As expected, the ratings for Sleepy Hollow’s season three debut were quite disappointing. With its main competition being ABC’s Scandal, Sleepy debuted to its lowest ratings ever, securing a 1.0 demo and an anemic 3.5 million viewers. And while these numbers are unfortunate for the network and the show’s fans, they are not completely unexpected.
Fox executive Dana Walden said earlier this year she knew a Thursday night 9pm time slot would be tough for the struggling drama. However, with delayed viewing expected to play a major role, she felt the network could still find ways to monetize the show and keep it on the air.
DVR ratings should be available in a few days, and from there I am sure the network will decide what, if any, changes they intend to make. Personally, I don’t think there is anything else Fox can do. I hear some fans calling for the show to be moved to Friday or Saturday nights, where it would face less competition and lowered expectations.
Fox has yet to comment on Sleepy Hollow’s season 3 ratings, but I’m sure when they do they will spin things nicely. In the meantime, everyone has an opinion on why the show came back from its season 2 finale with almost a million fewer viewers. Was competition from shows like Scandal and Blacklist completely the blame? Or did Fox’s lack of promotion do the show in?
If I had to wager a guess, I would say neither was really the deciding factor. Bones got as little press during their hiatus as Sleepy Hollow did but came back better than ever, having topped their season 10 finale in both demo and viewership.
No, Sleepy Hollow is its own worst enemy, and always has been. They cleaned up the mess they made in season two with its finale, but still managed to make quite a few missteps over the hiatus, including firing Orlando Jones, announcing the addition of the controversial Betsy Ross character, and sidelining the show’s most iconic character: the Headless Horseman.
So, where does Sleepy go from here? Who knows? But with 17 episodes left to go and lots of promises from the new showrunner, Sleepy may yet find a way to redeem itself in the eyes of fans and critics alike.