In what is the calm before the storm of fall premieres that will hit the small screen next week, Thursday saw a demo win for Fox as Gotham (1.0/4) returned and The Orville (1.1/4) debuted in its regular slot.
Moving from its long-held Monday perch to Thursday, the fourth season of the Batman backstory series opened down double digits from its Season 3 opener of September 19, 2016. Declining 17% among adults 18-49 from the fast affiliates of last year’s debut, Gotham was in line with last year’s season averages and could see an adjustment, as its Season 3 premiere did in the final numbers.
With that in mind, it’s a bit of a mixed bag for The Orville. Clearly, the Seth MacFarlane-created and -starring sci-fi series was going to take a hit once it was deprived of the NFL lead-ins that opened its first two episodes. And it did, with last night’s Orville falling a hard 50% in the demo from the final numbers of September 17 show, which started at 8:48 PM ET due to NFL overruns.
That has to hurt for Fox, who have made the show a high priority. However, at the same time, The Orville did rise 10% among the 18-49 from its lead-in. Also, Live+3 viewing for the MacFarlane series’ September 17 airing drew a 2.8/9, the first non-sport show to beat the Emmys since 1997 — that’s a chest beater for Fox.
With Fox’s night-wining 1.1/4 rating, the other takeaway is that last night was the best Thursday the network has had since November 12, 2015. Fox was third in viewers with 3.59 million to encore-filled NBC’s 3.73 million and CBS’ 4.99 million.
No surprise with a Thursday packed with The Big Bang Theory and Mom repeats, with the 8 PM airing of the science geek comedy pulling in 7.12 million, CBS’ only original of the night was Zoo (0.5/2). Even with last week, the Season 3 finale of the animal uprising drama was down 29% from its two-hour Season 2 ender of September 6 last year.
There was a slight silver lining in Zoo’s S3 conclusion – with 2.91 million viewers, Zoo was up 13% over its September 14 show to hit its best audience numbers since July 13, when it had a Big Brother as a lead-in.
On the CW, Penn & Teller: Fool Us (0.4/2) and Whose Line Is It Anyway? (0.4/1) were even and up a tenth from last week respectively.
ABC and NBC were all encores last night.