Snapshot, updated with final ratings: New series premieres: NBC’s New Amsterdam (1.8 Live+same day rating in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers after downward adjustment because of This Is Us overrun), CBS’ FBI (1.3, 10.1 million); Returning series premieres: NCIS: New Orleans even, all others down double-digits from last fall, including Dancing with the Stars, which hit new series lows.
NBC had a second successful fall drama launch last night with New Amsterdam, part of its new 9-11 PM tearjerker Tuesday block. The network did not shy away from the similar pulling-on-your-heartstrings nature of both shows, heavily promoting the 10 PM medical drama during the 9 PM Season 2 premiere of This Is Us, including a segment about a test screening of New Amsterdam to This Is Us fans claiming that the vast majority of them loved the new show.
It worked. New Amsterdam pulled a 1.8 adults 18-49 Live+Same day rating and 8.4 million viewers behind This Is Us’ 3.0 and 10.5 million. (Because of a minute overrun of This Is Us, New Amsterdam was adjusted down by a tenth and This Is Us adjusted up by a tenth from the fast nationals.) New Amsterdam‘s lead-in retention, 60%, was far better than the 41% for the debut of Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders behind the Season 2 premiere of This Is Us last fall. New Amsterdam tied NBC’s best in-season regular-program demo L+SD rating in the time slot in two years. Its performance comes with an asterisk as it faced atypical competition with a low-rated 20/20 special on ABC vs. the new Nathan Fillion dramedy The Rookie, which won’t debut until next month.
This Is Us was down from its huge Season 2 opener (3.9), which revealed the first big clue about how Jack died. Still, This Is Us was above its series premiere, Season 2 average (excluding the blockbuster post-Super Bowl episode) and posted its best regular telecast result since Oct 3, 2017. With CBS’ The Big Bang Theory off to a modest final season ratings start by its high standards (2.5 in 18-49 L+SD), This Is Us is poised to top premiere week as the highest-rated entertainment telecast.
Likely factoring into This Is Us‘ year-to-year slip was the smaller lead-in from The Voice (2.2, 9.9 million after upward adjustment in the final), which is virtually mirroring its performance from last fall: down double-digits year-to-year (-19% vs. the show’s fall 2017 Tuesday premiere) but up two tenths from the Monday season opener.
NBC swept every hour of primetime in 18-49, winning a second consecutive night in the demo.
CBS introduced its new acronym crime procedural Tuesday lineup with NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans flanking newbie FBI.
Dick Wolf’s FBI debuted to a 1.3 ratings in adults 18-49 and 10.1 million viewers behind the 16th season premiere of NCIS (1.4, down 13% from last fall’s opener). With 12.6 million, the veteran again was the most watched program of the night. FBI matched the Season 2 premiere in the 9 PM slot of Bull, which faced a higher rated This Is Us in the hour, and was on par (up a tenth) from Bull‘s Season 2 average. While a respectable performance, like with CBS’ Magnum P.I. on Monday, expectations likely were higher for FBI given its pedigree. In its series debut in the slot two years ago against the This Is Us series premiere, Bull built on its NCIS lead-in in the fast nationals, pulling even in the finals.
Still, FBI seems to have fit seemingness into CBS’ Tuesday lineup, helping NCIS: New Orleans (1.0, 9.0 million) to match its season premiere last fall in the demo after a -29% 2016-to-2017 drop. In total viewers, NCIS: New Orleans even improved upon last fall’s opener by a fraction. CBS won Tuesday night in total viewers.
Lethal Weapon shakeup? What shakeup? After a headline-making behind-the-scenes drama on the reboot of the hit film franchise, with Seann William Scott replacing original co-lead Clayne Crawford, Fox’s Lethal Weapon opened its third season the way it ended its second one, logging a 0.8 in 18-49 for the premiere to match the Season 2 finale. (Its audience was 3.4 million.) That was down 33% from Lethal Weapon‘s Season 2 premiere, also on Tuesday in the 8 PM hour.
The action dramedy has shifted to 9 PM as Fox rebranded the night, pulling the comedy block in favor of a male-skewing lineup of The Gifted and Lethal Weapon. The former opened its second season with a 0.9 in 18-49 and 2.6 million viewers, down 40% in the demo from its series debut on Monday last fall and off by a tenth from the L+SD Season 1 finale and season average. After an eight-month break and a move to a new night, fans of the Marvel universe series may need time to find it. And a significant portion of its viewing come from delayed/online viewing anyway.
After a low season ratings start on Monday with a celebrity cast lacking on star power (1.0 in 18-49, 7.7 million) , ABC’s Dancing With the Stars fell under the 1.0 L+SD demo mark last night, posting series lows of a 0.9 in the demo and 6.6 million viewers. The network aired a Rookie-themed 20/20 special at 10 PM last night ahead of the Rookie debut in the hour on Oct. 16.