ABC sneaked Alec Baldwin’s new talk show after the Oscars on Sunday. The hourlong first episode of Sundays with Alec Baldwin drew 3.645 million viewers from 12:30-1:30 AM ET on Sunday night/Monday morning.
That was solid sampling for the talker, whose preview featured guests Jerry Seinfeld and Kate McKinnon. Still, the newcomer, which was met with mixed reviews, could not match the deliveries of Jimmy Kimmel’s post-Academy Awards specials before the late-night host took on emcee duties for the main telecast last year.
Kimmel’s most recent, 11th post-Oscar special in 2016 averaged 5.542 million total viewers with a 12:44 AM start time. It was down from the previous year when Kimmel’s post-Oscars show audience was 5.8M total with a 12:50 AM start. (His all-time high mark was 7 million viewers for the 2014 special).
However, Kimmel’s post-Oscar specials were heavily publicized and featured a parade of A-list movie stars as well as elaborate pre-taped segments, including movie parodies. In contrast, ABC only announced Sundays with Alec Baldwin a couple of days before its premiere, and the show, based on Baldwin’s radio show and podcast Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, is very low key, featuring a conversation of Baldwin and his guest sitting in blue chairs on a plain set, with no bells or whistles.
Plus, Baldwin followed the least watched Oscar telecast in history (26.5 million), while Kimmel’s post-Oscar specials followed higher rated ceremonies, most recently the 2016 one, which drew 34.3 million viewers. (In both cases the post-Oscar specials were separated from the awards telecast by a local newscast).
ABC has ordered eight additional episodes of Sundays with Alec Baldwin to air later this year.