After one week of the fall TV season, one thing remains true: football rules.
Thursday Night Football on CBS crushed nearly everything in its path, with the New England Patriots hosting the Houston Texans and blowing them out 27-0. Blow outs are never great for ratings, and the game scored a 4.3 rating/15 share among adults 18-49 in the overnights, according to Nielsen, and 13 million viewers. That still far out-rated everything else on the night but overall football is down compared to last year.
After two weeks, NBC’s Sunday Night Football was down 12% in viewers compared to last year; ESPN’s Monday Night Football was also down 12% and CBS’ first Thursday Night Football game — an all New York affair between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets on Sept. 15 — was down 26%. Still, the NFL is averaging 18.3 million viewers when NFL coverage on all networks is considered.
Both ABC and Fox debuted new shows and neither got off to strong starts.
On ABC, Notorious at 9 p.m. opened to a 1.2 among adults 18-49 and 5.4 million viewers, losing half of its 2.5/9 18-49 lead-in from Grey’s Anatomy. How to Get Away With Murder at 10 p.m. picked up the pieces a bit, averaging a 1.4 among adults 18-49 and 5.2 million viewers.
Fox debuted its much-promoted Pitch, about Major League Baseball’s first female pitcher, and averaged a 1.1 among adults 18-49 and 4.3 million viewers at 9 p.m. to finish fourth among the Big Four in the time slot. Pitch followed Rosewood, which lost its Empire lead-in in season two, and only managed to scrap up a 0.7 in the demo and 3.7 million viewers.
NBC, in an attempt to bring back its Must-See TV Thursday night line-up, led off with Superstore at 8 p.m., which scored 1.4 in the demo and 5.3 million viewers. NBC just officially picked up Superstore for the full season, on Friday placing a back-nine order for the comedy starring America Ferrara and Ben Feldman.
Superstore led into The Good Place, making its time-period debut at 8:30 p.m. and averaging a 1.3, down quite a bit from the 2.3 debut it scored on Monday night behind The Voice, and 5.3 million total viewers. At 9 p.m., NBC’s Chicago Med was the hour’s highest-rated scripted show with a 1.4 and 7 million viewers, while Blacklist returned for season two with a 1.3 and 6.4 million viewers in its new Thursday 10 p.m. time slot.
Friday night saw two shows debut — CBS’ remake of MacGyver and Fox’s retelling of The Exorcist at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively.
MacGyver kicked off with a 1.7 rating/8 share among adults 18-49 and 10.9 million viewers, while The Exorcist opened to a 1.0/4 in the demo and just under 3 million viewers, holding most of its lead-in from Hell’s Kitchen with a 1.1/5 among adults 18-49 and 3.3 million viewers.
MacGyver is CBS’ best premiere in the time slot since Ghost Whisperer in 2005. Following MacGyver, Hawaii Five-O and Blue Bloods were steady with a 1.3/6 and 10.1 million viewers and a 1.3/6 and 10.4 million viewers, respectively.
ABC aired Last Man Standing, which rated a 1.1/5 and 5.8 million viewers; Dr. Ken, which fell to a 0.9/4 and 4.1 million viewers; and Shark Tank, which grew a bit to a 1.1/5 and 4.9 million viewers. 20/20 at 10 p.m. averaged a 0.7/3 and 3.4 million viewers.
NBC aired repeats of The Good Place and Superstore and followed up with a two-hour Dateline, averaging a 0.8/3 among adults 18-49 and 3.9 million viewers.
Finally, the first round of live-plus-three day (L+3) ratings came in, offering upticks for many shows.
In its Monday night preview behind The Voice, The Good Place grew to a 3.6 among adults 18-49, adding a full ratings point, and also added more than 3.2 million viewers to grow to a total audience of 12.3 million viewers.
CBS’ Kevin Can Wait grew to a 3.3 in the demo, also up from a 2.6, and added 21 million viewers for a total audience of 13.2 million viewers.
CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, which looked like it was weakening in the overnights, came back to life in the L+3 ratings, growing to a healthy 5.4 among adults 18-49 and more than 20 million total viewers.
On Tuesday night at 10 p.m., NBC’s This Is Us, the premiere of which showed promise, grew to a 4.2 18-49 rating in L+3, the biggest L+3 jump since Fox premiered Empire in January 2015, and a total audience of 13.5 million.
CBS’ Bull at 9 p.m. grew to a 2.9 among adults 18-49, adding 0.7 of a ratings point, and added nearly four million viewers to a total audience of 19.4 million. Bull got a nice lead-in from NCIS, the former home of Bull star Michael Weatherly, which grew to a 2.9 among adults 18-49 and a total audience of 19.2 million.
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