TV Ratings: 'Louie' Makes a Softer Return After Two-Year Break

A 19-month hiatus sees Louis C.K.'s critical darling post a premiere low of 941,000 viewers — though it's much improved from its last-season average.
K.C. Bailey/FX

Louie, Louie, Louie, Louie … FX's universally lauded comedy from writer, director and star Louis C.K. returned to TV Monday night after a whopping 19-month break. The fourth season opened to a premiere low in the ratings, though it pulled that number with a lead-in from the movie Horrible Bosses.

The 10 p.m. Louie averaged 941,000 viewers. The previous season premiere, which saw a huge lift from the then-hyped Anger Management opening the night, brought in 1.43 million viewers. (The first two Louie seasons also opened north of 1 million viewers.)

Lifts in DVR usage in the last two years and FX's recent launch of in-house FXNOW streamer mean the real gauge of Louie's performance will come down the line, but the premiere was 19 percent north of its most recent average. It also saw a boost in adults 18-49, averaging 635,000.

FX is airing this season of Louie with back-to-back episodes, and last night's second installment pulled a steady 910,000 viewers and a slightly improved 651,00 adults 18-49.

The comedy has never rivaled FX's dramas in the ratings, but it is a consistent awards darling. It's yet to score a major kudo, but its many nominations include Emmy mentions for outstanding comedy and outstanding lead actor. Louie, which is often considered only a comedy in name, is one of the few FX half-hours to not make the move over to humor-centric spinoff FXX -- like former lead-in Wilfred and mainstay It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.