I've said it before and I'll say it again: Boss is one of the best shows on television. It's Shakespeare set in city government, with some absolutely fantastic performances from its main stars -- especially Kelsey Grammer, who delivers a tour-de-force performance as Chicago mayor Tom Kane. But while Boss is indeed a great series, it airs on premium cable network Starz, meaning that it doesn't have a very high audience. In fact, the show's audience is woefully tiny: it's never clocked in at above two-thirds of a million viewers.
But Starz's lower overall audience spells hope that the show's ratings can mean a third season. So how is season 2's premiere looking when compared to previous episodes?
The season 2 opener, "Louder Than Words," ended with a bang but didn't seem to nab too many viewers. 0.32 million tuned in to watch Tom Kane's continued descent into madness, which featured hallucinations of deceased staffer Ezra Stone (they've kept the excellent Martin Donovan around, which is a plus). The episode ended with an assassination attempt on Kane's life at a speech, which managed to dodge the mayor but appeared to have killed his wife -- which her vegetative father watched from his television set at home.
0.32 sounds bad, but for Boss, it's about average. While the season 1 premiere kicked off with 0.66 million, it dropped down to 0.27 million for the third episode before slowly rising back up to a 0.51 million finale. So while 0.32 isn't nearly as good as it could be, it's not an abysmal showing for the series.
But it is a drop in viewership, which is not a good thing for any series, especially for one only in its second season. Boss was renewed for a second season before it even premiered, meaning that ratings for season 1 can't be taken as an indication of what would get the show renewed for a third season. With Starz pursuing a big budget programming slate for the next few years, Boss certainly might see the axe to make room for bigger-earning fare.
Personally, so long as the ratings don't bottom out entirely, I would love for them to keep this little show, just as a testament to the network's dedication to bringing us quality programming.
And if you have Starz and you aren't watching, well, what's stopping you?
Boss's next episode, "Through and Through," will air Friday, August 24 on Starz.