Streaming’s Biggest, Longest Running Reality Series Returns…

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(Welcome to my weekly streaming ratings report, the single best guide to what is popular in streaming TV and what isn’t. I’m the Entertainment Strategy Guy, a former streaming executive who now analyzes business strategy in the entertainment industry. If you were forwarded this email, please subscribe to get these insights each week.)

In last week’s massive streaming ratings recaps, I noted that we don’t see a lot of streaming shows make it to a sixth season.

Here’s the key image, where I showed the top five shows by season. And I only included four season sixes…because only four season sixes came out last year and made the charts!

Of course, this isn’t actually a streaming issue. Back during the strikes, I looked at the survival rate of every show released from 1992 to 1996 and…not many made of them to six seasons either!

I bring this up to not just to remind everyone to read my streaming recaps of the last year, but because, this week, we have a season six series at the top of the charts! And it’s also Netflix’s—and streaming’s—best-performing competition reality show. We’ll look at that today, and also how a certain Best Picture winner (fine, it’s Oppenheimer) did on Peacock, if Mr. and Mrs. Smith continued its strong start, what SyFy show made the Nielsen charts, along with a third USA channel/NBC Universal cable channel show, The Color Purple coming to Max, the return of one of Prime Video’s biggest shows (and how it’s not as big anymore), two TV show bombs, some massive sports ratings, not-massive podcast ratings, and more.

Let’s dive in.

(Reminder: The streaming ratings report focuses on the U.S. market and compiles data from Nielsen’s weekly top ten viewership ranks, Showlabs, TV Time trend data, Samba TV household viewership, company datecdotes, and Netflix hours viewed data, Google Trends, and IMDb to determine the most popular content. While most data points are current, Nielsen’s data covers the weeks of February 12th to February 18th.)

Television – Streaming’s Top Competition Reality Show Returns

Love is Blind took the crown for the top show of the week:

Even more impressive? Each season comes out weekly, like this:

Yeah, I could see some folks arguing this isn’t actually a “weekly” release, since that calls to mind only one or two episodes per week. But compared to the days of 2018-2019—when some folks said Netflix would never, ever, ever release any shows any way besides binge—when it comes to reality shows, Netflix will (wisely) switch things up. And yes, I think this means we will see some growth in Love is Blind over the next few reports, if previous seasons are a guide.

You can also see nice growth from previous seasons too. According to Nielsen’s data since 2021, Love is Blind is Netflix’s biggest reality show, though season one of Squid Game: The Challenge clearly is coming for that crown after a very strong first season:

(We didn’t have Nielsen data when Netflix launched season one of Love is Blind.)

To show some non-Nielsen data, Samba TV provided us a series of datecdotes, and they show similar growth for this season, though their unique viewer count still shows that season six is lower than season four and two: 

All in all, a great performance for Netflix and likely a good few weeks to come. If I had to offer a criticism/negativity—and around “context central”, which is what I call my headquarters, I have to—this was still a weak week for streaming in general. When the top original doesn’t crack twenty million hours, that’s a light week in streaming.

I should also mention the latest reality special from Prime Video, The Grand Tour. This Amazon take on the famed BBC car show—with the original hosts—shifted from releasing seasons of episodes to releasing big specials every so often. Their latest, for example, was 2 hours and sixteen minutes long. And yet it failed to boost the season onto the Showlabs top five charts for Prime Video this week:

Listen, The Grand Tour did what Amazon asked for it, as it was a big global name when Prime Video needed a hit, and they’ve previously said it was their biggest TV show launch globally (later surpassed by the Lord of the Rings prequel series). But it hasn’t held interest, at least according to the ratings charts in America. (Hence why the hosts are leaving this show?)

Quick Notes on TV

  • We all wondered if Masters of the Air—the big, expensive World War II series from Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg that came out four weeks ago—would make the charts. (Fine, maybe it was just me.) Apple TV+ is smaller than all the other streamers, but Masters of the Air hit the Samba TV charts, a good sign it could do it. And this week it became just the fourth Apple TV+ series to land on the Nielsen top ten, joining Ted Lasso (for two seasons), Hijack, and The Morning Show:

  • Other than the previously mentioned shows, the only two additions to the streaming charts this week were House of Ninjas, a Japanese action series, with 4.8 million hours and Luz: The Light of the Heart, a Brazilian family fantasy series, with 4.0 million hours.

  • We’re seeing the expected decay from Mr. & Mrs. Smith on Prime Video. Again, if a show doesn’t come out weekly, it’s very rare for it to grow viewership week-to-week, though The Terminal List and Hunters previously did it for Prime Video in their first seasons. (The latter series, though, had terrible ratings in subsequent seasons.) Still, this a win for Prime Video, because this show would have been in the top twenty season one debuts last year, and Prime Video didn’t have a single title in that list.

  • As for everything else, One Day is on a smallish “binge release curve” for Netflix. Halo grew viewership from 5.9 million hours to 7.6 million hours. Meanwhile, Peacock’s The Traitors dropped off the charts, which surprised me.

  • It’s long been my dream to have a rankings chart feature every single streamer in the same week. And this week I can die happy, because TV Time delivered! Every streamer has a show on its TV chart! The only outlier is Death and Other Details on Hulu, which continues an incredible run on TV Time, not matched by any viewership metrics.

  • The results for True Detective’s finale episode will be in our next report, but the new season has popped the series onto the ShowLabs Max top five charts, making it HBO’s best original right now:

  • TV series are switching streamers constantly nowadays, making the acquired charts fairly interesting week-to-week. For example, Resident Alien—a Syfy series produced by NBC Universal—released its third season on 14-February, and the day before the previous two seasons came to Netflix non-exclusively, and that propelled it into the Samba TV top ten. 

  • Another two NBC Universal shows made the acquired charts, Royal Pains, which we talked about last week, and Monk, which is new. The latter is streamed on Prime Video and Peacock as well as Netflix now.

  • Meanwhile, I forgot to mention that Young Sheldon had new episodes come out on Netflix on 2-Feb, and that boosted its viewership for two weeks:

  • Also, we’ll see if the formerly Cinemax series Warrior shows up on the charts. It came to Netflix on 16-Feb-2024, and I had called this a miss for HBO last summer. But what makes it really interesting? Look at its branding on Netflix:

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The Entertainment Strategy Guy

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

Former strategy and business development guy at a major streaming company. But I like writing more than sending email, so I launched this website to share what I know.


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