Snapshot, updated with finals: New series 2nd week: CBS’ Kevin Can Wait (2.7 in 18-49, 10.6 million vs. 2.6, 11.2 in Week 2), all returning 8-9 PM series hold well; NBC’s debate coverage topped the night in 18-49 (5.8 rating) and total viewers (18.2 million).
It was an atypical second Monday of the fall season, with the first presidential debate taking over two-thirds of primetime on the broadcast networks against Monday Night Football on ESPN. As expected, metered market results indicate a big viewer turnout for the overly hyped face-off between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In the non-time-adjusted fast nationals, the 9-10:30 PM ET debate drew 45.1 million viewers on the four broadcast networks alone, with NBC leading the pack (5.4 in 18-49, 16.6 million viewers). We will continue to update debate ratings as more data comes in. Meanwhile, here is how the broadcasters’ 8-9 PM hour and ESPN’s MNF performed.
MNF was hit hard by the debate, which had been promoted like a big boxing match. The Falcons’ 45-32 win over the Saints drew a 5.7 overnight rating, a season low, down 31% from last week’s Eagles-Bears game and down 36% from Chiefs-Packers in Week 3 last year. It could be an all-time low for the MNF franchise.
The last time MNF faced a presidential debate in 2012, when it also aired against Game 7 of the MLB National League Championship Series; the football franchise scored 7.3 overnight rating for Lions-Bears.
Maybe it was viewers tuning in early in anticipation of the debate, but all broadcast shows in the 8 PM hour showed great Week 2 retention.
CBS’ new comedy Kevin Can Wait held onto virtually all of its premiere viewership (11.2 million) and ticked up a tenth in the demo. Even if it’s adjusted down in the finals (which it was not last week), this is a great Week 2 showing for the new Kevin James sitcom. UPDATE: Kevin Can Wait maintained its 2.7 L+SD rating in the finals. Its lead-in, The Big Bang Theory (3.5 in 18-49, 14.1 million), was off just by a fraction from the fast nationals for the season premiere last Monday (3.6, 15.4 million). The veteran comedy always gets adjusted up in the finals; last week it went up to 3.6 in the demo. UPDATE: Big Bang dod it again, inching up to a 3.6 in the finals.
ABC’s Dancing with the Stars (1.8 in 18-49, 10.7 million) and NBC’s The Voice (3.3, 12.1 million) benefited from abbreviated airings following the 100-minute debate.
Dancing ticked up a tenth in the demo vs. last Monday’s two-hour show and a fraction in total viewers, while The Voice matched its ratings performance from 8-10 PM last week. Also on par with last week’s season premiere was Fox’s Gotham (1.2, 3.7 million vs. 1.2, 3.8 million). UPDATE: The Voice was adjusted down in the finals to 3.2.
NBC is expected to win Monday in 18-49 and total viewers for a second straight week.