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Sunday night was not a kind one for several shows on linear TV. The NBC premiere of Magnum P.I. was down considerably from its average on CBS last season, American Idol had its smallest premiere to date on ABC, and The Company You Keep got off to a modest start. On top of that, the NBA All-Star Game had its smallest audience ever.
There may be a silver lining for NBC in Magnum P.I.’s numbers, however, and two other broadcast shows — ABC’s Not Dead Yet and Fox’s Animal Control — are showing strong returns for their premieres in multiplatform ratings. All-Star numbers aside, the NBA is putting up decent numbers for the regular season so far. Elsewhere on cable, WWE Monday Night Raw is enjoying a surge among younger viewers on USA.
Bad news first: The two-episode premiere of Magnum P.I. averaged 3.59 million viewers and a 0.31 rating among adults 18-49 on NBC, down 31 percent in total viewers and 26 percent in the 18-49 demographic from the show’s same-day average on CBS last season. American Idol (5.27 million, 0.61) lost a million viewers and a third of its 18-49 rating compared to last season’s debut, and The Company You Keep followed it on ABC with just 2.37 million viewers and a 0.26 demo rating. On TNT and TBS, the NBA All-Star Game averaged 4.59 million viewers, an all-time low and down 27 percent year to year.
On the plus side for NBC, though, Magnum’s ratings are the best the network has seen for its regular post-football Sunday lineup in several years. It’s been four years since an NBC Sunday show that’s not an NFL broadcast averaged more than 3 million same-day viewers; none of last season’s offerings got above even 2 million viewers or a 0.25 rating among adults 18-49.
The Feb. 8 series premiere of Not Dead Yet brought in 7.6 million viewers and a 1.76 rating in adults 18-49 across all platforms over its first seven days, according to Nielsen and internal ABC data. After a same-day audience of 3.61 million viewers, the comedy starring Gina Rodriguez added 1.41 million viewers from Nielsen-measured delayed viewing and an additional 2.58 million from streaming platforms. Streaming accounted for just over a third of the show’s total audience — and almost two-thirds of its 18-49 rating; per Nielsen, it was at a 0.6 after seven days, meaning the remaining 1.16 ratings points came from other platforms.
Animal Control also got a big streaming bump: Fox says 1.35 million people streamed the comedy’s premiere over its first three days, making it the most streamed Fox scripted debut ever, edging out 911: Lone Star (1.3 million) in 2020. Streaming made up 30 percent of the show’s total three-day audience of 4.5 million viewers. About 2.09 million people watched the Feb. 16 premiere on air, and 1 million or so caught up via DVR over three days.
While the All-Star Game hit a low, the games that count for the NBA are drawing viewers at a similar rate to last season. Across TNT, ESPN and ABC, the league is averaging about 1.6 million viewers per contest, even with the first half of the 2021-22 season. TNT’s average of 1.45 million viewers is a four-year high, and since Jan. 1, both TNT and ESPN are up year to year in adults 18-49 for NBA games.
Monday Night Raw has also had a strong start to 2023, particularly among adults 18-49. USA’s WWE showcase is averaging 816,000 viewers in the demographic since Jan. 1, a 21 percent jump over the same period last year. Its total audience of 2.15 million viewers (including three days of delayed viewing) is up by 12 percent year to year.
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