Ratings: Arrow Returns Down

On a night when all but one broadcast program took a hit, the CW’s Arrow opened Season 5 on Wednesday with 1.9 million total viewers and a 0.7 demo rating, down 20 and 36 percent from its previous premiere and even shy of its May finale (2.2 mil/0.8).

Frequency debuted out of that with 1.4 mil and a 0.4, down sharply from what Supernatural last did in the time slot and off a tenth from No Tomorrow‘s Tuesday launch.

Elsewhere on the night….

CBS | Survivor (8.5 mil/1.8) slipped 14 percent, Criminal Minds (7.6 mil/1.4) dropped 26 percent and Code Black (5.9 mil/1.0) was down 16 percent.

NBC | Blindspot (5.6 mil/1.3) held steady, while SVU (5.7 mil/1.3) and Chicago PD (6.2 mil/1.3) dropped three and two tenths, respectively.

ABC | Designated Survivor (7.1 mil/1.6) — which already has a full-season order — dipped 11 percent. (Sorry, no time today for sitcom numbers; TVBTN can help the anxious/desperate.)

FOX | Lethal Weapon (6.5 mil/1.7) slipped 15 percent, while Empire (9.3 mil/3.3) dipped 11 percent.

Want scoop on any of the above shows? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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39 Comments
  1. Jason says:

    at what point ratings wise should Arrow worry about its future given how long its been on the air?

    • Jon Willis says:

      If it drops below 1.5 million I’d start to worry

      • Patrick says:

        Lethal Weapon, Blindspot, and Arrow are all competing for the same eyeballs. And LW is winning while BS and Arrow got spanked. But, Arrow had no Dig, no Olicity, no Black Canary/Laurel Lance, so fans stayed away. I hope they catch up on demand, and tune back in for what seems promising.

        • Tiffany says:

          These are the exact reasons I stayed away from Arrow last night. I plan to see how the first 4-5 episodes go to see if I even want to tune back in. From what I saw posted about the premiere, I probably won’t be tuning in any time soon.

          • 134sc says:

            Well, despite missing all those characters it was a very entertaining episode of ARROW. Best episode in a long, long time

        • wrstlgirl says:

          I’ve got four shows competing for that time slot, Survivor, Arrow, Blindspot and Lethal Weapon. I had to make a choice going forward. I can record two and watch a third on another TV. I’ve decided to bail on Blindspot going forward.

        • Sara says:

          Did Blindspot really get spanked if it was the only show that DIDN’T go down last night? I’d say that’s a win.

      • Katie T says:

        I wouldn’t start worrying at a particular figure like 1.5 million at all. Firstly,because as we know the demo is the most important thing rather than number of viewers. And secondly,because it’s all to do with comparison to the ratings of all the other shows on the network. Arrow will almost certainly be in the top 3 or 4 rating shows on the CW for the season,along with Flash,Supernatural and possibly Supergirl.

    • JasonBey01 says:

      No one should worry about live TV ratings. CW app gives FREE CW to everyone online and with roku, fire tv, cell phones, tablets, etc. Millennials are not sitting down and watching live tv. I’m on the outer age of that and I haven’t watched a live tv show, other than sports, since 2001. Netflix just gave the CW a huge amount of money for their shows because they are super popular beyond live ratings. I’m an arrow fan and will watch the 1st ep when I get a chance. Maybe wait for 3 or so eps and watch them back to back.

  2. kmw says:

    Good that Blindspot stabilized and even Lethal Weapon did alright. And while I expect Empire to adjust up I think FOX was expecting better for their Mariah Carey episode. I know FOX isn’t upset over their numbers( after all they have nothing else close to it) but I am surprised at the dip in their demo numbers. ABC is probably happy with their night especially since DS is till heads and shoulders above what Nashville was doing. Criminal Minds drop not a surprise and it will drop even further

  3. Frankie says:

    Why Arrow premiered down if I heard or read it was a great premiere? What TPTB take into account when they decide the fate of a show, ratings or fans tuning in regardless if the ratings were not that successful or was successful, because most of the time ratings and fans opinions do not go hand in hand, they always differ.

    So what is important for a show to succeed, ratings, or fans tuning in regardless if it there was low or high ratings. I dont get it

    • Dysturbed says:

      They generally take into account ratings from those in the key 18-49 demo, cause those are the people advertisers target, and the advertisers are who help provide the networks with a lot of the revenue that helps allow the shows to air in the first place. Other factors come into play too though with each individual show such as production costs, if syndication money is being made, how the show is distributed, etc.

      It premiered down despite being (in the opinions of many) a great premiere, because if a lot of people lacked interest before the show even aired, they had no desire to watch to find out if the premiere would be good or not. If they read recaps and comments and decide that it sounds like the show is something that interests them (or interests them again), maybe they will tune in next week.

      • Frankie says:

        So it is nice not to read recaps before an episode air because you easily jump into the conclusuon of something that may not even possible take place.

      • Patrick says:

        Another consideration is the cost of production. If the show’s costs are high, then it might get canceled while a lesser rated show is renewed. It is all about profits. A cheap show can earn less money than another show, but have higher profits due to lower costs.
        .
        This is one of the reasons Katie Cassidy was let go. She was the only real name actress when the show started, and was probably one of the highest salaries outside Amell (and maybe INCLUDING Amell).
        .
        Another factor that will help Arrow is the failure of Ninja Turtles 2 this past summer. Had that movie been very successful, Amell would have had many movie offers. The CW would have to pay him a fortune to retain him. The CW did this with Smallville, and Supernatural still, but those were different shows. The CW was bleeding shows during Welling’s last few years, and they needed a hit. SPN has only 2 main leads, so it can pay them a lot while keeping the rest of the costs low. But, with TMNT 2’s failure, Amell is not as attractive to movie producers, which keeps his costs relatively low.
        .
        A huge factor will be Arrow’s performance in syndication. It has entered heavy rotation on TNT. If that proves popular, then the show can be made at a loss because of the insane syndication revenues. Friends lost money during the last few years, based on the costs and earnings of its weekly, first run airings. But the syndication money meant that its profits were in the hundreds of millions of dollars. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to renewal and cancelations.

        • The TNT deal is meaningless as the network and CW are both owned by Warner Brothers. The only additional money that could come from it is ad revenue which I don’t see amounting to much. Don’t know if that would pour back into the actual Arrow budget anyway.

        • Dysturbed says:

          I mentioned production costs before mentioning syndication,but thank you for going into further detail to explain what that involves, along with further clarifying the different factors.

          The contract cost for Katie Cassidy is why she was let go, but then they signed her (along with John Barrowman, Wentworth Miller, and I believe another actor or two) to “series regular roles” within the “Arrowverse” meaning that she’s still going to be paid a decent amount of money, but it’s presumably spread between the budgets of the different shows.

  4. ndixit says:

    Maybe people finally got fed up after that lousy season 4. Season 5 premiere was decent but the premieres always seem fine. Arrow seasons lose their way badly somewhere midway through the season.

  5. Stacey Kirsch says:

    There’s a good reason for it being down. Some of us in the Chicago area depended on our DVR to record it, not realizing that it didn’t update to the new channel affiliated with the CW. Now that I have that fixed, I won’t miss future episodes.

  6. btm says:

    People stay away because of what has come before (in the case of a premiere, in a prior season or in prior seasons). The content of an episode that receives low ratings didn’t drive the ratings down for that episode.
    .
    Low ratings in a season five premiere is an indictment of season four, not a commentary on the premiere itself. Its quality has no bearing on how many people watched it. How would anyone know when making a decision to watch the premiere or not? The quality of the premiere will only affect future ratings.
    .
    Because it’s on the CW, where the bar is lower, and part of an extended universe, I expect the ratings would have to plummet a good bit more before the show is endangered. Low ratings can certainly impact the number of characters maintained in an ensemble show, however, particularly as a show ages and salaries rise. Arrow is typically at its best when the number of regular characters is kept to a minimum, so I would not be upset if ratings forced the showrunners to simplify and drill down to the core players.
    .
    I’d worry if the trend continues and you are a fan of tertiary recurring characters, though. That’s where they trim. As of season four, they are no longer carrying Cassidy and Haynes, and I imagine that lowered the show’s costs somewhat. Newer team additions will be cheap as far as salaries are concerned.

  7. M says:

    With its current horrible soapy quality Arrow deserves the numbers it’s getting…even lower I’d say

  8. RedReddington says:

    Happy to see Blindspot finally stabilize. I want it to last for a good long while, especially since I gave up on the Craptastic Blacklist and need a new favorite show.

  9. Luis says:

    With all the competition in that spot, the rating isn’t unexpected. The DVR numbers should be an improvement, but I’d check the average numbers for the first four episodes before I started worrying about the future/

  10. Now I cant watch it because it is blocked on Puerto Rico. So I guess that now, I will have to download the App to watch them 24hrs latter… CW you are AWESOME! NOT!

  11. Jess says:

    Got fed up of Olicity and Felicity. No point tuning in anymore. Anything that was good about the show disappeared. From Season 3 onwards the show has been a mess.

    I wasn’t the biggest Laurel fan but killing her was a huge mistake. She was a pivotal character and everything is no luckluster on Arrow.

    I saw the promo and knew I was no longer watching the show. New team. Felicity and friends. No thank-you. Not when THE FLASH is amazing and always reaching new heights.

  12. JasonBey01 says:

    No one should worry about live TV ratings in 2016 for any show. CW app gives FREE CW to everyone online and with roku, fire tv, cell phones, tablets, etc. Millennials are not sitting down and watching live tv. I’m on the outer age of that and I haven’t watched a live tv show, other than sports, since 2001. Netflix just gave the CW a huge amount of money for their shows because they are super popular beyond live ratings. I’m an arrow fan and will watch the 1st ep when I get a chance. Maybe wait for 3 or so eps and watch them back to back.

  13. hank ronson says:

    felicity and friends suxs

  14. iceblast says:

    I thought they did a awesome job with the first episode. Lots of great fights, and interesting story told. I don’t understand why people would be avoiding it. They did a great job.

  15. Vivian says:

    Well, we missed it in Chicago…not on it’s regular CW/WGN channel but another CW channel?? Also, when you looked for it on Dish, only the reruns on TNT showed up.

  16. Boiler says:

    Hey NBC still happy with the Laura decision!

  17. 134sc says:

    ARROW. Disappointing, but not surprising. They got some work to do to earn back the trust of a majority of the fan base. Good news is that the premier was pretty awesome, so they r on the right track.

  18. robgeo says:

    nice to see people analyzing the relevance of ratings!

  19. Lambsilencer says:

    This was the last episode for Thomas Gibson on “Criminal Minds”, and I have to say, they found a very satisfying way to adjust the episodes to the scenes that were already filmed and the ones they had to shoot without Gibson. A.J. Cook gave one hell of a performance, she made us feel the sometimes unbearable weight of such a dark job, especially if you are a mother and the case involves kids, and even more so, not being able to save every one. A truly haunting hour.