‘Honey Boo Boo’ Hits Its Ratings High, But Don’t Panic

Take heart: 308 million Americans did not watch Boo Boo's Halloween special

If you're like most Americans, you don't watch "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" — but you do see lots of headlines about its ratings, shake your head, and mutter something about the apocalypse.

So prepare to do that again, because the show has beaten its previous ratings record. But take heart, because the apocalypse isn't coming. The "Boo Boo" numbers are good, but they aren't as good as the show's barrage of hype might lead non-viewers to believe.

"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: A Very Boo Halloween" earned 3.1 million viewer Sunday. Those are great numbers for a cable show. But not that great. 

Even as "Boo Boo" hit a ratings high, it wasn't even the top-rated show on ad-supported cable Sunday. That would be "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," which had its highest-rated episode of the season with 3.7 million.

There's a legitimate debate to be had about whether "Boo Boo" or "Housewives" is the more reprehensible show. One follows silly adults' trumped-up conflicts, while the other makes fun of a small child.

Both shows, by the way, were handily beaten by PBS' "Downton Abbey," which had 7.9 million viewers. That's right: Far more people tuned into a critically beloved public television show about England in the early 20th century than watched either basic-cable reality show.

Remember "Jersey Shore," the last show that was supposed to mark the end of Western Civilization? In its final season, it averaged 3 million viewers. And that was well after the height of its popularity. Overall, it averaged 5.5 million.

We survived that, and we'll survive this.

One more heartening number: 308 million Americans did not tune into "Boo Boo" on Sunday.