The Amazing Race 2017 season has gotten off to a rocky start in the ratings department, with the long-running reality show shaving off viewers week to week. Season 29 premiered on Thursday, March 30 to record low ratings for a premiere episode — a 0.9 in the 18-49 demographic and 4.30 million viewers overall.
Episode 2 ratings for The Amazing Race‘s 29th season show the same 0.9 demo but even fewer viewers, marking 3.99 million in total. While the demo has not slipped much even from season to season, viewership is pretty drastically down compared to The Amazing Race Season 28. Last season’s first two episodes saw a 1.3 and then a 1.1 in the demo, but viewership was 6.09 million viewers followed by 5.82 million.
This is the first time in a decade that The Amazing Race did not air a fall season before a spring season. Amazing Race fans began to worry when CBS did not schedule a new season to air in Fall 2016, considering the show has been on a two-season-per-year pattern for several years now. The falling ratings could be due to its long hiatus, in addition to the new Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT timeslot, which may not help matters considering the family-friendly nature of the show.
Should The Amazing Race fans worry about the show after seeing these 2017 ratings? While the dipping viewership may be cause for concern, one positive is that it is currently winning its timeslot. In its first two episodes, the 2017 edition of The Amazing Race has beaten The Catch on ABC and The Blacklist: Redemption on NBC in the 10 p.m. ET/PT timeslot in both viewership and the 18-49 demo. Since networks always want more eyeballs on their programs than other networks, this could be considered good news for the show’s future.
The Amazing Race switched things up in Season 29, pairing complete strangers together as opposed to the usual pairs of teams with pre-existing relationships. The show has dabbled in different formatting before, including a family edition (with teams of four) for Season 8 and the blind date twist in Season 26, but this strangers twist is the biggest departure from the initial format of The Amazing Race.
Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan previously spoke with TV Guide about wanting to do the strangers twist for a while, with this 2017 season being the perfect timing.
“We wanted to do something different. It’s an idea that’s been talked about for quite a while. It’s something that fans have been talking about for a long time. There are a lot of fans that have said, ‘Look, I wanna go on the race, but I’m having difficulty tracking down somebody who can take time off work.’ We’ve identified a lot of really good people before who on their own seem perfect.”
Keoghan also discussed what he wanted Amazing Race fans to do to make sure the show stays on the air.
“People keep asking me, ‘Is there going be 30?’ And I say, ‘If an audience turns up and they watch the show’ — and I do believe we’ll get a big plus-3 [in DVR playback] because a lot of families are not going to be watching at 10 o’clock on Thursday, but hopefully we’ll get new viewers too who may have missed us before — ‘then we’ll be back,’ Keoghan said. “It’s as simple as that.”
CBS has yet to make a decision on whether to renew The Amazing Race beyond this 2017 season, but with the 2016-17 TV season wrapping up next month, fans will likely hear something very soon. Networks traditionally release their plans for the coming TV season in May, including a full schedule for the fall and sometimes spring.
The Amazing Race airs Thursday nights at 10/9c on CBS.
[Featured Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]