Snapshot updated with Live+Same Day finals: New series premiere: The CW’s Dynasty (1.3 million viewers, 0.3 in 18-49 with a downward adjustment); Returning series premiere: the CW’s Riverdale (2.3 million, +67%; 0.8, +60%)
UPDATED: Maybe it was Riverdale‘s major cliffhanger in the May finale or fans binging Season 1 of the soapy drama on Netflix over the summer, but the Archie Comics-inspired series had a big return from hiatus. As a new 8 PM anchor with no lead-in, Riverdale‘s second-season opener drew a series-high 2.3 million viewers and a 0.8 adult 18-49 and 18-34 ratings. It posted massive gains vs. the so-so series debut in the Thursday 9 PM slot in January, up 67% in viewers, 60% in 18-49, 100% in 18-34, and 467% in teens (1.7), leading the CW to a time-period win in teens and posting the CW’s highest-rated telecast in the teen demo in five years, since The Vampire Diaries on October 11, 2012. The Riverdale premiere also was up double-digits from the Season 1 averages and triple digits from the finale, and it topped the season opener of Arrow in the hour last fall (1.9 million, 0.7) as well as its season average.
Last spring, the CW gave Riverdale an early renewal despite soft linear ratings based on the series’ creative as well as strong delayed viewing and on-demand showing (Season 1 averaged a 113% Live+7 lift). We will see whether the big Live+SD turnout for the Season 2 opener was an anomaly as fans were eager to see the finale cliffhanger resolution or the multi-platform following for the show has reached a critical mass and is translating to linear growth.
Coming out of Riverdale, the CW’s highest-profile new fall series, Dynasty, had a relatively muted debut (1.3 million viewers, 0.3 in 18-49 after a downward adjustment in the finals) holding onto less than half of its Riverdale lead-in. The reboot of the classic soap was down from Riverdale‘s series debut, which had a smaller Supernatural lead-in. Dynasty was even with the debut in the Wednesday 9 PM slot of the short-lived Frequency last fall, which too had a smaller lead-in.
Riverdale may have pulled away young viewers from ABC’s 8-9 PM comedies, which suffered the biggest week-to-week drops last night (and, given their female skew are not that likely to have been impacted by the big baseball game as some other broadcast series last night may have). The Goldbergs (1.4 in 18-49, 5.6 million) and Speechless (1.1, 4.3 million) each slipped 0.2 from last week in the demo. (UPDATE: The Goldbergs ticked up to a 1.5 in the finals.) Modern Family (1.8, 6.2 million) is currently running a tenth off.
While no broadcast series crossed the 2.0 L+SD 18-49 rating for a second Wednesday in a row, many at least were able to stem the declines that affected virtually every show last week.
ABC’s American Housewife (1.4, 5 million) and Designated Survivor (0.9, 4.6 million) were steady. Ditto for the entire CBS drama lineup, including newbie SEAL Team (1.2, 7.88), which has stabilized. After ranking as the most watched program on the night in its first two airings, the military drama is currently a close second behind lead-in Survivor (1.6, 7.92 million). (UPDATE: In the finals, SEAL Team and Survivor tied with 8.02 million viewers, keeping SEAL Team‘s streak of No.1 finishes on the night intact. Survivor was adjusted up in the demo to 1.7) . At 10 PM, Criminal Minds (1.1, 5.9 million) also was steady-ish after hitting new lows the last two weeks. It tied last week’s demo low but slipped to a new L+SD low in total viewers,
Fox’s Empire (1.0.9, 5.9 million) inched up a tenth from last week in the demo after an upward +0.1 adjustment in the finals.e Star (1.5, 4.6 million) also had an encouraging 0.1 uptick in the demo as it may be getting its sea legs in the post-Empire slot with more viewers discovering it.
At NBC, Blacklist (1.0 after upward adjustment, 5.8 million) was even with last week while SVU (1.2, 5.7 million) dipped a tenth. Chicago PD (1.2, 6 million) was steady.
Fox topped the night in 18-49, CBS in total viewers.