Survivor Samoa debut is the series’ lowest-rated ever, but it still wins its timeslot

Despite relentless promotion featuring Russell H.’s villainy, Survivor Samoa had the franchise’s lowest-rated debut ever on Thursday night, although it continued its streak of winning its timeslot.

With 11.5 million viewers, the episode lost a significant number of viewers from recent debuts: just over two million fewer viewers from Tocantins (13.63 million) and 1.5 million from Gabon a year ago (13 million). The Hollywood Reporter calls this “a significant ratings hit” and says the episode “was down 22% from last fall for its lowest-rated opening night ever, actually tying its second worst performance to date excluding specials.

Still, all of that was enough to win: CBS said in a press release that “won its time period in viewers, adults 18-49, adults 18-34 and adults 25-54 as CBS placed first in viewers during every half hour.” A Saturday night repeat drew 2.23 million viewers, according to TV By the Numbers.

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