Oh boy. It’s hard to imagine a worse ratings start for a new series than the 1.0 adults 18-49 fast national and 2.3 million viewers that Fox’s Mulaney pulled in at 9:30 PM last night. It is the lowest-rated new series debut so far this fall, pushing the sitcom starring standup comic John Mulaney to the top ranks of likely early cancellations. The newbie held onto half of its Family Guy lead-in (1.9 in 18-49) as the animated veteran fell sharply, by -58%, from its heavily hyped hourlong The Simpsons crossover episode last week.
The other premiere last night was also on Fox, the season opener of Bob’s Burgers, which logged a 1.4 at 7:30 PM, down -36% from last fall’s premiere, which aired at 8:30 PM following a football-boosted Simpsons and up +56% from the season finale, which aired in the 7 PM slot.
Aside from the two Fox premieres, there is little hard data in the Sunday fast nationals worth analyzing. NBC’s fast nationals are always unreliable because it has the live Sunday Night Football. Fox and CBS alternate carrying the late-afternoon NFL game so either their numbers are scrambled because of a late primetime start, which often happens to CBS, or the huge discrepancy in lead-ins between Sunday with and without an afternoon football game make week-to-week comparisons irrelevant. Add to that Nielsen’s ABC debacle, with the network’s fast nationals regularly undercounted, leading to an unprecedented 0.3 upward adjustments for both Once Upon A Time and Resurrection (plus a tenth for Revenge) last Sunday, and there is little we can say with certainty about last night’s numbers.
That said, here are the numbers. Because of the big discrepancy with the finals, I’ll only compare ABC fast nationals to fast nationals. After a big season premiere, which introduced the new Frozen storyline, Once Upon A Time (3.1) was down 9%. Resurrection (1.8) was down 18%. Revenge (1.3) was down 10%.
Fox’s The Simpsons (2.0) was down -49% from last Sunday when it had both a football lead-in and the much talked about episode that killed off a character. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (1.6) mirrored the big drop of its lead-in, down -38%
CBS’ numbers are scrambled because the Jets-Chargers game pushed primetime to 7:40 PM in the state of New York as well as Hartford, CT. In the rest of the East Coast and Central states, primetime started at 7:30 PM as it did in the West.
The football boost helped Madam Secretary rebound from the 30% Week 2 drop in adults 18-49. From 8:30-9:30 PM, the new drama (12.2 million, 1.7 in 18-49) is running up 21% in 18-49 from last week and slightly down in total viewers. From 9:30-10:30 PM, The Good Wife (10.5 million, 1.4) is a tenth ahead in the demo from last week. At 10:30 PM, CSI (1.3) held steady with last week’s season premiere despite bleeding heavily into late night.Yet another lopsided win on Sunday Night Football. In the time-adjusted metered markets, last night’s New England Patriots-Cincinnati Bengals game (the Patriots won, 43-17) averaged a 12.8 household rating from 8:30-11 PM ET. That was down -7% from last week’s 24-0 New Orleans Saints-Dallas Cowboys blowout but up +10% versus last year’s Sunday Night Football week-five game (Texans-49ers). NBC is projected to win the night in 18-49 and total viewers.