Fox’s Last Man premiered with a 2.3 rating among adults 18-49. While that is tied for the fourth-biggest new comedy series debut this season, the majority of the other series benefited from big lead-ins — Modern Family (No. 1 Black-ish), Big Bang Theory (No. 2 The Odd Couple) and The Voice (tied for No. 4 Marry Me). The only other top comedy opener to build onto its lead-in this season, No. 3 Fresh Off the Boat (2.5), also had a solid Live+Same Day lead-in (The Middle, 2.2). Meanwhile, Last Man On Earth followed Brooklyn Nine-Nine (1.8). What’s more, Last Man On Earth kept its viewers, with the first and second episode both drawing a 2.3 demo rating.
It was Fox’s highest-rated comedy premiere since Brooklyn did a 2.6 on Tuesday in September 2013 and the network’s biggest comedy debut in men 18-49 in nearly three and a half years, since New Girl in September 2011. Last Man was the top program in 18-49 on the commercial broadcast networks last night and led Fox to a nightly victory in the demo.
The rest of Fox’s Sunday comedy lineup rebounded from being pummeled by the SNL 40 special two weeks ago. In its time slot premiere at 7 PM, Bob’s Burgers (1.4) was up +56% from its last airing at 9:30 PM on February 15. The Simpsons (1.8) was up +64%, Brooklyn (1.8) was up +100%.
ABC’s Once Upon A Time (2.2 in 18-49) again returned up from its winter finale (+29% from a 1.7 on December 14). The two-hour series premiere of Secrets & Lies did a so-so 1.5 from 9-11 PM. It was down sharply (-61%) from the debut of drama Resurrection (3.8) in the 9-10 PM hour the same Sunday last year with a similar lead-in (2.3), though Resurrection benefited from a massive marketing campaign. Secrets & Lies did far better than the January premieres of Resurrection (1.1) and Revenge (0.9) in the 9-11 PM time period with a Galavant (2.0) lead-in. Secrets & Lies also had a respectable hold, averaging a 1.5 for each of its four half-hours.
It was tougher sledding for new CBS drama-comedy Battle Creek. In a somewhat of a head-scratcher — despite boasting a big-name star, Josh Duhamel, as one of its leads, as well as Vince Gilligan and David Shore as key auspices and despite garnering solid reviews — Battle Creek opened with a paltry 1.0 in 18-49 at 10 PM. It didn’t get much help from the rest of the CBS Sunday lineup as both Madam Secretary (1.3) and The Good Wife (1.1) returned from hiatus down, by -24% and -21%, respectively.
A lot of the Sunday broadcast series are DVR-friendly and faced AMC juggernaut The Walking Dead and the season finale of Downton Abbey on PBS, so we will have to wait for Live+3 numbers to get a better sense of how some of the series/midseason premieres did.
NBC stayed out of contention with a The Voice repeat and Dateline.