Third time's the charm, unless you are Blood & Oil, in which case the third time is the HARM. I can't get enough of these ratings for new shows, guys! So let's continue to look at what happened with these fascinating digits as we count down the death of broadcast television, and more immediately, the crop of new fall shows trying to fight the inevitable.
It wasn't all horrible, of course. There was some upward movement and some consistency with other series, and they're looking like safe bets for full-season orders, and maybe second seasons as well. We looked at the first round of numbers from premiere week and the second round last week, so we're getting a good idea of what's working and what's not. Let's dive face first into the math!
(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.)
Dr. Ken (ABC, Friday at 8:30pm)
Week 1: 6.67 million viewers, 1.4 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic
Week 2: 5.78 million, 1.3 rating
Limitless (CBS, Tuesday at 10pm)
Week 1: 9.86 million, 1.9 rating
Week 2: 9.73 million, 1.9 rating
Week 3: 9.57 million, 1.7 rating
Blindspot (NBC, Monday at 10pm)
Week 1: 10.61 million, 3.1 rating
Week 2: 9.11 million, 2.6 rating
Week 3: 9.06 million, 2.4 rating
Notes: Full season ordered by NBC! Congratulations lady with a bunch of tattoos!
Life in Pieces (CBS, Monday at 8:30pm)
Week 1: 11.28 million, 2.6 rating
Week 2: 8.71 million, 1.9 rating
Week 3: 8.91 million, 1.9 rating
No, you are not losing your mind, that's Dr. Ken up there in the "good" section two weeks in a row. A 1.3 rating would've been a fatal diagnosis years ago, but here? On a Friday night? When all of network TV is visibly dying right before our eyes? It's good! It was good enough to lead scripted programming on Friday again (matching its lead-in Last Man Standing), and the most important factor is that it only lost a tenth of a point from its impressive (but incredibly unfunny) debut. ABC is just looking for something to not totally crater here, and it got a solid rock out of its crackpot doc for two weeks so far.
Limitless and Blindspot both fell two tenths, but look at that audience retention: both kept almost all of the viewers from the week before, a real feat from Week 2 to Week 3 for any show. Maybe a lot of their audiences just had 50th birthdays and no longer qualify for the prized 18-to-49 demo, maybe both shows have found dedicated followers. NBC already ordered a full season of Blindspot, but given the CBS factor (numbers are all relative, and CBS's position at number one means it takes more to impress), it'll probably be a bit longer until CBS makes a decision on Limitless. But given its "cool" factor and its association with Bradley Cooper, things look good. I guess slapping a wacko concept over a regular procedural can work some times.
This week's success story belongs to Life in Pieces, which actually improved week-to-week and moved from the "decent" section to the penthouse! Maybe Life in Pieces has hit its stride as the successor to Modern Family, maybe Monday's edition of Monday Night Football (Seahawks and Lions, yawn) was a dud. As long as this show is behind The Big Bang Theory and Tom Brady isn't on MNF, it'll be fine.
Quantico (ABC, Sunday at 10pm)
Week 1: 7.10 million, 1.9 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic
Week 2: 6.94 million, 1.9 rating
Week 3: 5.67 million, 1.6 rating
Rosewood (Fox, Wednesday at 8pm)
Week 1: 7.54 million, 2.4 rating
Week 2: 6.23 million, 2.0 rating
Week 3: 5.75 million, 1.8 rating
The Muppets (ABC, Tuesday at 8pm)
Week 1: 9.01 million, 2.9 rating
Week 2: 5.78 million, 2.0 rating
Week 3: 4.85 million, 1.7 rating
Oh it seems like it was just last week that I was ready to anoint Quantico as the season's new TV crack and the best chance at the season's surprise hit. But a noticeable drop from Week 2 to 3—after such a great hold in Week 2—put a damper on that. Both stats were worryingly down, dropping Quantico from the "good" category to just plain decent. Can we blame the 90-minute premiere of The Walking Dead that crept into its time slot? Maybe. Let's see if Quantico bounces back next week when TWD returns to hourlong affairs. Does ABC regret moving Quantico to Sunday nights behind Blood & Oil yet? If ABC is smart, it moves Quantico somewhere else (maybe back to Tuesdays, where ABC has been airing Quantico repeats?) and hopes the audience follows, and lets Wicked City shrivel and die on Sundays, because that show will bomb no matter where it is (personal opinion).
Rosewood is still chilling and makes a strong argument for getting into the "good" section, but it's not there yet. It'll continue to do okay for a while, but I'm not sure it will do well enough for Fox to invest in a second season. Full season? Sure. It isn't hurting anyone.
After a near-death tumble between its premiere and second episode, The Muppetsslammed on the brakes just before careening off the edge, and this is probably the ratings range we should have expected in the first place. Its premiere generated a lot of interest and fantastic numbers, but the curiosity is over and now we're in realty. And that reality is a totally adequate weekly performance. Interesting note: The Muppets is already doing worse than Fresh Off the Boat (1.8 rating, also 4.85 million viewers in Week 3).
Grandfathered (Fox, Tuesday at 8pm)
Week 1: 5.34 million viewers, 1.5 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic
Week 2: 3.57 million, 1.2 rating
The Grinder (Fox, Tuesday at 8:30pm)
Week 1: 4.98 million, 1.5 rating
Week 2: 3.15 million, 1.0 rating
Scream Queens (Fox, Tuesday at 8pm)
Week 1: 4.04 million, 1.7 rating
Week 2: 3.46 million, 1.4 rating
Week 3: 2.97 million, 1.2 rating
Heroes Reborn (NBC, Thursday at 8pm)
Week 1: 6.09 million, 2.0 rating
Week 2: 5.00 million, 1.6 rating
Week 3: 4.41 million, 1.2 rating
The Player (NBC, Thursday at 10pm)
Week 1: 4.68 million, 1.2 rating
Week 2: 4.58 million, 1.0 rating
Week 3: 4.43 million, 0.9 rating
Fox's entire Tuesday night sits here in the bad section, with its new comedies joining the massive (live) ratings disappointment that is Scream Queens. Just by looking at the numbers, it would appear that Grandfathered is in a better position than The Grinder, but these are both headed in the same direction and Grandfathered only benefits from being on first. Both were last in their time slots, even losing to The CW's The Flash, not that losing to The CW is as embarrassing as it once was. Personal note: I hope Fox doesn't cancel The Grinder, as I'm enjoying it a lot so far. Scream Queens can only point to its inflated DVR numbers, but this was a show that Fox relied on for a jolt in the live ratings given its structure of killing off major characters every week, which was supposed to get people talking. The only thing dying off is its audience. The DVR numbers would have to be VERY good for Fox to consider a second season (though given the rest of its shows, maybe more Scream Queens wouldn't be such a bad idea).
Another 0.4 drop for Heroes Reborn, UH-OH! A rating below 1.0 by its fourth episode would be devastating for it and NBC, but that's where it's headed. No other show with three weeks' of data under its belt is dropping this steadily fast (though Blood & Oil is showing impressive acceleration). As I've said before, as a "limited event," Heroes Rebornis in no danger of getting canceled, but it sure as heck isn't getting a second season.
The Player probably deserves to drop into the "bad" section, but I'm actually impressed that it only dropped one tenth of a point in the ratings and barely lost any of its audience between Episodes 2 and 3. I'm still keeping an eye on this one considering it's only been behind The Blacklist for two weeks, which may account for its relative steadiness. Plus, this show featured a freefall fistfight between two skydivers, only one of whom had a parachute, so I'm biased.
Minority Report (Fox, Monday at 9pm)
Week 1: 3.10 million viewers, 1.1 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic
Week 2: 2.56 million, 0.9 rating
Week 3: 2.07 million, 0.7 rating
Note: Fox cut Minority Report's episode count from 13 to 10.
Blood & Oil (ABC, Sunday at 9pm)
Week 1: 6.3 million, 1.4 rating
Week 2: 5.19 million, 1.2 rating
Week 3: 3.82 million, 0.8 rating
Code Black (CBS, Wednesday at 10pm)
Week 1: 8.58 million, 1.5 rating
Week 2: 6.83 million, 1.2 rating
Hey, lookie here! Minority Report —which I've already declared canceled and had its episode count cut from 13 to 10—has some company in the cancellation waiting room. And by next week, it might hand off its crown as the most obvious failure of the fall season. Thank you, Blood & Oil! A 33 percent drop for the ABC oil boom soap was the biggest hit any new show took this week (tied with The Grinder), and it seems to be accelerating into the ground at a greater speed as it goes along, as though it's drilling for black gold. This show is a goner, and should be canceled in the next few weeks. ABC has a slick conundrum on their hands; does it swap Blood & Oil's 9pm slot with Quantico's 10pm slot to help save a show that still has a chance at survival? But doing so would pit Quantico against The Walking Dead. Sure-fire solution: add zombies to Blood & Oiland rename it Blood, Oil, & Brains.
Someone call 911 for Code Black, because it's dying. A 1.2 rating on CBS does not keep the lights on. Can we officially call the medical drama a dead genre yet? (Good luck, Chicago Med.)
What do you make of the numbers from Week 3 of the fall season?