We just did our own 4-Episode Test™, but the ratings got a chance last week to do their own version. And what the numbers showed was that many shows have steadied out to what we affectionately refer to as "the bottom," the levels at which curiosity and freshness wear off and a regular audience shows itself.
But not everyone hit ground, some are still free-falling toward cancellation and making the "bad" and "awful" categories more crowded. And did you know we had two new debuts last week, too? Given how few people watched them, we wouldn't be surprised if you didn't know there were new shows still coming out. Let's dive into the numbers and make some judgments, shall we?
(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
Week 3: 5.79 million, 1.3 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
Week 4: 8.45 million, 2.5 rating
Notes: Full season ordered by NBC! Congratulations to the 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
Week 4: 7.84 million, 1.8 rating
Dr. Ken! Feel good story of the year! In its third week, Dr. Ken added a teeny-tiny bit of audience and stayed steady, so it's still in the "good" section, though everything is relative with ratings. Once again, the Ken Jeong comedy impressed when compared to its competition, and it was the top regularly scheduled program for the night, tying Last Man Standing and Shark Tank for the honors, and it didn't lose any numbers from its previous week despite going up against playoff baseball. A full-season order should happen sometime soon, check your "Dr. Ken" Google Alert for news. ABC is totally kicking relative butt on Friday with this lineup, which gives you a sense of how dire things are on Fridays.
Blindspot continued to be the No. 1 new show of the fall, and even went up a tenth in the 18-to-49 demo. This series could be around a while, so expect some of Jane Doe's tattoos to be a little smaller each week as NBC conserves her body canvas for three or four seasons of skin-art crime solving! And Life in Pieces stayed mostly steady in Week 4 and showed no signs of any danger. CBS will probably order a full season soon, but is it ready to commit to a single-camera comedy? The network seems to be keen on the idea as it looks toward the future. No changes in the "good" section this week, folks.
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
Week 4: 5.23 million, 1.6 rating
Note: ABC picked up Quantico for an almost-full season! Six more episodes coming.
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
Week 4: 5.03 million, 1.4 rating
Note: Fox picked up Rosewood for a full season!
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
Week 4: 8.03 million, 1.4 rating
The good news for Quantico is that the scary three-tenths drop between Week 2 and Week 3 didn't portend future doom, and things stayed steady in Week 4. One more week of steadiness and I'll put this back in the good section, no prob. ABC likes what it has seen, and ordered six more episodes with the possibility of three more. Quantico is totally safe, you guys!
Audience erosion is coming quick for both Rosewood and Limitless, as both felt the sting of their biggest percentage drops in ratings in Week 4. It looks like the Empire connection for Rosewood has already lost its luster; maybe Rosewood should crossover to Empireand diagnose one of Lucious Lyon's murder victims? As for Limitless, yikes! Did the premiere of Chicago Fire (7.37 million/1.8 rating) chip away at the CBS drama's audience this week? It looks like it, I can't explain the big three-tenths drop any other way. It's a shame as it's one of our favorite new shows of the season. If it bounces back next week, it could balloon back up into the "good" section, but this could also represent the beginning of the slide into one-and-done.
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
Week 3: 3.17 million, 1.0 rating
Note: Fox ordered six more scripts of Grandfathered.
Scream Queens (Fox, Tuesday at 9pm)
Week 1: 4.04 million, 1.7 rating
Week 2: 3.46 million, 1.4 rating
Week 3: 2.97 million, 1.2 rating
Week 4: 2.39 million, 1.0 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
Week 4: 4.01 million, 1.1 rating
Code Black (CBS, Wednesday at 10pm)
Week 1: 8.58 million, 1.5 rating
Week 2: 6.83 million, 1.2 rating
Week 3: 6.96 million, 1.2 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
Week 4: 4.34 million, 1.3 rating
What we're seeing here is a lot of shows finding their bottom, where most will live for the rest of the season. Both Fox comedies performed as expected, but Fox decided to order more scripts of each anyway because Fox doesn't have a lot of wiggle room with comedies and has nothing to put in their places (New Girl will probably be paired with Cooper Barret's Guide to Surviving Life in the midseason for what could be a two-hour comedy block). So by virtue of Fox having nothing else, Grandfathered and The Grinder will get a lot more leeway than normal and won't be canceled. Heck, those script orders indicate they may even get full seasons. Sometimes it's good to be on a sinking ship! While we're on Fox, it's the same old story for Scream Queens, which is going to need some serious Live+3 help to come back next season.
Heroes Reborn's plummet slowed this week, indicating that most of the haters have jumped ship and what's left behind are real Heroes fans. I honestly expected the show's bottom to be higher than this, maybe in the 1.3-1.4 range, and I bet NBC did, too. As I said before, don't worry about cancellation. NBC will let this one run out its season. Also finding its bottom was CBS's Code Black, which even increased its audience from last week. That gets it the bump up to the "bad" section! But I can't see CBS giving this a full season.
Meanwhile, The Muppets is taking a trip toward the "awful" section with its continuing fall. Sure the Week 1 numbers weren't sustainable, but this steep of a drop? Ugh. The Muppets was ABC's worst-performing original program this past Tuesday, losing out to the 1.4s of both Fresh Off the Boat and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Muppets is also third in its time period, losing to NCIS and The Flash. This will be an interesting decision for ABC, but I figure ABC will do what it can to keep it around at least for this season because family-friendly mainstream brands are gold.
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
Week 4: 2.05 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
Week 4: 3.50 million, 0.9 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
Week 4: 3.99 million, 0.7 rating
NEW Truth Be Told (NBC, Friday at 8:30pm)
Week 1: 2.64 million, 0.7 rating
NEW Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW, Monday at 8pm)
Week 1: 0.9 million, 0.3 rating
Things are getting crowded down here in the "awful" section! Everyone welcome The Player down to the dumps, with a 0.7 rating matching Minority Report for the lowest rating for a new drama. I tried to keep The Player in just the "bad" section for as long as I could, but this week's numbers were too hard to spin. As for Minority Report, steadying out at 0.7 is actually kind of a victory, but it will fade away after its 10 episodes air. Better get to writing that series finale.
Blood & Oil didn't take the drop I thought it would in Week 4, in fact, it rose! Congratulations, Blood & Oil! Unfortunately, I'm not buying it as anything but an anomaly. This is still a black hole in ABC's Sunday nights between Once Upon a Timeand Quantico, but maybe it works well as a sacrificial lamb against The Walking Dead and it won't get canceled. Networks have to adjust their behavior with all this #PeakTV going on, and sending Don Johnson out against zombies isn't actually a bad idea now that I think about it.
Just when you thought the fall season was done pooping out new shows, along comes a few stragglers. And along comes an argument for NOT premiering a new show this late in the season. NBC's Truth Be Told had an expected awful debut, and did about half of what Friday night (relative) juggernaut Dr. Ken did in the same time period. Following Undateable, the Mark-Paul Gosselaar sitcom about keeping it real (talk) depressed, losing a few tenths and about half a million viewers. The bad news for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: a 0.3. The good news: That's only a tenth off of what critically acclaimed Jane the Virgin did for its second-season premiere an hour later, and a repeat on Friday also did a 0.3. But with all the success The CW is having with its genre fare, you'd think that the network only has room for one critical darling, and that'll be Jane. WEST COVINAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
What do you make of the numbers from Week 4 of the fall season?