It was announced today that Starz, the channel that airs Outlander in the US, will be switching the night it airs its original programming from Saturday night to Sunday night. The switch will begin July 17, 2016, after season two of Outlander ends.
While there has been no official pickup of season three of Outlander by Starz, I think we all know that it will probably happen. It’s too good of a show in terms of critical acclaim, award nominations and wins, and ratings.
Looking ahead (way ahead), when season three of Outlander airs, it will be up against the original programming of HBO and Showtime, both of which air their programs on Sunday night. Depending on the year, month, and time slot of Outlander’s possible season three, it may run up against Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, Homeland, and other popular shows. It may also interfere with The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and PBS’ programs like Masterpiece Theater. There is really not much on Saturday nights, so that gave Starz an upper hand.
Yes, I know we all have DVRs or the capability to watch shows On Demand. I personally don’t have a DVR, so I rely on Starz Play, HBO Go, and Showtime Anytime to watch programs, along with Hulu. But let’s talk about the spoiler aspects of Sunday night. I usually watch Game of Thrones Sunday night because I know that as soon as the newest episode is over, there will be news stories with spoilers in the headlines. You may have run into that same problem with Outlander. If you have two or three popular shows that all air on the same night, you are going to have to stay off your phone and the internet until you watch them. I know some Outlander fans are not on social media at all, so this should not be an issue. Unfortunately, running this site prohibits me from staying off the internet and social media for very long.
This will probably affect international Outlander fans as well. If Starz switches its programs to Sunday night, it will more than likely push back Starz shows to Monday night for those outside the US.
With all of the ways you can watch Outlander and shows on Starz outside of live TV, I understand that it probably won’t matter much to ratings, but there might be a delay in gaining viewers and when fans get a chance to actually watch the episode on an already crowded night. Starz had a night basically all to themselves. Now they will have to compete with other networks for viewers’ attention. I hope this works out for Starz and does not hurt them in the ratings department. It is definitely a risk.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter