Viewers Last Season vs Now

“When Calls the Heart” has aired three episodes of season 11 so far. Some fans are curious about how the ratings for season 11 are matching up to season 10, since viewership can impact whether or not a series is renewed. So far, the new season is going strong, even if the season 11 premiere didn’t quite reach the same TV viewership numbers that the premieres for seasons 9 and 10 enjoyed.

Season 11’s Premiere Did Well, But Slightly Less Than the Season 9 & 10 Premieres

According to Hallmark’s press releases about the season premiere ratings for seasons 9, 10, and 11, the latest season did well among TV watchers—but not quite as well as previous seasons.

Season 11’s premiere episode, which aired April 7, reached 2.8 million unduplicated total viewers for L+3, according to Hallmark’s press release. “Live+3” refers to Nielsen ratings for how many people watched an episode within the first three days, and it takes into account DVR viewings, according to How Stuff Works. (However, it may not account for streaming numbers, as explained at the end of this section.)

The premiere for season 11 was also the top-watched entertainment cable program that week among Women 18+. It was the top-watched entertainment cable program on Sunday for Households, Total Viewers, and Women/Persons 18+

Last year’s season 10 premiere did a bit better, even though it was in August when ratings are often lower. According to Hallmark’s press release, the season 10 premiere brought in 3 million total unduplicated viewers for L+3. It was the top-watched entertainment cable program for the week (and on Sunday) for Households, Women/Persons 18+, and Total Viewers. This was also slightly better than season 11.

Since season 9 premiered on March 6, that might be a better comparison to season 11 due to a similar time of year. According to Hallmark’s press release, the season 9 premiere brought in 3.5 million unduplicated total viewers for L+3, which is higher than both seasons 10 and 11.

In short, while the season premieres were all strong, season 11 brought in fewer viewers than season 10 and season 9. But season 10 also saw a decrease from season 9.

In terms of same-day viewers, season 10 also outdid season 11, according to TV Series Finale. Season 11 had 1.766 million viewers for the premiere, while season 10 had 1.928 million viewers.

It’s worth noting that these Nielsen numbers do not always include people who streamed on platforms like Hulu or Hallmark Movies Now, unless Nielsen had a deal with a platform to get that data. Hollywood Reporter explained that while Nielsen ratings include linear TV and DVR use, they can’t always account for a number of streaming platforms that are more secretive about their numbers. For example, HBO is open about its streaming numbers and revealed that some of its hit shows, like “Euphoria,” only had 2% of viewers watching the premiere on TV during the initial time slot, versus all the people who watched on streaming. So a decrease in numbers from season to season could possibly be accounted for by streaming numbers.

For Episode 3, Season 11 Had More Viewers than Season 10

Although season 11 fell behind season 10 for the premiere, it inched much closer to season 10 for episode 2. According to TV Series Finale, season 11 episode 2 saw 1.717 million same-day viewers, while episode 2 of season 10 had 1.720 million viewers. So the two episodes almost tied.

Season 10 episode 2 scored 0.10 in the key 18-49 demographic, while season 11 episode 2 also scored 0.10 in the 18-49 demographic.

Interestingly, viewership jumped a lot for season 11 episode 3. That episode enjoyed 1.852 million same-day viewers and a score of 0.14 in the 18-49 demographic, according to TV Series Finale. In contrast, season 10 episode 3 had 1.686 million viewers and a 0.09 in the 18-49 demographic.

What does this bode for the future of “When Calls the Heart”? In a recent interview with Suspenders Unbuttoned, Kavan Smith (who plays Lee on the show) said that showrunner Lindsay Sturman may have saved the series when she joined the show in season 10.

“I think there was an expectation when our new showrunner came on that a lot of storylines were tying up. And that maybe we were done telling stories,” he said. “…And now we’ve opened Pandora’s Box again and I think that there is all sorts of new directions.”

It will be interesting to see if future season 11 episodes continue episode 3’s trend of gaining more viewers and outpacing season 10.