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Did Kate Chastain leaving Below Deck impact premiere ratings for Season 8?

Was the premiere of Below Deck a success without Kate Chastain?
Below Deck is ratings gold for Bravo but fans are now wondering if that is the case without Kate on the show. Pic credit: Bravo

Below Deck Season 8 has officially premiered, marking the first time in six seasons that the show did not feature Kate Chastain as chief stew.

Fans have been anxiously awaiting the return of Captain Lee Rosbach and his new crew, which did feature a familiar face. Eddie Lucas returned as bosun, giving viewers another reason to tune in besides the famous captain.

Did Below Deck without Kate impact ratings?

Bravo tweeted that the Below Deck Season 8 premiere pulled in 1.201 million viewers. Not too bad at all, but it is lower than the Season 7 premiere.

Last year Below Deck brought in 1.412 million viewers. Speculation is that there was a slight impact on the ratings because Kate was not on the show. She has been a fan favorite from her early days on Below Deck and fans were not happy to learn that Kate was not coming back for Season 8.

In comparison, Below Deck Mediterranean’s Season 5 premiere brought in 1.51 million viewers. Then again, the trailer for the season was full of OMG moments, which helped entice viewers to tune in for the premiere. Plus, the previous season was one for the record books.

Sadly for the network, though, it does appear Kate’s departure impacted ratings. Twitter was abuzz with fans expressing how the show is not the same.

Below Deck Season 8 ratings.
Pic credit: @RatingsBravo/Twitter

Some fans did admit that having Eddie back softened the blow of not having Kate around. It might just take binge-watching a few episodes before viewers are ready to commit to the show.

There are other reasons that premiere ratings could be lower than expected

There is no question that Season 7 of Below Deck left fans with a bad taste in their mouths. The toxic male environment was too much for some viewers, who gave up watching the show all together last year.

Even the Season 7 reunion show did little to sway fan opinion regarding what went down on The Valor. Plus, coming off all the Below Deck Med drama, viewers may need a little break.

Fans are still angry at Captain Sandy Yawn and Malia White for what happened with Hannah Ferrier. The outrage could very well be impacting the other Below Deck franchise.

However, just because the Season 8 premiere was down a little from last year doesn’t mean the show is headed for disaster. Below Deck historically tends to build up ratings throughout the season as the drama gets intense.

It takes time for viewers to get used to a new crew. So far, the Season 8 cast seems extremely entertaining and the premiere featured a historic twist for the show.

What did you think of the Below Deck Season 8 premiere?

Below Deck airs Mondays at 9/8c on Bravo.

Rachelle has been working as an entertainment writer for over a decade. She recently left television ad sales behind to focus on her dream of... read more
Rachelle Lewis


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