While the level of hype for the return of The X-Files certainly reached gargantuan heights at times, there were still some who wondered whether viewers would turn out for the revival in ways reminiscent of the series’ heyday. After all, 2008’s The X-Files: I Want to Believe movie failed to make a dent in the box office, and the ratings for 2002’s ninth and final season had plummeted from previous years. Well, it turns out that those worries were unfounded, as The X-Files’ 6-episode revival premiered to numbers that most other network dramas would kill for, even managing to break worldwide records along the way.
Stateside, The X-Files’ Sunday debut episode “My Struggle” earned a whopping 6.1 in the prized 18-49 viewer demographic, and brought in a total audience of over 16 million. To be fair, those numbers were helped by the episode airing after the always highly rated NFC Championship football game, but The X-Files’ timeslot premiere last Monday also turned out impressive stats. “Founder’s Mutation” scored a 3.2 in the 18-49 demo, and was watched by nearly 10 million total viewers. Those numbers nearly double the 1.5 averaged by Gotham, FOX’s regular Mondays at 8pm occupant. As if that wasn’t enough, additional viewership in the following three days have increased the post-football episode’s numbers to a massive 7.8 demo and 20 million total viewers.
Of course, those are just the American numbers. When the rest of the world is considered, The X-Files’ return did even more impressively, shattering multiple viewership records in various countries. In total, FOX estimates that the two-night premiere event was viewed by over 50 million people worldwide so far, with currently calculated international numbers only including live and same day viewership. In other words, the worldwide numbers have the potential to get much, much bigger once the full live plus seven day totals come in. Also worth noting is that the revival hasn’t even premiered yet in several countries, including such large markets as the UK, Australia, and India.
With The X-Files’ revival clearly demonstrating that the demand for new Mulder and Scully adventures remains high, two questions come to mind for those wondering about the series’ future. The first: Will this type of ratings dominance continue for the remaining four episodes? Reviews for the two episodes to air so far in 2016 have been mixed overall, and there’s a chance that some viewers new to The X-Files won’t stick with it for the duration. That said, it’s hard to imagine die-hard X-Philes jumping ship at this point, and the fanbase has likely only grown via DVDs and streaming since the original series run ended.
If the answer to that first question ends up being yes, the natural followup question then becomes: Will FOX order an eleventh season? Chris Carter, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and Mitch Pileggi have all said that they would be open to returning for more episodes should the demand be there, effectively placing the ball in FOX’s court as to whether fans get more X-Files. If the ratings for the rest of season 10 continue to outpace the majority of the network’s primetime line-up, it’s hard to imagine that a renewal won’t be in the cards.
The X-Files season 10 airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.