With the final season now concluded, the network has released new data points indicating the final season of the series managed to set a brand new ratings record as the most watch television season in the history of FX.
Said the network:
Sons of Anarchy, set a ratings record as the most-watched season of any series in FX’s 20-year history. With Live+3 data, the seventh and final season of SOA delivered an average of 7.54 million Total Viewers and 5.0 million Adults 18-49.
Additionally, the final telecast of Sons of Anarchy ranks as the highest-rated episode of the series among Total Viewers, Women 18-49, Adults and Men 18-34, and Adults, Men, and Women 25-54.
None of this comes as much of a surprise, given Sons is a series that always managed to run in opposite form of typical series, which normally tick down in audience over time. The reason? Character.
Unlike typical television fair, Sons of Anarchy offered an ensemble of personalities audiences could latch on to and tune in for week in and week out. So, by the final episode, all anyone was interested in wasn’t watching the end to the story, but rather the final moments with the people they love to witness.
The idea of “character over concept” is one that’s taken great hold in television, especially on cable, over the last few years. Where once a show would get made based on its concept and story, now what matters to executives is whether or not viewers are going to want to return for more of the characters in question. If the answer’s yes, it means the series can be bold and interesting because it won’t matter necessarily what the individuals in question are doing, as much that they are doing it.
This is the same mode of thinking that led Breaking Bad to its successful run (that initially began with an audience less than a million viewers), and Game of Thrones to its current one. No one cares so much about the drug trade of New Mexico or the warning nations of Westeros as much as they do about the teacher turned meth cook and mother of dragons. As long as a series offers interesting characters, audiences will tune in, and that’s what allowed Sons of Anarchy to deliver FX’s most watched season to date.
Sons of Anarchy season 1 - 6 are now available on home release and Netflix. Season 7 should be available on home release soon as well.
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