Even though The X-Files season 11 still is not a thing, we remain optimistic that it will be. Why wouldn’t Fox want it? Not only that, but why wouldn’t some of the people associated with the series want to continue to be a part of it? This remains one of the best science fiction series of all time, it’s a great platform for Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, and it’s something that they only have to work on once every couple of years. There’s no requirement that they remain committed to it year in and year out.
Fox has indicated already that the show will be back, so the question we have to ponder over now is this: What should they expect from its ratings? We’re not sure that Fox has ever needed the numbers more than they do right now. Let’s put it this way — Lethal Weapon is their #2 rated show of the 2016-17 season in terms of scripted dramas. It averaged a 1.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic. Even when you remove from the equation the performance of the episode that aired after the NFC Championship Game in 2016, The X-Files still averaged over a 2.5 rating for the five episodes that followed. That’s huge. It’s not that far off from what some episodes of their #1 show Empire drew in the fall.
If they were to bring Mulder and Scully back, we do think that it’s easy to imagine scenarios where you do end up getting the show return and pull in a 2.0 rating regularly. We don’t expect it to generate the same ratings that it once did — those expectations feel a little bit hard to match given there was such a long layoff between seasons last time — but if The X-Files season 11 drew above a 2.0 Fox would probably air the show however long Duchovny and Anderson wanted to do it. Think about it — there’s a super-small cast that they would need to pay, and the orders are short enough that audiences don’t get tired of it.
With 24: Legacy floundering and unlikely to return pending some dramatic improvement, our feeling is that the season 11 revival will be announced later this spring, and it will air next year at around the same time it did last year. There’s no reason to do anything else.