The wave of humanity, estimated at 70,000 people, that flooded downtown Waco last week — specifically, the part of downtown containing the Magnolia Market at the Silos — only goes to show why advertisers play hardball when it comes to the reach of national television.
I checked the ratings of "Fixer Upper," the series that has made national celebrities of Chip and Joanna Gaines, to get a sense of its viewership these days and found some interesting context.
The Nielsen ratings numbers on tvbythenumbers.com for March 7, the most recent date for the cable network survey, found 3,244,000 viewers for "Fixer Upper." That made the Waco-centered program second to Tuesday's top-rated cable show, "The O'Reilly Factor," which had 3,648,000 viewers.
"Fixer Upper" was more widely viewed than than the news/political coverage of "Tucker Carlson Tonight" (2,753,000), "The Rachel Maddow Show" (2,527,000) and "Hannity" (2,394,000). The Gaineses even beat out "WWE Smackdown" (2,738,000).
Granted, cable viewership still lags behind that of the major TV networks. While "Fixer Upper" had an impressive audience of more than 3 million viewers, NBC's "This Is Us" had more than triple that, with 11 million viewers and CBS' "Bull" with 10.3 million. ABC's "Fresh Off The Boat," however, wasn't too far ahead of "Fixer Upper" with an audience of 3.68 million.