The first THE X-FILES spin-off premiered in the Fall of 1996 to very impressive ratings for FOX, which were needed, considering how bumpy the ride for FOX has been in the 90s. MILLENNIUM was a show that was eyed by television insiders and viewers alike, hoping to witness the birth of the next television hit. The question was if MILLENNIUM would be able to repeat the ever-growing success of THE X-FILES (which would be at its peak with its fourth season, airing in the same year as the first season of MILLENNIUM), and if the show might be able to stand on its own. Well, the second question was definitely answered, but the first one was crushed to death after the airing of the second episode.
Like THE X-FILES, MILLNNIUM premiered on Fridays, with a very impressive 17.7 million viewers – more than a quarter of the TV-watching target demo tuned in for the premiere, just to see what the hype is all about. The premiere of MILLENNIUM was the highest-rated series premiere for any new FOX show at that time. But after the numbers for the second episode were revealed, FOX was suddenly a little worried. Even though the ratings constantly stayed around a 7.0 in the Households, the show proved it was unable to repeat the success of THE X-FILES, even if it was kind of repeating the critical acclaim factor. Four episodes landed below the mark of 10 million viewers, all of them being part of the latter half of the season, showcasing where MILLENNIUM would be heading in the future. If it weren’t for THE X-FILES, the show would not have existed in the first place, but if it had been, MILLENNIUM would have been history after its first season.