Fewer Viewers Tune In For ‘The Crown’ Season 6 Premiere On Netflix

The premiere of the final season of the hit show The Crown on Netflix garnered a lot of media attention, what with the passing of titular subject Queen Elizabeth II and this season’s death of Princess Diana. But media attention didn’t translate into viewer interest.

The season six premiere of The Crown garnered a lot fewer viewers than the first episode of season five, according to TV measurement service Samba TV. It says The Crown season six, episode one averaged 778,000 households during its first three days of release, down 35% from the 1.2 million households that watched the season five debut last year.

The show has always been a reliable critical hit for Netflix, but this season has received some criticism. The BBC dubbed season six “clumsy” and “predictable” (though when following a real-life family, it’s probably difficult not to be predictable). Other outlets have complained about the portrayal of Dodi Fayed, who was dating Princess Diana when she died, saying the late Arab man is demonized and writers use tired stereotypes in his portrayal.

But it’s doubtful a few less-than-glowing reviews could have hurt viewership. Here are some other possibilities for why The Crown was down.

The Crown New Season Comes Amid Royal Burnout

Last year, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II sparked great interest in her story around the world, and The Crown season five premiered barely two months after her death. That undoubtedly led more people to tune in than would have previously.

Since then, there’s been a constant stream of headlines about the royals, including the coronation of King Charles III and the ever-present headlines about Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle, including when his memoir, Spare, was published last January.

The constant coverage is enough to make anyone tire of the family, even the most devoted royal watchers.

Strong Competition Facing The Crown

Viewership for any show often depends what else is airing. This year, The Crown came right before Thanksgiving, when people tend to crave holiday movies. Indeed, Netflix’s own original Christmas film, Best. Christmas. Ever., which debuted along with The Crown, drew better numbers—911,000 households in its first three days.

The movie, starring Brandy Norwood and Heather Graham as frenemies who reunite at the holidays, did particularly well among older Millennials, who were underrepresented in viewership for The Crown. That show did better with Baby Boomers, according to Samba.

The Crown Season 6 Fact Check: How Much Is True?

Of course, The Crown is not a documentary, and while it sticks largely to the historical record, it always takes some liberties because no one can say for certain what the royals said in private.

Much of the audience lived through this portion of the story, though, unlike earlier eras of The Crown. They may not have wanted to revisit the tragic deaths of Princess Diana and Fayed, who were being pursued by paparazzi before the fatal car crash. While The Crown has never been an uplifting show, seeing two young boys left motherless might have been too much around the holidays for some viewers.

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