TV Ratings: 'Manifest' Has Strong Start, 'Magnum P.I.' Not So Much

The NBC drama builds on 'The Voice' and is easily the top new show on night one of the new season. Most returnees are down.
Karen Neal/CBS

NBC's new drama Manifest scored strong ratings out of the gate Monday, finishing as the top-rated drama and No. 2 show overall on the first night of the 2018-19 TV season.

The other newcomer, CBS' Magnum P.I. remake, didn't fare as well, nor did most returning shows. The majority of veteran shows were down, some of them considerably.

The Big Bang Theory began its last season with a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49, down a hefty 41 percent versus last season's debut (and -11 percent from its 2017-18 average). Young Sheldon (1.7) took a bigger fall, dropping 55 percent from its series premiere a year ago and coming in 23 percent below its season one average.

Magnum P.I. followed with a 1.2, finishing third at 9 p.m. behind the second hour of The Voice on NBC and 911 on Fox. Bull opened its third season at 0.9, off 31 percent versus 1.3 for its 2017-18 premiere, when it aired Tuesdays (it averaged 1.2 for the season). Bull did substantially improve on Scorpion's premiere in the time period last season (7.33 million versus 5.73 million).

The Voice premiered to a 2.0 on NBC, off 23 percent versus 2.6 a year ago and its lowest-rated premiere ever. Manifest built on its lead-in to score a 2.2, tying for the highest-rated drama series premiere (The Good Doctor a year ago) since This Is Us in 2016, excluding post-NFL debuts. 

Dancing With the Stars (1.1, -21 percent) and The Good Doctor (1.4, -36 percent) also took sizable hits on ABC, and they could go a little bit lower in the finals as the network's Pittsburgh affiliate preempted regular programming for Monday Night Football.

Fox, on the other hand, had a fairly decent night. The Resident premiered with a 1.1, a little above its first-season average of 1.0 and tying its best Monday performance from last season (it premiered to a 2.6 after the NFC Championship game in January). The time-period debut of 911 scored a 1.6, down a full point from Sunday's NFL-assisted 2.6 but on par with its first-season average. The two shows averaged 5.7 million viewers, giving Fox its most-watched fall Monday since 2014.

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NBC comfortably led the network race with a 2.1 rating in the 18-49 demo. CBS finished second with a 1.4, narrowly beating Fox (1.3) and ABC (1.2, pending updates). The CW was well off the pace at 0.2.

The Tonight Show led the 18-49 demo at 11:35 p.m. with a 0.6 rating in metered markets. The Late Show (which led in households) and Jimmy Kimmel Live! tied at 0.4.

At 12:35 a.m., Late Night and Nightline each averaged 0.3 in the demo, ahead of The Late Late Show's 0.2.

In the finals, The Big Bang Theory adjusted up a tenth of a point in the demo to 2.5, meaning it's down 39 percent year to year rather than 41 percent. As expected, Dancing With the Stars (1.0, -29 percent vs. 2017) and The Good Doctor (1.3, -41 percent) adjusted down after factoring out the Monday Night Football pre-emption. 

Sept. 25, 1:29 p.m. Updated with final ratings numbers.