While the average delivery of viewers in the sought-after 18-to-49 demo is down 15 percent compared to the year-ago period, shows like NBC’s “This Is Us” and ABC’s new medical drama “The Good Doctor” have flipped the script on the ratings narrative for the 2017-18 broadcast season, reports AdAge.
Last season’s lone unequivocal breakout hit, “This Is Us” through the first four episodes of its sophomore run is averaging 11.4 million viewers and a 3.2 live-plus-same-day rating, which works out to 4.12 million adults 18 to 49. That marks a 19 percent improvement over the show’s year-ago demo deliveries and establishes “This Is Us” as broadcast TV’s highest-rated drama series.
If year-over-year growth is almost unheard of in today’s fragmented media universe — even Fox’s “Empire,” which in the winter of 2015 enjoyed a rare string of weekly ratings gains, experienced year-to-year declines in its sophomore season — NBC’s enthusiasm for “This Is Us” has been contagious.
As “This Is Us” continues to be the talk of both Madison Avenue and the office water cooler, it is by no means the only drama to draw a crowd thus far in the young season. ABC appears to have solved one of its trickier time slot dilemmas with “The Good Doctor,” which is currently drawing a demo that is two-and-a-half times the size of that which tuned in for last season’s Monday 10 p.m. occupant “Conviction.” Through its first four episodes, “The Good Doctor” is averaging a 2.1 in the demo, or around 2.71 million adults 18 to 49. By comparison, the first four hours of “Conviction” eked out a meager 0.8 rating, good for around 1 million members of the sub-50 crowd.
According to AdAge, dramas aren’t the only programs to find an audience this season, as two sitcoms have put up big numbers in the early going. While the ratings for CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” prequel/spinoff “Young Sheldon” come front-loaded with an asterisk (the show has aired only once, and outside of its regular time slot), it’s hard to argue with the results of that special preview. Leading out of its comedic precursor on Monday, Sept. 25, “Young Sheldon” bowed to a massive 17.2 million viewers and a 5.5 rating in CBS’s target demo. Those 6.64 million adults 25-54 who tuned in for the show’s opening salvo represents a retention of 95 percent of the 7 million members of the demo who’d been watching “Big Bang” in the previous half-hour.
“Young Sheldon” settles into its Thursday 8:30 p.m. slot on Nov. 2, following CBS’s stewardship of its five-game “Thursday Night Football” package.