8:22am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: Halle Berry's 'Extant' Brings a Big (Older) Audience
CBS' latest big summer swing, the one that lured Halle Berry to TV, debuted on Wednesday night after almost a year of fanfare, but the first episode of Extant came up short of what were undoubtedly loftier ratings goals. Though it averaged a strong 9.4 million viewers, it averaged only a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49.
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If there's any yardstick to measure the unique launch against, it's the network's own Under the Dome. Though the DVR-friendly drama has netted diminished same-day returns during its current sophomore run, last year it raised eyebrows (and the bar for summer scripted programming) when it opened to 13.5 million viewers and a 3.3 rating in the key demo. (The latest episode of Dome scored a 1.7 rating.)
Extant clearly skewed older. On top of the disparity between total viewers and the adults 18-49 demo, the show did pull a 2.4 rating with the more mature adults 25-54 demo.
What Under the Dome didn't have was a lead-in, launching at 10 p.m. after an encore of The Big Bang Theory. Extant had CBS summer staple Big Brother for an opening act. The reality series opened the night on CBS slightly higher than Extant, with a 1.9 rating among adults under 50.
So while these initial ratings aren't the most promising for Extant, its real test is yet to come. Summer TV consumption often veers toward more time-shifting, and Extant (like Under the Dome) has CBS engaging in a big partnership with Amazon Prime, which will release episodes four days after their network premiere.