenial/facebook crowd. 13.5 milion viewers is phenomenal considering how many more media outlets are available today versus similar ratings with original series as was posted by someone earlier. “THE TRUTH IS IUT THERE”

    • Blackwood says:

      Well said! Who wants a dumbed down version of the show where people only talk in monosyllabic grunts or cringeworthy bon mots? The X-Files has always been known for its erudite writing and eloquent speeches. Like Aaron Sorkin and David Milch, Chris Carter is not about everyday dialogue but uses language with true artistry.

  28. Truefan says:

    So mad at myself. Missed the first show. Hope I can catch a rerun. I was a real fan of the old series. A real classic.

  29. Dee says:

    I’m so glad it’s back .I loved it years ago and still love it..