OWN’s ‘Queen Sugar’ Opens to Season Premiere Low

Published: Sunday 21st Feb 2021 by Rashad

Over a year after waving farewell to viewers via its season 4 finale, OWN was hoping TV viewers would be more than ready to pucker up for some sugar the week of Valentine’s Day 2021.

With its season 5 launch date set for February 16, the ‘Queen Sugar’ return went to ratings war with well-established TV favorites as well as highly anticipated newcomers ‘Kenan’ and ‘Young Rock.’

Although critical acclaim accompanied the return of the OWN flagship series, the combined powers of the competition (as well as power outages across the nation due to inclement wintry weather) proved too much for ‘Queen’ – ultimately discrowning the one-time ratings royal from its throne atop viewership tallies.

Details inside:

Viewership = 753,000

Despite cable TV ratings domination from the likes of sports and news programming, the ‘Queen Sugar’ season 5 premiere ranked #28 on the list of 150 highest-rated cable shows that aired Tuesday.

Raking in approximately 753,000 viewers, the Ava Duvernay-produced series was the #2 most-watched scripted series of the night (falling second only to BET’s ‘Tyler Perry’s The Oval’).

Although a contextual win for the day, the 753,000 who tuned in February 16 was a far cry from numbers historically associated with the ‘Queen’ season premieres.

Look below to see how it ranked compared to its predecessors.

‘Queen Sugar’ Season Premiere Viewership

Season 1 (2016): 2.69 million

Season 2 (2017): 2.31 million

Season 3 (2018): 1.48 million

Season 4 (2019): 1.02 million

Season 5 (2021): 753,000

[ratings source: SBD]

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  1. Your Name February 21, 2021

    The best bet these days is to release series on streaming services. Cable TV is dead for the most part. We live in a binge society now.

    • Tori February 22, 2021

      Exactly! And promotion is still a main vehicle to views, I want networks to stop promoting shows a week before premiering.

  2. Conswella Blow February 22, 2021

    More than half of Texas was in thick of back to back artic storms which left the energy capital paralyzed by power outages that lasted more than 5 days, and resulted in the death of many Texans. We love Queen Sugar, many outages and still prevalent.

  3. Suga wuga February 22, 2021

    They took TOO long to come back. Don’t make the break in between so long that people forget what happened.

    • Kim February 22, 2021

      Exactly!!!! I was always checking for it. And if you notice each season viewership got lower and lower, they didn’t even hit a million this time.,

  4. Lisa February 22, 2021

    I think a lot of people 🤔 didn’t know I w it was back on and most of all C******* has delayed everything. The show is still great but so much going on.

  5. CR February 22, 2021

    I believe the ratings have been dropping because of the huge time gaps between the seasons. People had too much time in the gaps to lose interest. You have to stay on schedule with hit tv series. People need to know- ok if the season ends in the summer, it’ll be back for sure in the spring.
    Personally for me, I was frustrated, because I wanted to watch my show, I wanted to know, what happens next, and so on… My suggestion is break it into multiple mini seasons if you have too.

    • Kim February 22, 2021


  6. Kristine Marion February 22, 2021

    Just because we miss first night doesn’t mean we aren’t planning to watch. It’s recording and on watch list. We are just used to watching on our own time and prefer not to wait week between episodes. So we save them up. Love Queen Sugar.

  7. Shameka February 22, 2021

    These shows take too long to come back on. When they finally come back on after taking a lengthy break viewers find something else to watch.

    • Mary B February 23, 2021


  8. Jess February 22, 2021

    Ppl wanna binge plus the advertising on this wasn’t good and I love this show

    • Marisa February 23, 2021

      Well, I been waiting impatiently the whole damn time, and had no idea it was even coming on I had ZERO idea it was finally coming back, and I even missed it. Certainly I am one of many and Certainly if there had been better publicity and wider publicity, many more people would have tuned in eagerly.

  9. Stacy Cottman February 22, 2021

    I love, love, love the show. I saw the premiere. There was not a lot of promotion for the show’s season premiere and the show took forever to come back on. Plus, the writers needs to write more about Charley being in good loving relationship with a good man and getting married. I don’t like that she is always being hurt or mistreated by men.

    • Byison February 22, 2021

      It wasn’t like that when she met Remy in the beginning. The writers decided to change that narrative in the show. With all the good things Remy did the writers one dumbass decision to make Nova a love interest to Remy when everybody knows that Nova is an opportunist was just a waste of viewers
      time and was complete disappointment and disaster, not to mention pointless. Charly had a good love interest in Remy but for whatever reason this was the decision made by the show!

      • Bren February 22, 2021

        Agreed and we also liked Davis in the picture trying to get her back. I lost interest with the Nova Remy situation

  10. Linda hill February 22, 2021

    I love the show can’t wait to see it tell us what is their mother name

  11. Renetta February 22, 2021

    The show was great. But for all of us that don’t have cable, we can’t watch it. OWN needs to be free on firestix or Netflix, Hulu so we c an watch it. Most people have cut cable to save money. Cable is very high. So provide away for dedicated viewers to watch OWN.

    • Roselyn February 22, 2021

      I agree, cable is high, I had to add OWN just to watch this and Greenleaf

      • Mary B February 23, 2021

        Yes you are absolutely right?

    • Gloria King February 22, 2021

      Yes this is true I have Hulu but have to pay more to watch queen sugar….I live the show but it should be free on Hulu…huluonly has up to season 4 why????G king

  12. Jo February 22, 2021

    With all the crisis events occurring in our orbit today you are surprised the premiere numbers are low.
    In Texas, Feb 16th we had no power! No water! Millions of us.
    I’ve been waiting for the 5th season of Queen Sugar since the last episode of season 4! I was so caught up in trying to survive a snow storm I didn’t know it was back. If I didn’t have it recorded I would be behind.
    C’MON Y’ALL! Give us a break! We need Queen Sugar!

  13. Alicia R Jackson February 22, 2021

    I enjoyed the return of Queen Sugar, yet struggling with the Pandemic and safety on the set it takes too long for the series to return. Many viewers who watched the show weren’t aware of its return on Valentines day and didn’t watch the show. I am hoping viewership will be better this week, I certainly am anxiously waiting to watch what happens.

  14. Lorraine Seabrook-Fisher February 22, 2021

    I love Queen Sugar. Its one of the best shows on TV, to me. The ratings probably fell off since it took so long to come back.

  15. Karen Myles February 22, 2021

    AWESOME Premiere!!! Ratings will go UP. DUE TO THE TEXAS, MISSISSIPPI CRISIS this week. Keep doing the Excellent work AVA, OPRAH, writers,actors. We BELIEVE IN YOU & WANT/NEED THIS SERIES. SEE YOU EVERY TUESDAY.

  16. Emperess Divine February 22, 2021

    Although I did watch I found the story line to be Boring. For instance the character Darla is so weak that she’s like a tissue blowing in the wind and she is mis matched with her man in the series it’s a total mismatch of characters and it doesn’t work.

    • Jerome A February 22, 2021

      First of all, safety is number one, due to the pandemic. Although they came back on after months off, the reason for their low rating on the first night is due to bad inclement weather around the country. Believe me those ratings will be back up.

  17. Michelle J February 22, 2021

    Can’t blame them for the break. C**** hampered production. They came back when they could. I’m just glad Queen Sugar is back. It’s my favorite show!!

    • KAREN HILL February 22, 2021


  18. C. Jackson February 22, 2021

    The ratings have gone down because many of us who stream instead of using cable cannot get access. I am waiting on the season to be available on Amazon so that I can watch it. I am sure I’m not alone. When will these networks learn that cable is not the only game in town? I would rather pay a nominal amount to stream part of the year, than return to cable paying for channels that I never watch and actually do not want.

  19. Melissa Canady February 22, 2021

    I live Queen Sugar I have been a faithful watcher seen season 1 the ratings will get better some ppl always start watching episode 2..

  20. Lillia February 22, 2021

    It took to long to come back on tht ppl had 4 got alot of it but they will u need to advertise it more. I love the show.

  21. Kay February 22, 2021

    I don’t think that it was advertised enough to let people know when it was coming back on. So maybe the viewers will bring the numbers back up this week if enough viewers know it is back. I love the show and most of the time I put it on my DVR and watch it later.

  22. Byison February 22, 2021

    They destroyed Remy Noel character after that I lost interest!

  23. Joe Ann Adelagun February 22, 2021

    Texas was on a freeze. But I assure you if God willing Texas will be tune into Queen Sugar Tuesday Night.

  24. Penny February 22, 2021

    Queen Sugar is my favorite tv show, but there’s to much time between breaks. That can’t happen anymore. Everything that’s going on in this world today, people really look forward to seeing their favorite tv shows at least I do. I make sure dinner isn’t late on Tuesday night’s. My friends know not to call me on Tuesdays at that time unless it’s a life or death situation. I have a son who’s a special needs child and I make sure homework and bath time are early on that night. Then I pop myself some popcorn and relax and wait for my favorite show QUEEN SUGAR to come on. Please don’t take it off the air.

  25. Andrea Riley February 22, 2021

    The viewership was low for Queen Sugar because everyone doesn’t have the own channel. I love the show but can’t watch it until it comes on youtube and the quality is terrible!!!!! I can’t afford to add another channel to my budget!!!!!

  26. Yalonda February 22, 2021

    I love, love, love Queen Sugar but I feel like the downfall for this show and others will be the ginormous length of time it takes to re-air (the hiatus is so incredibly Long, that people find other things to get absorbed into and will at times, forget about the show entirely), Binge watching shows is like the new normal due to the pandemic and me for one, don’t want to wait a week to see 1 episode unless I’m watching Prime time tv especially since I cut the cable cord a looooong time ago(4yrs to be exact). My family streams everything from Amazon Prime and Netflix to Tubi, Hulu and beyond. They will get left behind if they don’t pay close attention to the consumer market in streaming services and how families now entertain themselves in a world where people don’t have much else to do but stay glued (happily) to the tv.

  27. Pearl Baca February 22, 2021

    There was a long gap from season 4 to season 5 but i watched all four seasons again so i could be ready for season 5. I LOVE QUEEN SUGAR!

  28. Anne February 22, 2021

    I agree with everyone who said the seasons are too far apart, they are also too short in my opinion. That being said, I have my DVR set to record new episodes of the shows I like so whenever they come back I’m always aware or don’t miss out. Otherwise I would completely forget or get tired of checking. I saw the season premier and I thought it was great, I think this season will be as good as the others. The extra long delay this time was worth it because they had to start over to incorporate the latest issues like the pandemic and racial tension. It’s understandable and worth adding to the already too long normal wait period. Other than wishing this show and other shows could start extending the seasons and premiering them closer together, I’m glad it’s finally back and will continue to watch. One of the few scripted shows left for me to enjoy.

  29. Julie February 22, 2021

    I absolutely LOVE this show & tell everyone about it!! It is MUST SEE TV on Tuesday nights — soo glad it’s back!!

    • Trina D Mckibben February 22, 2021

      I agree, it is the best show on TV. It took a long time for it to come back, but for me it was well worth the wait. This show has it all, great writing and most of all great actors. I have loved this show since it premiered and will be tuned in every Tuesday

  30. KAREN D HILL February 22, 2021


  31. Debbie Smith February 22, 2021

    I couldn’t watch Queen Sugar premiere because of power outage. I hope the numbers won’t hurt the continuation of the series. Love Queen Sugar.

  32. Wanda February 22, 2021

    I was tuned into OWN ready to watch the premiere of Queen Sugar and lost all power because I live in Texas!!!

  33. Dianne Murry February 22, 2021

    Queen sugar is #1 in my book of shows. OWN network makes it a little difficult for to see. Not everybody has OWN. If it can be seen on hulu works better. I just cannot the ratings dropped like that. This show is a number one show in my book

  34. Joanne February 22, 2021

    Patiently waited for QS to return & it did not disappoint,. Even got my husband involved with the amazing array of charactes. I love every one of them & can’t wait to see how the story evolves.

  35. Gail Gibbs February 22, 2021

    Was it factored in that Queen Sugar did not come over with some OWN programs to Discovery +? The only way QS is available to me would be with a cable or satellite subscription. Own needs to up its streaming game.

    • Sherry Young February 22, 2021

      If you add Own app to your streaming device its available there at no additional cost.

  36. Sherry Young February 22, 2021

    I found it difficult to follow the storyline, it really did not flow. Also, even though I subscribe to Own I found it difficult to find a playback to stream. It seemed like a bunch of trailers stuck together. I expected more!

  37. Ruby L Warnell February 22, 2021

    I love Queen Sugar, however it was too much of a gap in between. You have to give the audience what they are looking for in a timely manner.

  38. Laura Hirst February 22, 2021

    Streaming TV takes viewers from broadcast people feel they will just stream it later

  39. Patricia McClain February 22, 2021

    Did not know it had stay back up. I am sure the ratings will change once people know it’s back on

  40. Mose tyler February 22, 2021

    The layoff was too long coming views will pick up I did not know when season 5 was going to start

  41. D. Booth February 22, 2021

    When I read that they were going all ‘social Justice’ in their story lines this year …. I have decided to tune out !! I was a hard core fan of the show since the beginning… But not interested in being preached to from a victim mentality. I’m out !! Obviously I am not the only one ..LOL.

  42. Dree February 23, 2021

    OWN no longer promotes their original scripted series. I no longer get notifications on Facebook for Queen Sugar. The intensity of OWN’s marketing team has changed. The Queen Sugar marathon wasn’t promoted, I literally stumbled across it. In this article it mentioned Queen Sugar was second to Tyler Perry’s Oval. BET promoted its return constantly, seemingly every other commercial. OWN marketing team, we need to hear from you again. The View is an excellent source to remind Queen Sugar viewers. Ava, Oprah and others do not seem to book appearances on major media networks promoting the show. I 💖 Queen Sugar. Please do better promoting on major networks.

  43. Michelle O February 23, 2021

    If OWN would allow people to purchase an app like hulu and netflix I believe the ratings would go up. Alot of people are ditching the cable. I have Starz with my hulu under 20.00 a month. OWN needs to get on board. Ijs. I love Queen Sugar, but I will wait for reruns to save money from big cable company

  44. Bolo House Music February 23, 2021

    I honestly believe this is awesome production and people should give credit where its due. This is season 4, it goes to show how far they come and it has been exciting.

  45. Joyb February 23, 2021

    Some didn’t know it was back on it needs advertising

    • Mary B February 23, 2021

      Absolutely! This was just the warm up!

  46. Valerie Grimes February 23, 2021

    Wow..big drop.I am a Fan since day one..
    May this show Rise Up in RATINGS SENDING HIGH VIBRATION.

  47. Gail February 23, 2021

    Give us a minute!! With everything going on in the world i forgot the premiere date!! We’r coming Queen Sugar!!!!

  48. Mary B February 23, 2021

    Listen! I love Queen Suga. I think with the Pandemic and all that’s going on- a lot of people didn’t even realize that season 5 had begun. I think that the numbers will go up even this week! I literally had to remind my family and friends. Hang in there Guys!! Because this show is truly dealing our past in real life…..

  49. Lorraine February 23, 2021

    It’s taking too long to resolve so many issues. Far too many episodes in each series year. I’m calling it a wrap…

  50. Trina Hardaway February 23, 2021

    Didn’t know the new season had begun. Needed more attention!!!

  51. Elisha February 23, 2021

    I love Queen Sugar I didn’t even realize it was back on…going to find it now!!

  52. Mac February 23, 2021

    They did not have any ads or do any guest spots on daytime shows. Give the show its respect

  53. Errica Andrews February 23, 2021

    I dont have cable so I have to wait until Netflix or Hulu to pick it up. Can we just stream it live for the people in the back?!?

  54. Yvette February 23, 2021

    I had no idea the show was back on the air.
    I have to watch the episodes I missed!

    I love Queen Sugar!

  55. Patricia Carter February 23, 2021

    Queen sugar would have gotten alot of views but alot of people in Texas was without power tut o watch it. Love this show

  56. Sheila Taylor-Mitchell February 23, 2021

    In Texas most of us had no power, so I’m sure that didn’t help because we couldn’t watch.

  57. E February 23, 2021

    Uhm, I didn’t even know it was premiering last week. Over the weekend I randomly questioned my list of shows to watch and when I googled Queen Sugar, the first episode had already aired. The show was great, I don’t plan on missing another. I don’t think there was enough publicity behind the season premiere 🤷🏻‍♀️

  58. Marisa February 23, 2021

    Well, I been waiting impatiently the whole damn time, and had no idea it was even coming on I had ZERO idea it was finally coming back, and I even missed it. Certainly I am one of many and Certainly if there had been better publicity and wider publicity, many more people would have tuned in eagerly.

  59. GE918 February 24, 2021

    I saved the date on my calendar so I wouldn’t miss it when it returned. But I agree that it took too long to come back. Another reason for low view is that crazy show The Oval. I don’t know why two African American shows have to compete with each other. Queen Sugar needs to return to Wednesday nights. I cut cable and got Philo for 20 bucks a month, Own is included in the 65 network package. It a streaming company so I watch my shows when and how I want to.

  60. Shenel Clark February 24, 2021

    I’m must be sick I didn’t realize that you guys were back my bad so so so so sorry 😂 but trust there won’t be another missed😘😉😍😃😊😁🤩

  61. Shenel Clark February 24, 2021

    Great show very diverse program 😍

  62. Emalyn C Leppard February 24, 2021

    Been waiting for this return, and now Spectrum Cable took away OWN from my service!!! Really unhappy right now.

  63. Denise February 24, 2021

    I think they will be fine. I didn’t know they were coming back in February I thought it was April. They will pickup.

  64. Liv February 24, 2021

    I blame it on . Season 5 was late compared to when the other seasons started. I actually thought it was canceled until I saw something on Facebook.

  65. Sheila SNYDER February 24, 2021

    To long of a hiatus

  66. Shelia February 25, 2021

    I think the reason for low ratings is because people waited so long for it to return I enjoyed the episode I pray that they continue it I don’t do like they did with Greenleaf

  67. Lynn Dennis February 26, 2021

    I think Queen Sugar is a very adult series. It’s authentic, edgy at times and shows a family dealing with a variety of subject matters. A show where the family is not poor ignorant city dwellers with no family values that is a highlight of Hollywood stories. The show is not promoted enough and while I’m glad not to see the scandalous drama of other shows, it would be nice to see an exciting anticipatory storyline where you can’t wait for the next episode. Some stories not everyone can relate to either. This is just a lull year, every show has it, do better marketing. I almost thought the series ended if it wasn’t for this article. Generate the interest, lets us get to know the stars. It’s a show worth fighting to keep in the mainstream.

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