'Rick and Morty' Returns to Healthy Ratings, People's Choice Awards Improve

Rick and Morty S04 Still - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Adult Swim

The first new episode of Rick and Morty in more than two years brought strong ratings for Adult Swim on Sunday night. 

A busy night on cable also saw improved numbers for the second year of the People's Choice Awards on E! and a decent premiere — particularly on non-linear platforms — for Showtime's Shameless

Rick and Morty began its fourth season on Adult Swim to an audience of 2.33 million viewers — a bit lower than its same-day average of 2.51 million (not counting the surprise April Fool's Day episode) in 2017. Still, that audience is significantly higher than anything else Adult Swim puts on — and will likely grow a lot more with digital viewing factored in.

The show also topped AMC's The Walking Dead for the best 18-49 rating on cable Sunday (1.3 to 1.05), Rick and Morty's 1.65 rating among adults 18-34 beat everything that wasn't football on both cable or broadcast TV.

The People's Choice Awards, which moved their home to E! in 2018, improved in their second year on the NBCUniversal cable net. The awards drew 821,000 viewers on E!, a 41 percent improvement on the 582,000 who tuned in last year. Simulcasts on Bravo, USA and Syfy raised the total to 1.81 million, an 8 percent bump over last year. The kudocast also improved among adults 18-49 on E! (0.26 vs. 0.23), but the four-channel tally was off a bit from a year ago (0.52 vs. 0.59).

The 10th season of Shameless — and first without longtime star Emmy Rossum — bowed to a smaller-than-usual on-air audience, drawing 757,000 viewers for its first airing. That's down from 1.3 million for season nine's on-air debut; the season as a whole averaged 1.04 million for initial airings.

Including replays and streaming, however, Shameless brought in 1.7 million viewers on Sunday, meaning more than half its audience watched by means other than the first scheduled airing.