There are a lot of shows on television right now that are popular but are getting a little long in the tooth. Among these is Castle, the fun, romantic procedural series starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. Ratings have been down since the show premiered its eighth season earlier this fall, but showrunner Alexi Hawley recently spoke out about the state of the show’s ratings, telling fans they should not be worried.
Here’s the thing: We returned at a number that we have basically done every episode since. And once you factor in the DVR numbers, we’re doing around 9 to ten million viewers a week, which is a really healthy number these days for network television… Obviously the 18 to 49 demo number is not as strong as we’d like it to be, but all we can do is try to tell really good stories and hope that people want to watch them.
When Hawley is talking to TV Line about nine to 10 million people tuning in to the series, he’s not talking about Live+Same day numbers, which have seen a little more than six million total viewers tune in each week. Still, six million viewers is not normally a problem for a TV series, especially one that has banked a lot of consistency in the ratings over the years. Where Castle is having a problem is in the 18-49 demographic, where the numbers are not looking so hot. For example, despite Castle seeing decent overall numbers, last week’s episode did 6.6 million total viewers but only a 1.1 rating. It’s that rating that is worrisome.
Think about it this way. On the same night, in the same 10 p.m. timeslot, NBC’s Blindspot did 7.7 million total viewers and a 2.1 rating. So, while the freshman drama only did 1.1 million viewers more than Castle, that show nearly did double what Castle brought in in the 18-49 demographic. That’s a massive difference in numbers in the demo, and since people in that demo tend to buy more than older and younger people, ABC is always looking for more young people to tune in.
As TV changes, advertising strategies have begun changing. So, Live+Same day numbers are no longer the only things networks and advertisers are looking at when they work out complex deals. However, same night numbers are still a good gauge of how show’s are doing overall, as compared to other programs on network TV. And as the Blindspot vs. Castle correlation shows, the latter is having a real ratings problem.
This doesn’t 100% mean that Castle is going to be cancelled at the end of the season, and Hawley's confidence in his show is at least somewhat comforting. However, it does mean that Beckett and Castle have seen better days. The show might not be out the door when network’s make their final decisions this coming spring, but we wouldn't be shocked to say goodbye to Castle, either. If you are a fan of Castle--especially if you’re younger than 49—you would do well to show up this season.
Castle airs on ABC on Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET. While the show is currently on hiatus, it is expected to return to the schedule on Monday, January 4 at 10 p.m. ET. Here’s when the rest of your midseason favorites will also be returning.