We’re a couple weeks into broadcast’s fall TV season, and the major networks are all down in Nielsens compared to the same period last year (NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox have each slipped between 11 and 17 percent in the ratings among adults 18-49). Still, there are some bright spots on the new schedule. Here’s which new shows are working — and not — so far:
— Will & Grace (NBC): Everybody loves to grouse about reboots and revivals, yet the return of the 1990s favorite shows familiar names can deliver viewers — even on tough Thursday nights. When including DVR, the premiere has racked up 15.8 million viewers making it NBC’s most-watched regularly scheduled primetime comedy episode in 13 years. Week 2 had a sharp drop, but still tied Grey’s Anatomy to win the night.
— Young Sheldon (CBS): The Big Bang Theory prequel has only aired a single preview episode so far, but it scored the biggest rating of any new series (17.2. million viewers, and a 3.8 in the demo). The real test comes after Young Sheldon beings its weekly airings starting Nov. 2.
— The Good Doctor (ABC): Arguably the most impressive entry because — unlike Young Sheldon and Will & Grace — the hospital drama isn’t based off any existing property and, unlike Sheldon in particular, doesn’t have all that big of a lead-in. Yet Good Doctor is the season’s top freshman drama (averaging 11.1 million viewers and 2.2 in the demo).
Honorable mentions: Fox’s X-Men drama The Gifted has performed solidly across two episodes on Monday nights (while Fox’s sci-fi dramedy The Orville opened big, but needs to stop the bleeding on Thursday nights). CBS’ new comedy 9JKL has picked up some solid Monday sampling with its Big Bang Theory lead-in. CBS’ action-thriller Seal Team has performed decently on Wednesdays. Also, let’s not forget Star Trek: Discovery, which popped during its premiere preview a few weeks back before being shuffled shielded by the ratings cloaking device of the CBS’ All Access streaming service for its next three episodes.
Now let’s take a look a couple titles that have face-planted in the Nielsens for their first couple episodes:
— Marvel’s Inhumans and Ten Days in the Valley (ABC): Both are miniseries, but still: ABC had some hopes for these titles, especially the splashy Marvel drama with its unique IMAX theater launch, yet they’re ranking as the lowest-rated freshman shows so far — Inhumans is averaging only 3.4 million viewers in its Friday slot.
As for the rest, it’s too early to condemn, but some stragglers out of the gate include CBS’ crowd-sourcing procedural The Wisdom of the Crowd which opened modestly then dropped a bit on Sunday nights, and ABC’s modestly rated new Tuesday comedy The Mayor and fantasy dramedy Kevin Probably Saves the World.
Overall, among the networks season to date, NBC is out in front among the demo with a 2.0 rating and CBS leads among total viewers averaging 9 million viewers.