Fox’s The Masked Singer came back in a new time slot and the same top ratings spot — handily winning Premiere Wednesday in the adults 18-49 demographic (Live+Same Day). The zany competition drew a 2.5 adults 18-49 rating and 7.9 million viewers for its special two-hour 8-10 PM Season 2 premiere.
That was down 13% (fast nationals to fast nationals) from the series debut in January, when the show aired at 9 PM. But given where Live+SD broadcast ratings levels are, The Masked Singer remains a massive hit. It is the highest-rated program of broadcast Premiere Week in 18-49, towering over the second highest-rated (NBC’s This Is Us, 1.8) by a whopping 39%.
The Masked Singer was the highest-rated L+SD fall unscripted telecast on any network in two years (since The Voice on 10/2/17) and Fox’s highest-rated fall unscripted telecast in six years (since The X-Factor on 9/25/13). The two-hour Masked Singer premiere delivered a nightly win for Fox in 18-49 and total viewers, outperforming the network’s Premiere Wednesday 2018 lineup (Empire, Star) by 47% in 18-49.
There was a lot of death and good-byes in the season premiere for NBC’s One Chicago lineup, with the Chicago series bidding farewell to four series cast members — Jon Seda, Yuriy Sardarov, Colin Donnell and Norma Kuhling. Chicago Med (7.4 million, 1.0 in 18-49), Chicago Fire (7.2 million, 1.1) and Chicago P.D. (6.5 million, 1.1) finished 2-3-4 for the night in total viewers behind The Masked Singer, with PD matching its top 18-49 rating since the February crossover. One Chicago dipped a notch from the franchise’s fall 2018 debut when all three series logged a 1.2 demo rating in the fast nationals.
CBS had been the reality boss on Premiere Wednesday with its annual block of 90-minute Survivor premiere and Big Brother finale, winning the night in 18-49 (L+SD) last September. Facing the new hot kid on the unscripted block in Masked Singer, CBS’ unscripted veterans were dinged but showed resilience. The Season 39 premiere of Survivor (1.3, 6.3 million), was down 17% in the demo (fast nationals to fast nationals) but still finished second on the night in the demo behind The Masked Singer. The Season 21 Big Brother finale (1.2, 4.2 million) was off by 25% but topped the 10 PM competition with the highest L+SD demo number we have seen so far in the hour during Premiere Week.
Three nights in, we are yet to see a true breakout performance by a new series, with Fox’s Prodigal Son the only freshman to crack the 1.0 Live+SD adults 18-49 rating mark (at 1.0). The latest high-profile new entry is ABC’s light drama Stumptown starring Cobie Smulders, which opened to a 0.7 18-49 rating and 4.5 million viewers. I already noted in the Monday ratings story when CBS’ new drama All Rise premiered to a 0.7 18-49 rating (L+SD) that this used to be the point-of-no-return threshold, which guaranteed swift cancellation to any series that hit it.
That was then. Nowadays, live viewing, especially for scripted series, is so low, the goal post for what is considered respectable Live+SD performance keeps moving. Like CBS did with the All Rise premiere, ABC is touting the fact that Stumptown built onto its Single Parents (0.7, 2.8 million) lead-in among total viewers while holding steady in the demo. Stumptown also was the most watched program on ABC last night with 4.53 million viewers, followed closely by The Goldbergs (4.48 million).
ABC’s signature Wednesday 8-10 PM comedy block posted across-the-board declines year-to-year, with anchors The Goldbergs (1.0, 4.5 million) and Modern Family (1.1 after an upward adjustment in the finals, 4.0 million) leading the charge in the demo.