The start of fall TV brings a mixture of new and returning shows. Here’s a look at the Monday TV ratings for Sept. 23, with Prodigal Son’s debut and more.
Before we get into the details of the TV ratings for the first night of primetime fall TV, let’s be honest about something. Premieres are traditionally down from the previous seasons. This is especially the case when compared to the previous season premiere. So, seeing the downward ticks in numbers is disappointing but not all that surprising.
However, I want to do something a little different this season. While the ratings were certainly down from the previous season premieres, according to TV Series Finale, which collects the Nielsen ratings, I want to compare to the season finales. That’s probably a better indication since seasons tend to see viewing numbers drop off but how many have tuned back in after the intensity of the season finales and the four- to five-month-long break?
More from Ratings
- Thursday TV ratings: Grey’s Anatomy up, Walker Independence down
- Wednesday TV ratings: One Chicago mixed, Kung Fu down (November 9)
- Tuesday TV ratings: The Resident and Monarch down (November 8)
- Monday TV ratings: All American down, Quantum Leap up (Nov. 7)
- Weekend live TV ratings: Fire Country and FBI mixed
Of course, there’s also the series premieres. It’s hard to compare these to anything. Last year’s premieres for the same timeslot don’t really count. After all, FOX aired 9-1-1 in the Monday 9 p.m. timeslot last season (and it was the second episode that started the big earthquake!) but it’s a new series, Prodigal Son, in the spot this season.
To determine the success of a new series (and I’ll do this for all season premieres), it’s important to consider the timeslot for this season and the overall night for the network. This will make this week’s TV ratings posts longer than usual just to break down all the numbers.
TV ratings for all returning shows
Monday saw the premiere of five returning shows, The Voice, 9-1-1, The Neighborhood, The Good Doctor, and Bull. All were down compared to the season premieres last season, but what about the finales?
The Voice unsurprisingly won the night with 8.84 million people tuning in and 1.7 in the demo. The first episode without Adam Levine in one of the judge’s chairs was up in the demo from the Season 15 finale but down by 0.623 million people, about a 6.5% decrease.
9-1-1 Season 3 took the top spot for the scripted dramas, with 6.96 million tuning in and a 1.5 rating in the demo. Both ratings were up from the Season 2 finale, suggesting people need to get answers about Buck and are ready for the big tsunami to hit.
The Neighborhood was another show to return in the 8 p.m. slot, seeing 5.729 million viewers and 0.9 in the rating. That’s not a bad start for the sophomore season, although both were down from the first season finale—8.67% and 11.7% respectively.
With the 9 p.m. timeslot mostly filled with new shows debuting, we jump ahead to 10 p.m. ABC and CBS brought back The Good Doctor and Bull, with both very close in the total viewers (6.61 million and 6.3 million respectively). The Good Doctor won the timeslot in the demo with a 1.0 rating compared to Bull‘s 0.7 rating.
What were the figures like compared to last season’s finales? The Good Doctor lost about 14% of its audience and about 23% of its demo. Bull lost about 12% of its audience but the demo remained the same.
Debut of new shows
Four new shows debuted on Monday, Sept. 23: Bob Hearts Abishola, Prodigal Son, All Rise, and Bluff City Law.
The new CBS comedy Bob Hearts Abishola performed well, seeing an increase in the total audience from its leading, The Neighborhood. It premiered with 5.88 million viewers and 0.8 in the demo.
CBS had further success with its new legal drama, All Rise. That debuted with 6.01 million people, the highest-rated new series in terms of total audience. However, its demo was down from the comedies at 0.7 (matching Bull). With ABC and NBC opting for unscripted programming on Monday’s first two-hour block, All Rise was the lowest-rated in the demo of the timeslot for the big four networks.
Prodigal Son went up against All Rise, and performed the best in the demo for all new shows. It pulled in a 1.0 rating with 4.18 million viewers watching. Considering FOX is the lowest-viewed network out of the big four, these figures are good.
Finally, NBC finished its night with a new show, Bluff City Law. This legal drama was the lowest-viewed in total audience in the timeslot with 4.73 million tuning in. However, it did come in second in the demo with a 0.8 rating.
These are all decent starts for the fall shows. We’ll just have to hope that viewers enjoyed them enough to watch next week.
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Shows with new episodes that didn’t premiere
Dancing With the Stars, Penn & Teller: Fool Us, and Whose Line Is It Anyway all had new episodes, but they weren’t premieres. All three saw dips in the total audiences, and by a large amount—likely linked to the new and returning TV shows on other networks.
Dancing With the Stars saw a 17% drop in total audience figures and a 15% drop in the key demo. Meanwhile, the two CW shows saw total audience drops in the 20-percentage, but both remained steady with their 0.2 demo ratings.
What were you watching on Sept. 23? What do you think about the premiere TV ratings? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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