Star Trek: Picard is in trouble. Though the first episode of the show set new records for CBS All-Access when it premiered in January of 2020, viewers quickly abandoned the show as they realized what they were watching. CBS has refused to reveal any of the actual viewership numbers for the series, but we have an inside source who has exclusively slipped us the real numbers.
This is the same source who made us the first outlet to break the news that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was happening, so they’ve proven their reliability. That said, we only have one source for this data and we generally prefer to have two sources before reporting something like this. Read on with that context in mind.
According to our source at CBS, though the premiere episode of Star Trek: Picard broke records by recording the biggest number of tune-ins for any CBS All-Access show at that time, those numbers quickly fell off. Our source says that by the time show’s final episode aired on March 26th, the number of people watching Star Trek: Picard in the United States had fallen by 45%.
That’s right, Star Trek: Picard lost 44% of its initial audience over the course of the show’s first 10 episode season. In January of 2020 it was breaking streaming records and by March nearly half of its audience had abandoned the show.
Though CBS doesn’t report the number of viewers for their All-Access shows in America, that data is available for their Canadian audience. And those previously reported numbers seem to line up with what our source tells us about the show’s American viewership.
It was previously reported that though Star Trek: Picard was initially viewed by 1.8 million people in Canada, by episode 5 that audience dropped massive 30% to end up with only 1.3 million still tuned in. There are no Canadian ratings for episode 10 of Picard, but at that rate of drop it seems likely they’d have ended up around a 50% abandonment rate as well, mirroring what our source reports as the number of viewers lost in the United States.
Given recent rumors that Patrick Stewart is now unhappy about coming back for Star Trek: Picard season 2 to play a robot version of his character, you have to wonder how much more money and time CBS is willing to invest in making a show that people don’t seem to like. Star Trek: Picard season 2 has been officially greenlit, but they’ve yet to begin production on the new season. If season 2 goes forward, the ratings are going to have to make a huge and unexpected turnaround before anyone gives them money to make season 3.
It’s also worth noting that CBS/Viacom is in the midst of something of a Star Trek shakeup. There’s a big internal debate going on over where Star Trek should go from here. Rumor has it they’ve already cancelled some of the shows they’d planned, like Star Trek: Section 31 in favor of more potentially optimistic Star Trek programming like Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Don’t be surprised if, given the show’s weak ratings and Patrick Stewart’s complaining, Star Trek: Picard season 2 is the next Trek project to be cancelled.