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Two weeks into the broadcast networks’ new season, there are at least three definite winners, one unimpeachable loser and a whole lot of shrug emoji in between.
For the most part, it is still quite early in the game to see where things are headed. Initial time-shifting and multiplatform data have largely just cemented the instant judgments from most series’ first overnight ratings — but the lifts are significant, bigger than those at the start of the 2016-17 season. So while we’re likely still a ways off from any scheduling moves, forced hiatus or a rare and outright cancellation, here’ a look at what’s working, what’s in the middle and what’s not.
1. Young Sheldon (CBS)
Not only is CBS’ Big Bang Theory the biggest winner of the new season thus far, it gets to keep a firm grip on that status for a full month without any real challenge. The show doesn’t premiere in earnest until Nov. 2. In the meantime, the network gets to keep boasting about more and more people tuning into that first episode. Per live-plus-three day ratings, it rose to a 5.2 among adults 18-49. And, with live-plus-seven day numbers, it’s at a 5.5 rating in the key demo with a killer 22.5 million viewers. No wonder it got the quickest back nine pickup a new Big Four series has seen in years.
2. Will & Grace (NBC)
Safety was guaranteed for NBC’s Must-See TV revival before it hit the airwaves, a second season of 13 episodes ordered in August, but the robust premiere may have set too high of a bar. Initial time-shifting gave the return a 4.6 rating among adults 18-49 and nearly 15 million viewers. That catapulted NBC’s Thursday to highs not seen in a decade. It’s a somewhat tentative victory for W&G, though, the second episode taking an especially hard hit among night-of viewers.
4. Seal Team (CBS)
Seemingly mirroring the success of Bull last season, CBS’ Seal Team is big with viewers (14.3 million) and just all right among the younger set (a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49, per live-plus-seven). But since CBS likely doesn’t care about the latter stat, why should we? It’s one of the biggest new shows of the season.
5. The Gifted (Fox)
The first episode earned a solid enough live showing, a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49, but the first live-plus-three day lift kicked up the X-Men-ish drama to one of the highest-rated in-season launches of the season — netting a 2.3 rating in the key demo and 7.3 million viewers. It’s a much-needed shot of adrenaline to Fox’s oft-forgotten Monday.
6. The Orville (Fox)
This is a tricky one. Unlike any other new or returning broadcast series, Fox’s dramedy has already aired five original episodes. And while its in-season airings on Thursday would place it lower on the rankings, the aggressive sampling strategy should not be ignored. Season-to-date, The Orville‘s live-plus-three day average (through four episodes) is a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49. But it’s week-to-week trajectory is taking the southerly route. Its live-plus-same day rating most recently fellow below the dreaded 1.0 mark.
7. Ghosted (Fox)
Sundays are hard, even with a less-than-stellar string of primetime NFL matchups, so Ghosted winning the night’s scripted race during its first night out is no small feat. The show averaged a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 4.8 million viewers in initial live-plus-three lifts, topping Fox time slot neighbor The Simpsons.
8. The Brave (NBC)
What modest success NBC’s The Brave may be finding after two weeks, where it’s averaged a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 7.9 million live-plus-three day viewers, is dampened by the fact that it’s the poorest performer to ever premiere out of The Voice‘s once-kingmaking Monday block.
9. 9JKL (CBS)
One episode in, and it’s quite apparent that this sitcom does not appeal to Big Bang Theory viewers the way Young Sheldon or many other past lead-outs did. Its premiere held just 40 percent of Big Bang‘s score among adults 18-49 (a 1.8 rating) and added only 1 million viewers with Nielsen’s live-plus-three. Still, it’s going to benefit from Big Bang adjacency for the rest of October — lest CBS make any scheduling tweaks.
10. Me, Myself and I (CBS)
Airing at 9:30, a whole hour after CBS’ early-fall Monday peaks with Big Bang, is not going to help Me, Myself and I. Neither will the modest percentage lifts of the first two episodes. But, as it stands, it’s making a genuine effort with an average 1.7 rating among adults 18-49 through two episodes.
11. Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS)
The good news for Jeremy Piven’s new CBS procedural is that it’s already amassed more than 10 million viewers. It’s on the lower end of the audience spectrum for America’s most-watched network, but it’s not too shabby either. The bad news is that its sampling was overwhelmingly from live viewers. Its live-plus-three day lift among adults 18-49 was a scant 23 percent to a 1.6 rating, not much to write home about by 2017 time-shifting standards.
12. Inhumans (ABC)
Critics have had it out for ABC’s latest Marvel series since they got their first glimpse at footage — but, even with its low standings on the ratings totem, things could be much worse for Inhumans. It is a Friday show, after all. And, with a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49 after three days of a time-shifting, it pulled almost twice the rating of Friday neighbor The Exorcist. Fox’s drama returned as the lowest-rated scripted series on broadcast during premiere week.
13. Ten Days in the Valley (ABC)
Kyra Sedgwick called it before it even premiered. Scant promotion, a rough time slot and the built-in excuse of being a “limited” series all mean this darker drama isn’t going anywhere. Even with a live-plus-three day lift, it could only muster a 0.8 rating.
TBD. Initial time-shifting was not immediately available for ABC freshman The Mayor and Kevin (Probably) Saves the World — but, based on their initial live showings, their openings are decidedly middle of the pack, with poor Kevin leaning a little lower.
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