TV Ratings: Sean Spicer Helps 'Dancing With the Stars' Premiere Tick Up

The ABC staple improves a little over its 2018 debut, albeit against less competition.
Justin Stephens/ABC
Sean Spicer

The season premiere of Dancing With the Stars — featuring former Trump White House press secretary Sean Spicer among the contestants — posted decent ratings Monday night.

The ABC staple began its 28th season with 8 million viewers, up a modest 4 percent from 7.68 million a year ago. Its 1.0 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic was even with the 2018 premiere. DWTS faced somewhat stiffer competition last season as it debuted on the opening night of the TV season opposite the likes of The Voice and The Big Bang Theory.

Like a lot of unscripted series, Dancing With the Stars does not tend to make huge gains with delayed viewing. Last season improved by 29 percent in adults 18-49 and 21 percent in viewers after a week of catchup. 

Following DWTS, the special Beyonce Presents: Making The Gift, about her recording of The Lion King: The Gift, drew a 0.4 in adults 18-49 and 2.5 million viewers.

The season finale of American Ninja Warrior on NBC is currently leading the 18-49 demo with a season-high 1.1, but that number is likely somewhat inflated due to a preemption for Monday Night Football in Cleveland. Its 5.39 million viewers may also come down in the finals.

Spicer told The Hollywood Reporter he was prepared for some backlash to his participation on the show — "We are where we are as a country" — but he was more worried about his neon-green and white ensemble for his first dance. 

"[The backlash is] nothing compared to what happened tonight," he said. "I mean, I can take a couple tweets. This, people are watching."

Also Monday, the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance on Fox (0.4 in adults 18-49, 1.89 million viewers) was on par with its past couple outings. CBS and The CW aired reruns.

In late night the debut of A Little Late With Lilly Singh at 1:35 a.m. scored a 0.6 household rating in metered markets and a 0.2 in adults 18-49, in line with recent numbers for Last Call With Carson Daly. The episode also streamed on YouTube prior to the on-air premiere, and NBC plans to use on-air ratings as just a starting point for the show, as Singh has a large following on YouTube and other digital platforms.

NBC currently leads primetime in adults 18-49 with a 0.9 rating, pending updates. ABC is at 0.8. CBS, Fox, Telemundo and Univision all tied at 0.4, and The CW is at 0.2, also pending updates for a football preemption.

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