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‘The Muppets’ Ratings Slide, But Kermit Still Has Tricks Up His Sleeve

Delayed viewing, social media still strong for ABC mockumentary series

ABC’s reboot of “The Muppets” has suffered a substantial drop in ratings since its strong premiere in September.

The mockumentary-style show opened to an impressive 2.9 rating in the advertiser coveted adults 18-49 demographic in addition to 9 million viewers according to Nielsen live-plus-same day numbers.

Unfortunately for the Jim Henson creations, things began to slide shortly thereafter. Week two saw the new comedy drop to a 2.0 rating and 5.8 million viewers. The third episode sank even lower to a 1.7  and 4.9 million viewers. This Tuesday’s episode got only a 1.3 and 4.5 million viewers. That is a 55 percent drop off in just four weeks.

However, as networks begin to move away from live-plus-same day ratings, shows like “The Muppets” have the chance to be redeemed by delayed viewing numbers and social media traffic.

“Look at ABC and ‘Scandal,'” Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at Horizon Media told TheWrap. “They decided to keep it after its first season because they noticed how popular it was on social media and it became a top 1o show afterwards.”

And “The Muppets” has been gaining ground in delayed viewing. The first episode climbed to a 3.8 rating and 11.1 million viewers in live-plus-three. Week two achieved a 2.6, and week three a 2.2. While still down, the show has thus far delivered at least a 0.5 increase week over week.

The show is also a big winner on social media. “The Muppets” has more than 35,000 followers on Twitter and 1.16 million followers on Facebook at the time of this publishing.

Those figures show the show has more followers on both platforms than fellow freshman comedies such as CBS’ “Life in Pieces” and Fox’s “The Grinder” and “Grandfathered” combined.

And Kermit & Co. maintain a huge hold on pop culture, which accounts for the big audience for the series premiere. “There’s a familiarity,” Adgate said. “You didn’t really have to say, ‘Oh gee, what’s that?’ You knew what it was. You knew what it was going to be. It was familiar to tens of millions of Americans, so that certainly bodes well for a strong opening week.”

Even if the audience drifted away a bit after the first week, you can’t count out everyone’s favorite frog and pig couple just yet.