Sleepy Hollow Season 3 Preview

Ratings: Sleepy Hollow Returns to Lows

Fox’s Sleepy Hollow opened Season 3 and christened its new Thursday time slot with 3.5 million total viewers and a 1.0 demo rating (per finals), down sharply from both its Season 2 opener (5.6 mil/2.0) and finale (4.4 mil/1.4), and easily hitting series lows.

Opening Fox’s night, Bones returned to 6.2 mil/1.4, down from its previous premiere (6.3 mil/1.6) but up from its May June finale (5.1 mil/1.2).

TVLine readers gave both premieres an average grade of “A-.”


ABC | Grey’s Anatomy (8.6 mil/2.3) slipped 11 and 18 percent from last week’s opener, Scandal (9.1 mil/2.8) fell 12 and 15 percent, and HTGAWM (7.5 mil/2.3) was down 11 and 12 percent, hitting new series lows.

NBC | Heroes Reborn (5 mil/1.6) dropped 17 and 20 percent from its debut. The Blacklist returned to 7.8 mil/1.8 (and an “A-” grade), down 25 percent from last season’s Thursday premiere but up from its May finale (7.5 mil/1.6). And I was wrong about The Player (4.6 mil/1.0) faring better with Red in front, when in fact it slipped 17 percent in the demo.

CBS | Thursday Night Football (17.5 mil/6.1 across CBS/NFL Network) was up 11 percent.

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

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  1. thisismenow says:

    Matt, just a heads up (and you can delete my comment) Bones ended June 11 not in May.

  2. FH14 says:

    Noooo Sleepy Hollow. I hope that the positive buzz from last night’s episode encourages more people to watch next week :(

  3. Zack B says:

    Sadly this one is a casualty of the Thursday move. I forgot it was even coming on. I remember when I was younger that shows didn’t play hopscotch with the week, and you were able to watch in a routine. I guess TV Executives know more about human nature than I do, but I suspect that routine viewing habits are more common than not.

  4. SayNay says:

    Not surprised SH returned so low. Almost no promo and Fox moved it to Thursday against Scandal. It’s essentially a recipe for failure.

  5. Bartimeus says:

    Is SH’s ratings not adequate, considering they started promoting only one week ago? How many people most likely assumed it was ended since the story arcs all had closure last season? And considering a move to an extremely competitive timeslot,I watch every show in the hour except for CBS.

  6. DarkDefender says:

    I can’t really remember the last time a network series had a rise in viewers (Empire is the exception).. Is network TV in that big of a decline? Or are people just watching on different platforms? I’m also curious if the Neilsen rating system has become out dated. There is a lot of good networks shows on the air, but always declining ratings being noted. What gives?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      BONES and BLACKLIST technically returned up, which is nice.


      HEROES and THE PLAYER: If a new show doesn’t truly “wow” audiences/command noisy ratings, there’s almost always a drop-off.


      GREYS and SCANDAL had different competition this week, and I never imagined HTGAWM would rise in Season 2, because it's sooooo gosh darned serialized.


      SLEEPY HOLLOW disenfranchised many in S2 and got thrown into a way tougher time slot.

    • herman1959 says:

      All of the above, and TV execs need to VERY worried (if they’re not already).

  7. Coach Taylor says:

    Blacklist on Thursdays is a killer to the program

  8. I’m so pleasantly surprised about Bones. I’m sure it’ll get worse when TBBT gets back to Thursdays. But it’s still to see these numbers for the opener.

  9. wrstlgirl says:

    So disappointed for The Player. I really like it but that doesn’t look good. Heroes Reborn is not as good as I’d hoped either and I found last night’s premiere of The Blacklist painfully predictable. What is happening!!!

  10. pecola says:

    Too bad more people aren’t watching HTGAWM, the show is so much better than it was last year.

    • CIP says:

      Sorry but they lost me last week with the Analise it’s a lesbian (I’m gay btw). The show is so over the top.

      • Damien says:

        It’s a Rhimes show. Over the top is a staple. I didn’t mind the lesbian aspect. People sometimes experiment through life, I don’t think that it was that far fetched.

  11. TaylorShaw says:

    Thurs against NFL, scandal, blacklist. Live ratings r so old school. Most watched NFL n have rest on dvr or will watch on demand/Hulu. Who cares about live ratings in 2015. Who actually wants to sit thru commercials lol!

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Silly commercials!

      • John NYC says:

        How does the budget shake out amongst the various revenue streams for a primetime network show? That could put those silly commercials in perspective for the fans…

      • Ray says:

        Honestly, though. With the rise of DVR viewing in homes and alternate platforms, its time networks found alternate sources of revenue to finance their programming.

        • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

          It’s not like they aren’t trying. Sweetheart deals with Amazon or whomever to get streaming rights in trade for a few shekels per episode. But those who watch TV and the ads are, for the foreseeable future, still the bread-n-butter.

  12. SharonW says:

    Season 2 ruined the show and people are leery of coming back. And as soon as they saw Betsy bouncing around and the mention of two other Crane romances they probably said not again. I may be slammed for this but I feel that Betsy was unnecessary. Should have start from the end of season 2 with the core 4 for at least a season to win viewers back.

  13. smartysenior says:

    Sleepy Hollow has returned to its original quirky and fun format but will anyone know? I happened to scroll the schedule last night so caught it at the last minute and I’m a fan. Maybe the news that they are cross filming with Bones turned people off, I know I’m not too pleased about it.

  14. Mr. Tran K says:

    People weren’t very happy when Fox move Sleepy Hollow to Thursdays at 9 and it wasn’t enough going up against Blacklist and Scandal in that time slot. Hope the network should move SH back to Mondays at 9 even though Minority Report is still falling in numbers. As for The Player, hate to wonder whether or not it should get a full season soon but it still needs a big boost for a Blacklist lead-in.

  15. Cyn says:

    It seems that Fox doesn’t care about SH. This is just a filler show for that time slot. There was hardly any kind of promotion for the show. Then the show was competing against the juggernaut Thursday night Shondaland. Plus the Blacklist and let’s not forget football was on. It was a no win situation.

  16. Jason says:

    Thursday Night is a rough night. When TVD & The Originals come back I will have: Bones, Sleepy Hollow, Heroes Reborn, Project Runway, TVD, & The Originals. Most on DVR.

  17. ggny says:

    I actually happy to see HTGAWM rating dropping so fast. It is a terrible show but because it is from Shonda Rhimes we all have to act like it is some miracle new age genius show. It is not. Grey’s and Scandal where but HTGAWM is just a rehash of the same stuff those two are putting out in a different setting

    • Coach Taylor says:

      Do you watch the show? Not even close to what those others are. And Shonda doesn’t write for them its just her name attached. You would realize this if you actually paid attention.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        +150 TVLine Power User Points (No cash value)

      • I agree – I was surprised at how good HTGAWM was. Viola is truly amazing on and it’s quite addicting. I actually like it more than I ever liked Scandal. So many twists and turns, the characters are all strong, and I like the individual cases tied in with the overall story arc. So happy it was put on Netflix so I could catch up…well I’m almost caught up, on episode 10 now.

        I still love Greys and watch live and this season of Scandal has drawn me in again.

      • ggny says:

        It is the EXACT same thing down to the core. The storyline are not the same but the the cast is built the same the shows tons are EXACTLY the same and all of these awesome twist and turns that so many people think are inventive have already happen on one of her other shows. The only thing different from this show and the other is that Viola Davis is amazing actress from the start. Ellen and Kerry at the start of their respectable shows werent the best actress both kind of wooden and needed time to break into the role. Viola Davis is a great actress that is making terrible/cliche writing look great

    • Guy says:

      How to Get Away With Murder is just a bad copy of the far superior Damages with Glenn Close.

  18. venia says:

    there are no more stories to tell on this show. If it wants to come back as a movie from time to time I can understand that, but a tv show. I am sorry they just can’t tell anymore stories out of it.

  19. ItsATVShow says:

    I also didn’t realize that Sleepy Hollow has returned. Maybe I’ve somehow missed it, but I would say that fox has done zero promotion. I noticed it on my DVR this morning so I will give it another chance because I like the leads and hope that it returns to it’s first season storytelling.

    • Longmire4ever says:

      This is exactly how I found out Sleepy Hollow had returned. I just finished watching Season 4 of Longmire and switched to DVR and there was episode of Sleepy Hollow. It was way better than S2 but I don’t c the need for two new brunette actresses. Why can’t they just stick with the core cast with one villain. S1 was so amazing. Why mess with an amazing formula. Ratings is antiquidated system. I do not watch any show live. I use DVR, iTunes, Amazon fire stick, Netflix, Hulu, etc. they should find a way to include all these media viewing choices into the shows numbers b4 cancelling it.

      • Emor says:

        They do use other numbers, called DVR+ ratings. The issue is it takes around three weeks to get those numbers. So now, any low rated overnight show really needs GOOD dvr+ numbers, especially in the younger demo because they don’t watch live tv. So if a show is going to be cancelled, it will be by eps. 5 or 6. There are a whole other set of variables, that would take forever to discuss, that also influence the shows fate, but The Player, Sleepy Hollow & Minority Report are already on the firing line.

  20. Erika says:

    RIP Sleppy Hollow,Heroes Reborn,The Player and all.The ratings are horrible this year.

  21. Carla Krae says:

    SH will go up with DVR #s. I know a lot of people that recorded and will watch today or tomorrow.

    • John NYC says:

      But for the people buying the commercial airtime slots the extra DVR viewers are heavily discounted as they aren’t eyes watching the commercials. Some percentage may, so they’re not entirely ignored I expect, but most are probably like me: fade to black: hit the FFWD button…. and so of zero interest to those willing to write checks to networks for commercial viewing timeslots.

  22. KC says:

    Sleepy Hollow was terrific – FOX is killing yet another great show by putting it in a crappy time slot.

  23. Julia says:

    I wish there was a way to determine overall viewership with platforms like Hulu, On Demand, etc. to find out how many people are actually watching. A show like Sleepy Hollow always turns into online viewing for me because of work and no DVR. I hope that networks are paying attention to things like that too…

    • John NYC says:

      Probably depends on how much money the other streams put in the networks pockets alongside commercial buys.

    • Cory says:

      If you notice FOX’s statements when they release delayed viewing information, they DO count Hulu, and the FOXNOW app.

  24. Carla says:

    Moving Sleepy Hollow to Thursday’s was not a smart move. A lot of networks use the live +3 numbers more than the overnights to make their decisions about what to keep on the air.

  25. jeff says:

    I absolutely loved the first season of Sleepy Hollow. It was perfect. The finale was incredible. Season 2 was so terrible. I was so sad and disappointed and I ended up giving up on it. I wasn’t back for season 3.

    • SayNay says:

      The first episode of season 3 seemed like they were getting it back on track. It’s definitely worth checking out if you liked the first season.

  26. Nancy Davies says:

    Sleepy Hollow was awesome last night!

  27. Gerri says:

    Can’t football just stay on the weekends. I like to think some of those viewers would have watched Sleepy Hollow. I know Thursday is a tough night to begin with. I hope SH and HTGAWM get bumps when they factor in the DVR numbers

  28. Amy H says:

    Matt, do you think people are recording more than ever before, and ratings just change later? Or are any rating changes slight enough to not really make a difference overall?

  29. Jon says:

    How does Fox expect Sleepy Hollow to compete with TGIT? Honestly. I know they want to pose competition for TGIT, but let’s be honest, you don’t put an already struggling show in a time slot like this, unless you’re going for the ultimate test. Either it’ll prevail and bring amazing numbers, or it will prove a failure and it’ll be cancelled after this season. My money’s on the latter. Matt, I’m calling it now. Sleepy is done and gone.

    • herman1959 says:

      Agreed, although I’ll watch until the end. Fox will cancel it due to low ratings so they don’t have to take responsibility for the way the former showrunner ruined it. But, WE know.

  30. SparksC says:

    Move it back to any other night but Thursdays…nothing is going to beat the ABC shows….People will watch it LIVE vs DVR it or Hulu if it goes to another night…I love this show but will watch on Hulu or DVR it because Thursdays is only for ABC

  31. I still don’t understand this scheduling. Why put Sleepy Hollow head to head against Scandal? Were they trying to kill the show?

    I loved the refresh they put on the show. Hopefully the DVR numbers will be huge.

  32. Damien says:

    Who is surprised? It’s FOX. When a show has a cult following they move it around and/or revamp it. I.E. Arrested Development, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Dollhouse and Firefly. And I am sure I missed few.

    I agree with a comment that they bounce shows around too much. And thats every network. When it was time to watch Seinfeld, you watched on Thursday. Roseanne on Tuesday. The Incredible Hulk on Friday.

    As a true TV addict it is disappointing.

    • Guy says:

      My favorite example is Fringe. Fox had a hit on their hands, averaging 10 million viewers its first season on Tuesday nights. Then they moved it to the crazy competitive Thursday nights and wondered why the ratings dropped.

      • Damien says:

        I completely agree. Fringe was amazing and when ratings started to go down it changed. I stopped watching, but did watch the last season which incorporated a little of everything from the show.

      • LilAngel says:

        Fringe totally change its philosophy after the 1st season. The first season was easy to follow, it was understandable by everyone even if you’d missed one or two episodes. After, it was all about the big mythology (still super interesting but you needed to be an hardcore fan – and I was- to follow it)

    • ABG says:

      SH stayed on the same night on S2 and it completely collapsed (in both ratings and quality).

      • Damien says:

        Sophomore seasons are typically hard on tv shows. Hopefully the third season will do well or picked by another network or streaming service.

      • herman1959 says:

        Apples and Oranges – season 2 was so bad because the basic focus and and relationships were changed. The new showrunner is trying to get the mojo back, but burying the show under Scandal, The Blacklist, and the NFL is NOT helping.

      • Cheyenne says:

        Did they think running against Scandal and Thursday night football would bring it back to life?

  33. Blaine says:

    Networks have been paying more attention to Live +3 the last couple of years as advertisers will still pay for those viewers. If you saw the the Live +3 ratings from last week, there were some serious increases for several shows in viewership and the demo. The increases were more significant last season. I think this season the business focus will have to completely shift from Live SD to Live +3 ratings.

    • John NYC says:

      Is there a business assumption (research?) that some predictable percentage of the +3 watch the commercials? The ad buyers are only interested in people who watch their ads after all.

      I could see that, simple inertia could come into play like why an average show might get a boost from following an entirely unrelated blockbuster. Some people just won’t bother to change the channel by all appearances so maybe a similar inertia for ffwd?

  34. GraceM says:

    Looks like Sleepy Hollow might do better on Mondays.

  35. Cheyenne says:

    I totally don’t get it. I loved this show in its first season and hated it the second season, although the finale almost made up for the rest of it. It had a pretty good lead-in with Gotham, but by the end of season 2 it was hanging by a thread. So why in the world would they make it go head to head with Scandal? Were they deliberately trying to tank the show? It doesn’t make any sense.

  36. Dammit! The Player is doomed isn’t it? Grrrrr

  37. Missy Kelly says:

    don’t count the numbers as final yet – Had to DVR it because of a meeting! Watching tonight

  38. kmw says:

    Good for Bones did better than I thought for HH numbers and about what I expected for demo. Too bad for Sleepy Hollow but not really unexpected given what it is up against. At least Blacklist came back from season finale numbers. TGIT still has good numbers but they all slipped. Interesting night

  39. N says:

    Well what do u expect Sleepy Hollow IS against Scandal. 😢😢

  40. sharonb says:

    Sleepy hollow is great show.move it to better night where it has chance!and let it be on longer than 2 months! Seems like it comes on then before u know it off till next fall!

  41. Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorites, but I didn’t tune in when it returned because I didn’t know that it had. I didn’t even see anything broadcast all the while telling me when it would. No announcement, no preview, etc. I just happened to come across it when I was scrolling through the channels. Luckily, I have the series to record on my DVR, so I was able to see it. I have family members who also didn’t know it had returned. Perhaps that’s why the ratings were so low (?). Anyway, glad it’s back.

  42. Nancy Nolan says:

    If introducing lame characters like Betsy Ross is anything like we can look forward to the rest of the season then it may be time to go. I actually fell asleep during the second episode. I had such high hopes for it after it ended so well last year. No Irving either! What a great addition he would have been! We went from the caliber of John Noble to Nikki Reed as a main character. What a letdown. She’s awful!