Early hits and misses on broadcast TV
Returning shows suffer; “Manifest” and “FBI” among biggest winners
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.”
“Manifest’s” same-day audience of 10.4 million viewers ballooned to 18.4 million within a week.
ABC’s “The Good Doctor” has suffered a drop in viewership.