The Mystery Of ‘Totally Biased’s Vanishing Audience

It’s been a rough sledding for FX‘s late-night program Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell in its new home on FXX. With only one night of originals on the fledgling network, Wednesdays, the nightly Totally Biased has been barely registering for most of the week. For instance, on Monday, the show drew only 12,000 total viewers at 11 PM. Its adults 18-49 delivery was 4,000. In FXX’s target demo of adults 18-34 it averaged 3,000 viewers, while its young adults aged 18-24 audience was so miniscule, it was listed as 0 on the Nielsen charts. To put it in perspective, the second lowest rated cable late-night show among adults 18-49 on Monday, The Pete Holmes Show, averaged 245,000 in the demo. That’s 61 times Totally Biased‘s tally. In 18-34, the second lowest rated program, Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, scored 101,000 viewers, 34 times the viewership of Totally Biased. While a dropoff in moving to FXX, which is carried in 26 million fewer homes than flagship FX, was expected, those public access program-level numbers are puzzling as Totally Biased was a solid and pretty stable ratings performer on FX. Adding to the head-scratcher is the fact that Totally Biased‘s 1 AM repeat on Monday night did far better than the 11 PM premiere, logging 39,000 total viewers and 27,000 adults 18-49.

Totally Biased performs better on Wednesdays, following original series It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and The League, drawing an average of 110,000 total viewers, 92,000 adults 18-49 and 64,000 adults 18-34. Still, that is less than a third of the show’s audience on FX in the final leg of its first season (372,000) and half or less of Totally Biased‘s 18-49 (236,000) and 18-34 (127,000) Season 1D averages. And while the auditorium-size viewership for Totally Biased on some nights is somewhat of a mystery, the show’s long-term prospects at these levels are pretty clear. Totally Biased is well received and liked by FX brass, but a cancellation is looming unless the show mounts a ratings turnaround.

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