Broadcast’s Mid-Season Is Mostly Mediocre

by Paige Albiniak  |  03.17.2017

Since Jan. 1, the broadcast networks have launched 17 new scripted shows and none of them appear to have taken hold, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Moreover, one of them — CBS’ Doubt, starring Katherine Heigl — was pulled after just two episodes.

CBS also had to move Training Day, a TV version of the Oscar-winning movie starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, to Saturdays when star Bill Paxton died unexpectedly.

In better news, CBS’ new Monday night sitcom Superior Donuts is likely to return. The sitcom, starring Judd Hirsch and Katey Sagal, premiered on Feb. 6, averaged a 1.2 live-plus-same-day rating among adults 18-49 and 6.1 million viewers on Monday, March 6.

One of mid-season’s best bets for success — Fox’s 24: Legacy, which launched out of Super Bowl LI — started strong out of the gate but hasn’t been able to rise above a 1.0 rating in the key adults 18-49 demographic since it premiered on Feb. 5.

Comedies and time travel and the two combined also seem to be struggling. ABC’s Time After Time and Fox’s Making History both are having a hard time finding an audience on Sundays. ABC’s drama from Kevin Williamson opened on March 6 to an anemic 0.6 live-plus-same-day rating among adults 18-49, while Making History debuted that same night to a 0.9 in the demo.

Another show featuring time travel, NBC’s Timeless, wrapped its 16-episode first season with a 2.2 live-plus-seven-day average rating among adults 18-49 and a 50-50 shot renewal.

Still, it’s not all a bummer for the broadcasters: NBC’s This Is Us wrapped its first season with an episodes that critics roundly felt “meh” about but that viewers tuned into watch: the episode, “Moonshadow,” scored a series high 3.3 live-plus-same-day rating among adults 18-49 and 12.7 million viewers, reports TV Guide. Those numbers will certainly climb when the live-plus-seven numbers come in. Moreover, This Is Us beat AMC’s fading cable juggernaut The Walking Dead, which grabbed 10.6 million viewers on Sunday, and is the first broadcast series since Fox’s Empire to grow its audience from first episode to finale. 

Things are faring a little better for debuts on cable networks and streaming services. This week, three new entries were renewed for second seasons: FX’s trippy Legion, HBO’s Crashing and CBS All Access’ The Good Fight.

RELATED: Three Series Score Second-Season Renewals

READ MORE: The Hollywood Reporter, TV Guide

[Cube image of Doubt courtesy of CBS/Sonja Flemming]

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