Sorry to break the news to you, but your fandom only counts for so much when it comes to keeping a television show around. What really matters are these almost arbitrary numbers taken from an incredibly small sample size of people who may or may not accurately relay their viewing habits to a data-driven research corporation that's using a system that is about two decades out of date. Yep, Nielsen ratings.
We looked at the first round of numbers from Premiere Week last week, but with more premieres happening since that piece aired and all-important second episodes also airing, it's back to the numbers to extrapolate some sort of trend and whip up some quick takes on what's doing well and what isn't doing well. And you will be surprised to see the names of shows in the "doing just fine" category, I promise you! Let's get to it.
(All data taken from the good people at TV By the Numbers. All data is final except for Sunday's, which wasn't available as of press time.)
Note: An asterisk (*) denotes a series in its second week. All others are premieres.
Dr. Ken (ABC, Friday at 8:30pm) 6.67 million viewers, 1.4 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic
* Quantico (ABC, Sunday at 10pm) 6.94 million, 1.9 rating / premiered with 7.1 million, 1.9 rating
* Limitless (CBS, Tuesday at 10pm) 9.73 million, 1.9 rating / premiered with 9.86 million, 1.9 rating
* Blindspot (NBC, Monday at 10pm) 9.11 million viewers, 2.6 rating / premiered with 10.61 million, 3.1 rating
What a world we live in where Dr. Ken is the biggest success story in Week 2 of the fall season! Yeah those numbers aren't a reason to drop the confetti, but a 1.4 rating was good enough to make Dr. Ken the highest-rated scripted program of the night, losing out only to Shark Tank's 1.7 but beating everything else, including improving on its Last Man Standing lead-in, The Amazing Race, Hawaii Five-0, and Blue Bloods. A lot of Friday's programming was repeats, but still, that's an impressive debut for an ABC multi-cam comedy that was absolutely trashed in reviews (a paltry 26 score on Metacritic, andone of TV.com's five worst pilots of the fall). There's no way it holds, though, right?
The other big stories of the week come from a pair of shows that held their premiere numbers, something that is increasingly difficult to do and is an early sign of a hit in the making. Quantico and Limitless both repeated their 1.9 performances and only lost a trickle of their total audiences, this coming in the middle of OMG THERE IS SO MUCH TV OUT THERE. Even more impressive? Both shows performed better in the tough-as-balls 10pm hour than their 9pm lead-ins Blood & Oil (1.2) and NCIS: New Orleans (1.7), indicating that viewers are flocking specifically to them instead of out of network loyalty. I expected this from Quantico, but not Limitless. And even though Blindspot dropped half a point, a 2.6 is great and we should see this series steady out at/around a 2.0, something NBC won't complain about.
Grandfathered (Fox, Tuesday at 8pm) 5.34 million viewers, 1.5 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic
The Grinder (Fox, Tuesday at 8:30pm) 4.98 million, 1.5 rating
* Life in Pieces (CBS, Monday at 8:30pm) 8.71 million, 1.9 rating / premiered with 11.28 million, 2.6 rating
* Rosewood (Fox, Wednesday at 8pm) 6.23 million, 2.0 rating / premiered with 7.54 million, 2.4 rating
Perfectly okay debuts for Fox's new comedy block of older guys you recognize on a night that's dominated by The Voice and NCIS. Anything above a 1.5 would have been too optimistic of a prediction, so I would guess Fox is happy enough with those numbers, especially since it had Utopia stink up the joint with 2.48 million/0.9 last season in the same time slot. This was a no-pressure situation for all involved as all anyone wanted to do was exorcise the demons of that terrible, awful, crummy reality show and the smoldering crater it left in Fox's schedule, wallet, and ego. However, New Girl notched a 1.7 rating on Tuesday last year (at 9pm) with a smaller audience (3 million), so Stamos and Lowe have some work to do. (Though to be fair, New Girl aired a week earlier against less competition and fell to a 1.3 in Week 2.)
There was some expected big-time tumbling from Life in Pieces, which had a steep seven-tenths drop from its premiere. But CBS's concern is less on Life in Pieces and more on its lead-in The Big Bang Theory, which went from a 4.5 rating for its premiere to a 3.6 in Week 2. Has the comedy juggernaut lost its luster? If TBBT fails, a lot of CBS's schedule is in trouble. And Rosewood did pretty well in its second week, but some better retention would have landed it in the "good" category.
Code Black (CBS, Wednesday at 10pm) 8.58 million viewers, 1.5 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic
* The Muppets (ABC, Tuesday at 8pm) 5.78 million, 2.0 rating / premiered with 9.01 million, 2.9 rating
* Scream Queens (Fox, Tuesday at 8pm) 3.46 million, 1.4 rating / premiered with 4.04 million, 1.7 rating
* Heroes Reborn (NBC, Thursday at 8pm) 5.00 million, 1.6 rating / premiered with 6.09 million, 2.0 rating
* The Player (NBC, Thursday at 10pm) 4.58 million, 1.0 rating / premiered with 4.68 million, 1.2 rating
* Blood & Oil (ABC, Sunday at 9pm) 5.19 million, 1.2 rating / premiered with 6.3 million, 1.4 rating
Welcome to the plight of most new shows, where the biggest chunk of shows already land in the "bad" category in the second week of fall television. New medical drama Code Black was positively bland in its debut, beating Nashville (1.1) but losing to Chicago P.D.(1.7) in the 10pm hour on Wednesday. In fact, for the night, the only other show it beat was The Mysteries of Laura, and no one will ever brag about that. Don't expect this to stick around much longer.
The Muppets had the biggest drop of any new show, losing almost an entire ratings point and over a third of its audience. Sound the alarm and keep a close eye on this one, another big drop would spell doom. The good news: DVR Live+3 numbers bumped the premiere up to a 3.8 rating! But where did all those people go in Week 2? Scream Queenscontinued to disappoint with live-viewing but did have one of the biggest bumps for its premiere with Live+3 numbers added (all the way up to a 2.7). And Heroes Reborn had a similar week, losing a fifth of its ratings audience, but also getting the great news that the premiere jumped from a 2.0 to a 3.1 rating with Live+3 data included. But again, where were those people for live-viewing in Week 2? Young kids watch TV on their own time like a bunch of monsters, I guess! The Player and Blood & Oil took another step towards cancellation with small drops. Both are important puzzle pieces for their networks' schedules, so it will be interesting to see how patient ABC and NBC are with them.
* Minority Report (Fox, Monday at 9pm) 2.56 million viewers, 0.9 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic / premiered with 3.10 million, 1.1 rating
We have our first fractional rating for a new show, and once again Minority Report is the only "awful" performer here, though cases can be made for The Player and Blood & Oil. How long until Minority Report is axed for Empire repeats or something like Lucifer? Not soon enough; Minority Report is doing nothing for the network.
What do you make of the numbers from Week 2 of the fall season?