TV Ratings: 'Young Sheldon' Opens at Series Lows, New NBC Comedies Struggle

Young Sheldon 9 26 19 - Publicity - H 2019
Bill Inoshita/CBS

Thursday night was a rough one for comedy premieres.

CBS' Young Sheldon began its third season with series-low ratings, and a pair of new NBC shows, Perfect Harmony and Sunnyside, drew meager numbers for their series debuts. 

ABC drama Grey's Anatomy, meanwhile, was the night's top scripted show in adults 18-49 with its 16th season premiere, and Fox scored big numbers with Thursday Night Football.

Young Sheldon premiered with a 1.0 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.06 million viewers, series lows in both measures and well below its 2018-19 averages of 1.7 and 11.14 million. Thursday was the show's first turn in the leadoff spot formerly occupied by its parent show, The Big Bang Theory

On the plus side for CBS, Young Sheldon was the most-watched show (outside of football) in primetime, and the rest of the network's comedy block was consistent, if a bit low: The Unicorn premiered to a 0.8 and just over 6 million viewers, followed by Mom (0.8, 6.22 million) and Carol's Second Act (0.7, 5.97 million). At 10 p.m., drama Evil posted a 0.7 and 4.62 million viewers, with its total audience leading the non-NFL offerings in the hour.

NBC's Superstore (0.8, 2.88 million) was in line with its average from 2018-19, and The Good Place (0.7, 2.43 million) began its final season on par with last season's finale. Perfect Harmony (0.5, 2.6 million) and Sunnyside (0.4, 1.79 million), however, couldn't get much traction. Superstore and The Good Place both made huge gains with delayed and multi-platform viewing last season; NBC will have to hope the new shows follow suit. 

At 10 p.m., Law & Order: SVU began its record-setting 21st season with a 0.7 and 3.72 million viewers, in line with its ratings from the spring.

ABC was solid, with Grey's Anatomy leading all scripted shows with a 1.5 in adults 18-49, to go with 6.46 million viewers. That's on par with last season's average (though down from 1.9 and 6.81 million for its 2018 premiere). A Million Little Things scored a 1.1 in the 18-49 demo and 5 million viewers, even with its series premiere last year and tying a series high in the demo. How to Get Away With Murder began its final season with a 0.6 and 2.53 million viewers (it overperformed in delayed viewing last season). 

Fox's first Thursday Night Football broadcast of the season led the night by a wide margin. Its 12.6 household rating in metered markets was up about 18 percent over the same night last year and a four-year high for the first TNF game of the season on a broadcast network. The 2018 game ended up drawing 14.45 million viewers in the finals.

Fox is currently at a 3.9 rating among adults 18-49 in primetime, pending updates for its live broadcast. ABC was the best of the rest at 1.0. CBS averaged 0.8 and NBC 0.6. Univision followed at 0.5, and Telemundo earned a 0.3. The CW got a 0.1 from the finale of The Outpost.

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