They're out there! The X-Files becomes Channel 5's highest rating drama ever

The X-Files has become the highest rating drama to ever screen on Channel 5, the broadcaster has said.

The reboot, which premiered in the UK on February 8, secured Channel 5 its highest overnight ratings in over a year with an average audience of 3.17 million viewers, and an additional 60,000 tuning in an hour later on Channel 5 +1.

Data from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (Barb) has now revealed the consolidated viewing figures, which incorporate playback of content within seven days of the original broadcast.

The X-Files stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson

The X-Files stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson (Channel 5)


The first episode of The X-Files consolidated to 5.1 million and a 19 per cent share of the television audience, breaking a record for the broadcaster.

The previous best rating drama was crime series CSI, which averaged 4.5 million and a 17.8 per cent share in 2009.

The six-episode series reunites David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in their famous roles as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.


It’s the first time the duo have been on the small screen in The X-Files since 2002.

The revival, executive produced by series creator Chris Carter, has also been a ratings success in the US for the Fox network.

According to US audience measurement company Nielsen, the premiere of The X-Files drew an audience of 16.2 million viewers.

Gillian and David (Omar Vega/AP)

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny (Omar Vega/AP)


The X-Files originally premiered in September 1993. At its peak in 1997 and 1998, The X-Files averaged 19.8 million, with the series finale in 2002 drawing 13.2 million.

Its all-time high in the US was the 1997 episode Leonard Betts, which averaged an impressive 29.1 million viewers. The sci-fi series, revolving around paranormal phenomena, had been given the valued post-Super Bowl slot that year.


Over the course of its nine-season run, the acclaimed series became a global hit, and one of the most successful television dramas of all time.

Channel 5 also enjoyed solid ratings with the reimagining of US sci-fi series Heroes, now Heroes Reborn.


The revival, which features original cast members Jack Coleman and Masi Oka, launched on 5STAR to 341,000 viewers and a 1.6 per cent share of the TV audience.


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