Super Bowl Push Doesn’t Boost The Following

Ratings hit a new low despite in-game promo support

The crush of Super Bowl promos Fox aired in support of The Following didn’t appear to give it much of a boost, as Monday night’s installment delivered the lowest ratings in the slumping sophomore thriller’s history.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, The Following averaged 5.84 million viewers and a 1.9 in the adults 18-49 demo, marking the show’s worst performance since it premiered a year ago. The Following dropped 5 percent versus last Monday’s 2.0 rating, this despite the fact that Fox ran two 30-second in-game promos for the show during the most-watched Super Bowl in history.

Fox also carved out time for five pre-game promos, one of which was also devoted to the 8 p.m. anchor, Almost Human. The split preview aired shortly after 3 p.m. EST, or roughly three-and-a-half hours before kickoff.

After a two-week hiatus, Almost Human returned down 5 percent to a 1.9 in the dollar demo. Through its first nine episodes, J.J. Abrams’ futuristic procedural is averaging 6.55 million viewers and a 2.0 rating, making it season’s fourth highest-rated new drama behind NBC’s The Blacklist, ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Fox’s own Sleepy Hollow.

All told, Fox aired 380 seconds of in-game network promos, the equivalent to roughly 12.5 30-second spots. Along with The Following, the series that received the most promotional support during the Super Bowl were 24: Live Another Day, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey

Among the handful of Fox projects that saw no love on Super Sunday were the upcoming Surviving Jack (March 27) and Gang Related (May 20). Extant newcomers Enlisted and Rake were also conspicuously absent, although Fox did air a pair of Rake promos in the post-game broadcasts of New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. 

Seth MacFarlane’s live-action comedy Dads was nowhere to be seen on Sunday, and the network also chose to not run promos for its Animation Domination lineup (The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, American Dad). Bones, The Mindy Project and Glee also got frozen out of the Big Game.

By Kantar Media estimates, Fox on Sunday aired 2,570 seconds of in-game paid ad spots, of which 30 were 30-second spots, 21 were one minute long and two clocked in at 90 seconds. Chrysler laid claim to the lone 120-second spot, as Bob Dylan croaked about the virtues of buying American cars to the tune of his 2000 single, “Things Have Changed.”

Taking the average $4 million per :30 Fox secured for its Super Bowl XLVIII broadcast as a benchmark, the paid spots generated some $342.7 million in revenue.

The game itself has pushed Fox ahead of NBC in the 2013-14 ratings race, bringing the network’s season-to-date demo average all the way up to a 2.9. Through 19 weeks, Fox is in first place, edging NBC (2.8) and CBS (2.6). ABC is a distant fourth (2.1).