‘Below Deck’: Did Kate Chastain’s Exit Impact Season 8 Premiere Ratings?

Below Deck Season 8 premiered with lowered ratings than season 7’s premiere, which has fans wondering if many skipped the show now that chief stew Kate Chastain has left.

Captain Lee Rosbach
Captain Lee Rosbach |Greg Endries/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

“S08E01 – 1.201 million viewers (0.38 18-49 demo),” Bravo Ratings shared on Twitter about the first episode. The premiere didn’t experience a shocking drop but fewer viewers tuned in from last year.

Last year’s numbers were, “S07E01 – 1.412 million viewers (0.51 18-49 demo),” according to Bravo Ratings. Some people tweeted that the show wasn’t the same without Chastain. However, quite a few viewers admitted they didn’t realize the new season debuted.

Did Kate Chastain’s departure impact ratings?

Captain Lee Rosbach was at the helm, plus bosun Eddie Lucas finally returned after five years away from the show. Many viewers were happy to see him again on their screen. “Having Eddie back is almost filling the Kate void,” one person tweeted.

Chastain announced that she planned to retire from yachting after season 7. While she still holds a presence on the network with her new talk show, Bravo’s Chat Room, Below Deck had a new chief stew.

“Ohhh dear kates impact really did make ratings,” one person replied to Bravo Rating’s tweet. Another person tweeted, “drink every time you miss kate.”

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“How can we move on from Kate Chastain? I’m in mourning,” one fan wrote on Twitter. But missing Chastain didn’t mean that viewers rejected the new chief stew, Francesca Rubi.

“Francesca’s voice reminds me so much of Hannah, but her work ethic is more like Kate. Seems like she’s going to do great,” one person observed. Like Below Deck Mediterranean former chief stew Hannah Ferrier, Rubi is from Australia which led some viewers to compare the two.

Viewers generally seem open to Rubi. “As much as I love Kate…i’m already loving Francesca! She’s a breath of fresh air and I think she will be a fantastic chief stew!” another person shared.

Other factors are in play too

Despite the promotions for the new season, several viewers admitted they didn’t realize the season 8 premiere started on Nov. 2. “I forgot it was on,” one person added to the Bravo Rating’s Twitter thread. Below Deck Season 8 debuted the week following Below Deck Med‘s reunion, which may have thrown off viewers.

Others didn’t find the episode engaging. “1st episode of Below Deck was kinda borrrriiiinnnnngggggg,” a Twitter user posted.

But also, the election, which was held the day after the premiere may have distracted viewers too. “Election break: This new #BelowDeck cast is not exciting me,” one person shared. Some people tuned in to Below Deck to distract them from the election. “However thank you for sending us #BelowDeck as a distraction,” another person wrote.

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Others waited to watch the show on their DVR too. “Turning off election results and watching the episode of #BelowDeck I have on my DVR,” another person wrote about saving the episode for later.

Below Deck is on Monday at 9/8c on Bravo.