Uneasy lies the head: Is “The Crown” past its peak?

16 November, 2022

Season 5 of Netflix’s much loved and critically lauded The Crown premiered on November 9th. There has been increased interest in The Crown this year given the death of Queen Elizabeth in September.  From January - October, The Crown had 26.7 times the average series demand globally, with a notable spike in interest in September (peaking at 59x). Compare this to January - October 2020, before season 4 premiered on November 15, 2020 when the show averaged 25.0x demand around the world.

However, elevated attention for the show driven by real world events has not translated to a more successful season 5 premiere, as can be seen below.


Global demand for this season of The Crown peaked at 63x on November 11th, compared to season 4’s peak at 71x two days after it premiered. This is notable given how demand for the show has consistently grown each season up to this point. It is difficult to diagnose exactly why audiences are losing interest in the show this season. This may be driven by fatigue with news about the royals after they have dominated headlines for months; it could be people naturally losing interest in the show after a five-season run; or it may be driven by another factor.

One possible reason that we are able to quantify is the cast this season. The Crown is unique for changing out a majority of the cast every two seasons to portray aging characters as time progresses. In season 3, the actors playing Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and Princess Margaret were all replaced with new actors who would reprise their roles in season 4 (Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, and Helena Bonham Carter respectively). In the six months before their debut in The Crown these actors had between 3 - 6 times the average talent demand in the US.


The actors stepping into the three roles this season have a much lower level of demand than their predecessors. In the six months before the season 5 premiere, Jonathan Pryce, Lesley Manville, and Imelda Staunton all had demand slightly above average which is much lower than the amount of attention their counterparts commanded in the lead up to their debut.  However esteemed these new actors may be, the fact that they all capture less audience attention means that the show may not be getting the star power boost it received in previous seasons. With a sixth and final season planned, it remains to be seen if The Crown can reverse this decline and end on a high note.


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