No shame in these numbers: The series finale of “Shameless” drew 1.511 million total viewers across multiple platforms, according to Showtime. That’s a season high, 29% better than the Season 11 premiere (1.2 million viewers) and +41% from the comedy’s penultimate episode (1.1 million).
It is a shame, however, that the long-running show is over. The 11-season “Shameless” was Showtime’s most-watched and youngest-skewing comedy. When you factor both of those claims in, it makes sense that “Shameless” was Showtime’s most-streamed comedy series of all time.
Linearly, the 9 p.m. “Shameless” series finale telecast drew 695,000 TV viewers. The rest of the viewing came from streaming and on-demand.
Prior to the launch of Showtime’s over-the-top streaming platform in 2015 (so from 2011-2015), “Shameless” averaged 5.19 million total viewers per episode, according to the premium cable channel. But that giant number includes any and all episodic viewership while the season was in its first run. In other words, the early episodes of each season count literal months of viewership, so it is either a heavily inflated number or a fair one, depending on who you ask.
From 2016-2021, the show averaged 6.14 million total viewers for each episode, according to Showtime’s all-encompassing long-tail methods. Both sets of those big numbers include linear cable, on-demand and streaming as available. The latter, larger average includes Showtime’s projections through the series finale.
Showtime did not provide TheWrap with individual seasonal viewership, nor with numbers more traditionally inclusive of delayed viewing, like Live + 3 or Live + 7 data.
The final season of “Shameless” found the Gallagher family and the South Side at a crossroads, with changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, gentrification and aging to reconcile, according to Showtime’s own description. As Frank (William H. Macy) confronted his own mortality and family ties in his alcoholic and drug-induced twilight years, Lip (Jeremy Allen White) struggled with the prospect of becoming the family’s new patriarch. Newlyweds Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Mickey (Noel Fisher) spent the season figuring out the rules and responsibilities of being in a committed relationship while Deb (Emma Kenney) embraced her individuality and single motherhood.
Meanwhile, Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) found an unlikely new career in law enforcement and Kevin (Steve Howey) and V (Shanola Hampton) struggled to decide whether a hard life on the South Side is worth fighting for, the logline continued.
“Shameless” also starred Christian Isaiah and Kate Miner. Created by Paul Abbott, the series was produced by Bonanza Productions in association with John Wells Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Developed for American television by John Wells, the series was executive produced by Wells, Nancy M. Pimental, Joe Lawson, Iain MacDonald and Michael Hissrich.