Subscription cable network Starz is making a big change. Starting with the channel’s summer lineup, which includes Power and Survivor’s Remorse, the network is shifting programming from Saturday nights to Sunday nights. I know, I know, just looking at that statement, the change doesn’t seem all that impressive, but it really should be great for the network—and for most viewers.
Starz has been trying to make oddball nights happen for a long time. For a while, shows like Spartacus and Da Vinci's Demons aired on Friday nights. In more recent years, shows like Outlander and Black Sails have occupied Saturday night timeslots. Both are good, oddball timeslots for genre shows. There’s really very little TV competition on Saturday nights especially. Even the late night talk shows take a break over the weekend and few network and cable originals air on Saturdays, either. In other ways however, the Saturday night timeslot has likely inhibited the network, making Starz shows seem far less prominent than some of the other subscription cable channels.
For instance, because Starz’s prominent series Outlander airs on Saturday nights at 9 p.m. ET, a lot of fans choose to watch the series later in the weekend. The Season 2 premiere did well in the ratings, bringing in a .4 rating and 1.46 million viewers—numbers which aren’t too shabby for the subscription cabler. However, the show did nearly double it’s original viewership over the next seven days, and ended up pulling in 2.25 million total viewers in its first week. That’s a 54% increase and a welcome one.
Of course we all know that it’s not just Starz that is gaining in viewers in the days following a show’s premiere. All the major networks do better in the week or so after an episode airs, and Starz CEO Chris Albrecht tells THR that’s not the only reason Starz shows are changing nights.
Sundays are a prestige night and we feel our shows are definitely going to be very competitive, not just in viewership but in the attention-getting business on Sundays. So it made sense to move.
So, basically, Starz feels shows like Outlander are good enough to earn awards nods, and in my opinion, rightly so. But you have to compete with the other big shows on television to prove that.
Obviously, the Sunday night schedule is a lot tougher. Not only will shows like Outlander be forced to compete with behemoths like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead or Sunday Night Football, they will also be competining with a slew of other shows that a wide variety of the US population watches on Sunday nights. Hopefully, it will be a bid that pays off.
Check out more summer TV premiere dates with our full schedule.