TV Long View: 'A Million Little Things,' '911' and More Under-the-Radar MVPs

Though not at the top of the ratings charts, shows like 'FBI' and 'The Resident' are essential parts of their networks' lineups.
ABC/Jack Rowand; FOX
'A Million Little Things' (left), '911'

A quarter of the way through the TV season — fall finales for some series air next week — some clear ratings patterns have emerged: The Conners is solid, if not stratospheric the way Roseanne was in the spring; reviving Last Man Standing has been a boon for Fox; the NFL has stopped its slide and has improved pretty well across the board.

Those stories have been told, and told and told. This week's Long View will look at some of the other success stories of the season so far. The shows below don't have the flashiest ratings but have shown themselves to be essential parts of their networks' lineups. Call them the undersung MVPs of the fall.

(All ratings cited below are live-plus-three-day figures through Nov. 4.)

ABC: 'The Kids Are Alright' and 'A Million Little Things'

The two first-year shows have brought some stability to their respective nights and are, as of now, outperforming their time-period averages from last season.

Comedy The Kids Are Alright has performed admirably coming out of The Conners, tying with The Neighborhood on CBS as the No. 2 new comedy of the fall with a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49. A Million Little Things is at 1.6, topping CBS veteran Criminal Minds in its Wednesday time slot. Both shows are showing double-digit improvements year to year in their time periods (15 percent for Kids, 23 percent for A Million Little Things).

CBS: 'FBI'

The middle entry in the network's Tuesday lineup of acronymally titled crime dramas, the Dick Wolf-produced FBI has been exactly the plug-and-play show CBS had to have been hoping it would be. It's the third most-watched drama on the network this fall (behind lead-in NCIS and Blue Bloods) with 11.83 million viewers and ranks in the top 10 shows overall. It also holds on to better than 80 percent of NCIS' adults 18-49 audience.

The CW: 'Legacies'

Charmed has been the top-performing new series at The CW so far, but Legacies has been steady, with a 0.5 in adults 18-49 and 1.64 million viewers over its first two episodes. Possibly just as important, the continuation of the Vampire Diaries franchise has put up a strong showing on the network's digital platforms. In announcing back orders for its first-year shows, The CW noted Legacies is already its third most-streamed series (behind The Flash and Riverdale).

Fox: 'The Resident' and '911'

Fox's Monday lineup has given the network a clear upgrade over Lucifer and The Gifted in fall 2017. The Resident — one of the most consistently rated shows on TV — and 911 have a 27 percent advantage in adults 18-49 over last season (1.9 vs. 1.5). In total viewers, the two shows' average of 8 million is 51 percent better than last fall's Monday slate.

NBC: The 'Chicago' Trio

The network's gambit to stack all three of its Chicago-set shows on one night has paid off. Aside from one week opposite the World Series, NBC has led every Wednesday this season in viewers. All three shows are on par with last season's 18-49 averages (Fire and PD are at 1.9, Med at 1.8) and averaging more than 10 million viewers after three days.