'Desus & Mero' Draws Solid Ratings in Showtime Debut

Desus Nice and The Kid Mero in DESUS & MERO (Episode 1) - Publicity -H 2019
Courtesy of Showtime

The early returns on Desus & Mero's move to Showtime are positive.

The show, the first entry for the pay cabler in the late-night talk arena, gathered just over 1 million viewers for its debut episode. The show's initial airing also drew a larger audience than the last season of the duo's Viceland series.

Desus & Mero had 151,000 viewers for its on-air premiere Feb. 21. That's about 40 percent higher than the same-day average for the duo's daily Viceland series in 2017-18. The show's same-day high on Viceland was 202,000 viewers.

Replays later that night and same-night streaming accounted for 212,000 more viewers, bringing Desus & Mero's first-day total on Showtime to 363,000. 

Additional replays later in the week brought in 362,000 more people, and DVR (168,000) and streaming and on-demand (138,000) pushed the premiere's first-week total to 1.03 million. The on-air debut accounted for only 15 percent of the show's total audience — no big surprise, as premium cable shows tend to draw the majority of their viewers after they initially air.

Showtime has some catching up to do to reach the levels of more established late-night franchises on cable: The Daily Show averages about 750,000 nightly viewers in same-day ratings and Full Frontal With Samantha Bee and Last Week Tonight about 900,000 each for their most recent runs.

On Viceland, Desus & Mero averaged 190,000 viewers across four premieres in Nielsen's live-plus-7 ratings, not including replays or streaming. The analogous number for the Showtime premiere is 319,000 (initial airing plus DVR). 

Desus & Mero's final week on Viceland in June 2018 delivered 1.4 million multi-platform views across four days of shows.