The return of Fox’s The X-Files has impressed many in the media industry with its high ratings for the premiere episode. The return of 1990s and early 2000s hit brought in blockbuster ratings for Fox on Sunday night. The X-Files reportedly had more than twice as many viewers as any other scripted series among viewers aged 18-to-49. That is good news for Fox because that’s the audience it cares the most about.
Fox’s iconic series is back for a limited run. It remains to be seen whether The X-Files can keep up the high ratings for its full six-episode season. The show’s regular timeslot for the rest of this season will be Monday nights, and the second episode, which aired in that timeslot, opened to an impressive 3.2 18-49 rating with 9.6 million viewers. The show’s stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have both returned for the reboot.
The X-Files received a big assist from the NFL in attracting more than 16 million television viewers to the premiere episode. Fox schedulers booked the show to air directly after the NFC championship game between Arizona and Carolina. According to the Nielsen company, 45.7 million people watched that game on Sunday. A delayed start to the show due to the game did not appear to affect ratings.
Fox won the ratings game on Sunday, with the network averaging 13.2 million viewers in prime time. CBS had 8.7 million, NBC had 4.9 million, ABC had 4 million, Univision had 2.1 million, the CW had 2 million, Telemundo had 1.5 million and ION Television had 1.4 million.
The AFC championship between New England and Denver broadcast on CBS was seen by an average of 53.3 million viewers Sunday, even though the game wasn’t scheduled during prime time. CBS’ telecast hit a peak of 63 million viewers between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. EST as the game was reaching its conclusion. It was the top-rated AFC championship game in the past 30 years.
The X-Files was always going to be one of the biggest TV hits of the year, but its impressive ratings are even better than Fox predicted. The enthusiastic response may lead to the show returning for another season. Earlier this month, Fox chairman Gary Newman said in an interview reported by Deadline that the network would “absolutely” do a second new season of the show if they can make everyone’s schedules line up.