And they’re off! After several pseudo-starts courtesy of the NFL, Neil Patrick Harris and a shrinking Emmy telecast, the 2015-2016 broadcast season finally got underway Monday night with a slew of new and returning series across the Big Four.
Among the three big series debuts, initial bragging rights go to Blindspot. Per Nielsen’s fast national returns, the drama nabbed a 3.1 rating in the key demographic of adults 18-49 and 10.6 million viewers. That’s not quite the level of what The Blacklist brought in the hour this time last September, but it did so with a slightly softer episode of The Voice. And its initial showing obviously was aided by the lead-in. The Voice grabbed a 3.5 rating in the demo, off four-tenths of a point from its fall 2014 return.
This is also where it should be noted that these live-plus-same-day ratings continue to tell a smaller and smaller part of the story. All of these shows will grow from their original returns — and few expected any returning shows to repeat last year’s premiere performances. It’s the smaller-rated shows that don’t see any initial DVR boosts that will be first up at the chopping block, though those decisions do seem to be coming later and later each season.
The Big Bang Theory was obviously the top show of the night, averaging a 4.5 rating in the key demo. Following last year’s declines, that’s off by nearly a full ratings point from its debut a year ago — but with an average 17.8 million viewers, TV’s top comedy clearly is not hurting. It certainly helped the night’s new comedy, however. The Big Bang Theory, setting up shop at 8 p.m. until it can move back to Thursdays after CBS’ NFL deal, led into Life in Pieces. That nabbed an enviable 2.7 rating in the key demo and 11.5 million viewers.
CBS’ returning dramas were down, with Scorpion averaging a 2.1 rating with adults 18-49 and NCIS: Los Angeles pulling a 1.2 rating. For sophomore Scorpion, that’s off a full point from its Big Bang-boosted debut a year ago, though it did net 11 million viewers.
Fellow Monday second-year drama Gotham lost roughly half of its 2014 premiere, returning to a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49 and 4.5 million viewers. The silver lining for the heavily time-shifted show is that it was steady with its recent finale. That smaller 8 p.m. showing did not help Minority Report. The new drama stumbled out of the gate with just a 1.1 rating in the key demo and 3.1 million viewers. The rankings of these three new series fall very much in line with where they were expected, but ranking as the lowest-rated Big Four show of the night does not bode well for Minority Report.
ABC is the only Big Four net not launching a new series on Mondays this fall. After a new episode of Dancing With the Stars (1.8 adults), Castle returned to a 1.2 rating in the key demo — down by nearly a point.
And while The CW won’t kick off its own fall schedule this week, the network did have new offerings with lingering summer fare Penn & Teller: Fool Us (0.4 adults), Whose Line Is It Anyway? (0.4 adults) and Significant Mother (0.3 adults).