EXCLUSIVE: RuPaul’s Drag Race is sashaying its way into another season of strong ratings for MTV.
Season 16 debuted on January 5 with the best TV share for any season premiere in the history of the franchise, up 4% versus the previous season, according to live + three-day Nielsen data.
In the three-day viewing window, Drag Race also crossed the finish line with the highest-rated season premiere in six years among adults 18-49, though it was fairly close to the Season 15 premiere’s rating. Season 16’s premiere episode scored a 0.91, which is a 1% lift from Season 15.
According to Nielsen, Drag Race was the top cable entertainment telecast of the day on that Friday within the 18-49 and 18-34 demos.
This comes after season 15 also delivered sound ratings for the franchise with the finale episode closing out the highest-rated season of RuPaul’s Drag Race in three years back in April.
Season 16 marks the second for the long-running competition series at MTV after moving from VH1 last season, which likely has a lot to do with its ratings spike. The last time that the series switched networks — from Logo TV to VH1 — it saw a similar spike.
MTV also generally performs better in terms of viewership and demo ratings than VH1, which explains why Season 15 held steady in its higher ratings. It would make sense for Season 16 to hold on to similar numbers.
Part 2 of the Season 16 premiere will air January 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV. Becky G guest judges.