CNN’s Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown fell double digits in its season debut Sunday night, compared to its fall debut last September. The opening episode clocked 538,000 viewers – down 21% compared to last September’s 681,000. In the news demo, the show dropped 10%, to 219,000 from 242,000 viewers. Bourdain’s show beat Fox News Channel’s Justice with Judge Jeanine in the news demo (135,000) but finished behind the judge (791,000) in overall audience.
FNC’s Judge Jeanine was up 23% in overall crowd and 45% in the demo compared to the night of last year’s Bourdain debut when FNC ran a Sean Hannity hosted special; also up year to year was MSNBC which clocked 311,000 viewers and 174,000 demo viewers.
Sunday’s Season 4 debut episode, Shanghai saw Bourdain visit Shanghai to witness the effects of China’s booming economy on the vast nation and, in true Bourdain fashion, seek out the best street food.
Last April, the spring return of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown had surged over that previous September bow, by double digits. The 9 PM Season 3 opener of Bourdain’s hybrid foodie travelogue — which visited Punjab, India — posted 325,000 news-demo viewers, according to Nielsen’s Live+SD numbers, up 34% over last season’s September 15 bow. That timeslot win had been welcome good news for CNN, which had back then just suffered through one of the worst primetime quarters in its history. The network back then pointed to Parts Unknown as being among the docu-type original series that it would do more of.