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‘Rick and Morty’ Returns — Here Are Viewership Trends So Far

After a two-year break, the beloved adult animated sitcom Rick and Morty returned to TV screens on November 10. The series, which airs during Cartoon Network’s nightly Adult Swim block, gained popularity during its first few seasons but then went on hiatus when contract negotiations stalled. Last year, to fans’ delight, its return was announced with an epic order of 70 episodes, with season four consisting of ten episodes (it has yet to be specified exactly how many more seasons we’ll get in total).

As TV[R]EV analyst John Cassillo notes in a piece for Tubefilter, Adult Swim hit social media hard to whip up excitement as the premiere approached on Nov. 10, posting videos that have received over 38 million views on Adult Swim owned-and-operated channels according to video measurement company Tubular Labs. As you may expect, the season four trailer has been the most popular, with over 12 million views. 

But generating pre-premiere hype is one thing, and it’s another to make sure people actually tune in. 

We examined minute-by-minute viewership of the first few episodes of this season using data from Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 12 million smart TVs. Also below: A look at viewership location across U.S. DMAs so far. 

So far, before each new episode this year, Adult Swim has aired a rerun of Rick and Morty, and with just a quick glance at the graphs below, you can see that tune-in steadily rises during the course of the rerun episode before gaining even more traction during the new episode.

Nov. 10 episode, via Inscape
Nov. 17 episode, via Inscape
Nov. 24 episode, via Inscape

Another interesting trend is that viewership is fairly evenly distributed across the country, with some notable hotspots on the West Coast and Northeast. But for the most part, there’s a diversity of tune-in when it comes to location (in the heatmaps below, the darker the color, the more households were tuning in). 

Nov. 10 episode, via Inscape
Nov. 17 episode, via Inscape
Nov. 24 episode, via Inscape

We were also curious to see if Rick and Morty fans also watch other adult-skewing animated shows: Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy and The Simpsons. Here’s a look at crossover for the four shows, from November 10-25, 2019. 

Via Inscape

As the other three series all air during Fox’s Sunday night “Animation Domination” block, it’s not surprising they have more crossover among themselves. But notably, Rick and Morty fans are more likely to watch Family Guy (57%) than the other two, and the Family Guy audience returns the favor, with 22% tuning into Rick and Morty, the highest crossover of the Fox shows.