1x19 Best Man for the Gob (32)

Viewership ratings

Arrested Development never had a wide audience, as determined by viewership ratings for American audiences.

The series itself was never designed to appeal to a mass audience, with themes of incest, ambiguous sexuality, and the standoffish nature of the characters. Arrested Development also aired during a time of technological change, namely the advent of DVRs and DVD sales which were not taken into Nielsen's account. Additionally, Fox Network marketed the series poorly and constantly moved the timeslot, which never help a series find footing.

The Netflix distribution model was a much more native fit for the series, one of the many reasons Ted Sarandos and other Netflix executives ordered the fourth season. Netflix, however, does not release viewership numbers of its original programming so it is unknown how large the audience for Season Four really was.


Season One

Arrested Development Season One aired at 9:30pm ET/PT on Sunday nights during the 2003-2004 schedule and averaged 6.24 million viewers. As a comparison, the top 5 TV shows to air during the same year were Survivor, Friends, CSI, ER, and American Idol which all averaged in the 20 millions of viewers.

Episode Airdate Viewers (in millions)
"Pilot" Nov 2, 2003  7.98
"Top Banana" Nov 9, 2003 6.70
"Bringing Up Buster" Nov 16, 2003 5.78
"Key Decisions" Nov 23, 2003 6.26
"Charity Drive" Nov 30, 2003 6.77
"Visiting Ours" Dec 7, 2003 6.31
"In God We Trust" Dec 14, 2003 6.11
"My Mother, the Car" Dec 21, 2003 6.42
"Storming the Castle" Jan 4, 2004 5.72
"Pier Pressure" Jan 11, 2004 7.21
"Public Relations" Jan 25, 2004 6.37
"Marta Complex" Feb 8, 2004 4.89
"Beef Consommé" Feb 15, 2004 5.21
"Shock and Aww" March 7, 2004 6.42
"Staff Infection" March 14, 2004 5.37
"Altar Egos" March 17, 2004 (Wednesday) 9.62
"Justice is Blind" March 21, 2004 7.02
"Missing Kitty" March 28, 2004 5.51
"Best Man for the Gob" April 4, 2004 5.51
"Whistler's Mother" April 11, 2004 5.39
"Not Without My Daughter" April 25, 2004 5.66
"Let 'Em Eat Cake" June 6, 2004 5.08

Season Two

Arrested Development Season Two aired at 8:30pm ET/PT on Sunday nights during the 2004-2005 schedule and averaged 5.94 million viewers. As a comparison, the top 5 TV shows to air during the same year were American Idol, CSI, Desperate Housewives, Survivor, and CSI: Miami which all averaged in the 20 millions of viewers.

Episode Airdate Viewers
"The One Where Michael Leaves" Nov 7, 2004 6.61
"The One Where They Build a House" Nov 14, 2004 7.22
"¡Amigos!" Nov 21, 2004 5.89
"Good Grief" Dec 5, 2004 6.66
"Sad Sack" Dec 12, 2004 6.28
"Afternoon Delight" Dec 19, 2004 5.62
"Switch Hitter" Jan 16, 2005 5.78
"Queen for a Day" Jan 23, 2005 5.20
"Burning Love" Jan 30, 2005 6.96
"Ready, Aim, Marry Me" Feb 13, 2005 5.61
"Out on a Limb" March 6, 2005 6.34
"Hand to God" March 6, 2005 5.75
"Motherboy XXX" March 13, 2005 6.08
"The Immaculate Election" March 20, 2005 5.73
"Sword of Destiny" March 27, 2005 4.72
"Meat the Veals" April 3, 2005 5.33
"Spring Breakout" April 10, 2005 5.19
"Righteous Brothers" April 17, 2005 5.99

Season Three

Arrested Development Season Three aired at 8:00pm ET/PT on Monday nights during the 2005-2006 schedule and averaged 3.90 million viewers. As a comparison, the top 5 TV shows to air during the same year were American Idol, CSI, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Without a Trace and Dancing with the Stars which all averaged in the 20 millions of viewers. The final four episodes were burned off against the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics on a Friday night.

Episode Airdate Viewers
"The Cabin Show" Sept 19, 2005 4.62
"For British Eyes Only" Sept 26, 2005 4.02
"Forget-Me-Now" Oct 3, 2006 4.47
"Notapusy" Nov 7, 2006 4.19
"Mr. F" Nov 7, 2005 3.94
"The Ocean Walker" Dec 5, 2005 4.09
"Prison Break-In" Dec 12, 2005 3.91
"Making a Stand" Dec 19, 2005 4.14
"S.O.B.s" Jan 2, 2006 4.16
"Fakin' It" Feb 10, 2006 (Friday) 3.14
"Family Ties" Feb 10, 2006 (Friday) 3.18
"Exit Strategy" Feb 10, 2006 (Friday) 3.47
"Development Arrested" Feb 10, 2006 (Friday) 3.43

Season Four

Netflix does not release viewership numbers for its original series, but Reed Hastins and Ted Sarandos claimed that the number of people who streamed episodes over the release weekend and first week exceeded their expectations. Netflix will likely never release the numbers, but they have stressed that they don't care about people who watch the episodes on the first day or even first week, but rather over the first year of availability.

Some third-party services released estimates. One DSL monitoring service estimated that 10% of all Netflix traffic was streaming episodes of Arrested Development over the release weeked.[1] Other reports showed that 35% of all of Netflix account holders (~26 million) watched at least one episode of the new season over the first week, while 10% finished the entire season.[2]



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