Airing against the Grammys and midseason “The Walking Dead” premiere did no favors for last week’s installments of “Girls” and “Togetherness.” Both slipped in adults 18-49 and drew series low marks in total viewership.
The competitive landscape did not notably brighten this week. While “The Walking Dead” represented a less notable competitive force, NBC’s juggernaut “SNL 40” also aired opposite this week’s editions of the HBO comedies. Both sank to new viewership lows.
“Girls,” which drew a 0.21 adults 18-49 rating with 406,000 viewers last week, slipped to a 0.17 with 385,000 viewers for this week’s broadcast. Freshman lead-out “Togetherness” followed with a series low viewership average of 231,000. Its 0.10 adults 18-49 rating matched last week’s series low.
The consecutive lows have sparked debate over the extent to which the “Girls” weakness can be fairly attributed to competition. “Girls” detractors argue that it has aired against hefty competition before (including the Grammys and Oscars) and never performed as poorly as it has these past two weeks. “Girls” supporters note that it has never simultaneously faced one of the big network events and AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” It is also currently without strong lead-in support (HBO’s 8PM series “The Jinx” drew a 0.10 rating with 321,000 viewers Sunday night); last season’s broadcasts aired out of HBO’s respectably rated (and comparatively massively rated) “True Detective.”
Because next week’s episode faces the Oscars and “The Walking Dead,” the corresponding ratings report will doubtfully clarify the issue. A firm perspective on whether competition — or loss of interest — is responsible for the decline will not come until the March episodes begin airing.
— “Looking” ended HBO’s night with an abysmal 0.04 adults 18-49 and 150,000 viewers. Since the television media typically reports ratings in tenths, expect to see some (accurate) references to “Looking” posting a 0.0 rating this week.