Early hits and misses on broad­cast TV

Re­turn­ing shows suf­fer; “Man­i­fest” and “FBI” among big­gest win­ners

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Gary Levin

The new broad­cast TV sea­son is only two weeks old, but al­ready there are high­lights, low­lights and un­re­solved ques­tions, and “The Con­ners” hasn’t even pre­miered.

An early take on what’s hap­pen­ing in 2018-19:

“Man­i­fest” des­tiny? NBC’s lat­est stab at a “Lost”-style se­ri­al­ized mys­tery got off to a strong start fol­low­ing “The Voice.” Its solid same-day au­di­ence of 10.4 mil­lion view­ers bal­looned to an im­pres­sive 18.4 mil­lion within a week, and it hand­ily took the crown as the top-rated new show (and pre­miere week’s top show, pe­riod). Can it hold those view­ers? (Early re­sults sug­gest a 20 per­cent drop in Week 2.) Will the show keep up its mo­men­tum? Those are the real mys­ter­ies. CBS’ sturdy pro­ce­du­rals. The Eye net­work’s drama ma­chine keeps crank­ing out hits: “FBI” claimed

14.2 mil­lion view­ers, rank­ing sec­ond among new shows that launched dur­ing pre­miere week, and a re­make of “Mag­num P.I.” scored 12 mil­lion, enough for fifth place with seven-day view­ing counted.

Will nos­tal­gia en­dure? Fox’s “Last Man Stand­ing,” res­cued a year af­ter ABC can­celed the Tim Allen sit­com, and CBS’ “Mur­phy Brown,” which re­turned af­ter a 20-year hia­tus, each nabbed more than 11 mil­lion view­ers in their first week.

Will fans trail off, as they did for “Will & Grace,” or keep com­ing back, as for “Roseanne”? (And will “The Con­ners” even ap­proach the rat­ings of “Roseanne” with­out its star?)

Lil, in­deed. Lil Rel How­ery’s Fox sit­com, “Rel,” was lost among the net­work’s good news for “Last Man” and the re­turn­ing “9-1-1,” which re­mains a solid per­former. For good rea­son: In its reg­u­lar time-slot pre­miere, the series av­er­aged a measly 2.6 mil­lion view­ers (with de­layed view­ing counted), rank­ing last among new broad­cast shows.

Fox up, ABC down. Fox is re­bound­ing, thanks to its new NFL Thurs­day night game, sopho­more hit “9-1-1” and “Last Man,” while ABC has suf­fered

from sharp de­clines at “Danc­ing With the Stars” and last fall’s hit “The Good Doc­tor,” and ranked fourth in pre­miere week. For the first time since 2001, NBC has won the first two weeks of the sea­son among all view­ers, best­ing CBS. Will re­turn­ing shows bleed more

view­ers? Ag­ing series often de­cline, but “The Big Bang The­ory” and “The Good Doc­tor” were each down 5 mil­lion view­ers, and cable smash “The Walk­ing Dead” also is hurt­ing. NBC’s “This Is Us” (down 3.6 mil­lion) still man­aged to rank first among young adults with de­layed view­ing counted, beat­ing “Sun­day Night Foot­ball.”

CRAIG BLANKEN­HORN/NBC/WARNER BROS.

“Man­i­fest’s” same-day au­di­ence of 10.4 mil­lion view­ers bal­looned to 18.4 mil­lion within a week.

EIKE SCHROTER/ABC

ABC’s “The Good Doc­tor” has suf­fered a drop in view­er­ship.

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