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One of the most anticipated premieres of the fall arrives Tuesday night. The Conners will take over the leadoff spot in ABC’s Tuesday lineup that was held by its predecessor, Roseanne, at the end of last season.
The series, which continues the story of the Conner family without former star and creator Roseanne Barr, will have some big shoes to fill: The comedy’s revival was the highest-rated scripted series on broadcast TV in 2017-18. Its premiere in March was the second highest-rated single episode of any series on the networks, behind only This Is Us‘ post-Super Bowl installment.
The Hollywood Reporter conducted an informal survey of industry ratings watchers, and the consensus is that the show will do well — but it’s unlikely to reach the heights set by Roseanne‘s premiere in March.
That, admittedly, is a high bar. Roseanne premiered to a whopping 18.44 million viewers and a 5.2 rating among adults 18-49 in live plus same-day numbers. The show cooled considerably over its nine-episode run, with lows of 2.5 in the 18-49 demo and 10.29 million viewers. Its lowest ratings would currently be tied for first in the demo and eighth in viewers among comedy episodes this fall.
With one exception, the industry ratings wonks THR surveyed (they were granted anonymity so they could speak freely about a rival network’s show) believe The Conners will at least open above the Roseanne finale (2.5, 10.58 million). That would make it one of the best-performing shows of the season to date, even if it’s well short of where Roseanne opened.
At the low end is a prediction of 2.2 in adults 18-49 and 12 million viewers, “with a big fall-off in week two after curiosity gets satisfied.”
The upper end of the predictions has the show at 3.5 in the demo and around 14 million viewers, both of which would be the best marks of the season so far. The majority of predictions fall in between, at 3.0 and the 13 million viewer range.
That would be about 42 percent below where Roseanne started last season in the demo and 30 percent behind in viewers — but also tied for the best same-day results of any show this season.
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