Fall TV's 10 Biggest Winners and Losers
WINNER: THE GOOD DOCTOR
The sentimental Monday night sensation is easily the fall's highest-rated new drama, with numbers (14 million viewers; 2.9 demo rating) that are closing in on TV’s long-reigning top docs on Grey’s Anatomy. Plus, watching Freddie Highmore as a gifted surgeon struggling with autism just feels like being hooked up to an IV of warm puppies.
LOSER: MEGYN KELLY TODAY
Look at that Megyn Kelly TODAY promo photo. Isn’t this soft and accessible enough for you, America?! Apparently not. Kelly’s ratings keep sliding and are down double digits from the same hour last season. But let’s be honest: For $23 million a year, we’d awkwardly dance with Hoda too.
WINNER: WILL & GRACE
Like some kind of TV industry version of Groundhog Day, the solid success of Will & Grace will ensure at least six more years of networks rebooting old show. Aside from a single preview episode of CBS’ Big Bang Theory prequel, Young Sheldon (whose official launch is Nov. 2), NBC’s Thursday-night reunion is ranking as fall’s No. 1 “new” comedy.
LOSER: NFL Football
Viewership has taken a knee amid those national-anthem protests. While the resulting 5-to-8 percent drop might not sound like much, every yard matters when it comes to TV’s massively rated sports franchise.
WINNER: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY
How many people actually watch the CBS All Access sci-fi series is the biggest mystery in the universe, but it must be enough to earn the revival of the legendary franchise the fall’s second season 2 renewal (Can you remember what the fall’s first early renewal was? …. HBO’s The Deuce. Yeah, we forgot too.)
LOSER: MARVEL'S INHUMANS
A rare Marvel face-plant. ABC’s splashy fantasy about battling royals received an unprecedented rollout in IMAX theaters. Yet also the drama received blistering reviews and even worse ratings on Friday nights (last week's episode was only watched by around 2.3 million viewers). The season’s other new superhero entry, Fox’s X-Men series The Gifted, is doing better, but trending in the wrong direction as well.
WINNER: JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE
After 14 seasons hosting his ABC talk show, late night’s affable Everyman attained newfound relevance and depth by breaking character to reluctantly wade into some of the nation’s biggest political controversies — most poignantly health-care reform’s potential impact in the wake of his newborn son’s heart surgery.
The acclaimed sleeper drama stunned by doubling its young-adult ratings for its sophomore-season return to rank as the network’s biggest show. Credit The CW for putting season 1 on Netflix so viewers could binge it over the summer, a thrillingly dark season 2 story line, and a snowballing of positive buzz — such as EW’s recent cover story after Riverdale won our fall bracket contest (that’s right we’re totally taking credit).
Better call Netflix! The CW’s sexed-up effort to revive the 1980s soap classic for millennials is practically tied with the network’s other fresh fall offering, the military drama Valor, for broadcast’s lowest-rated new show, with both dipping under a million viewers each for new episodes.
WINNER: DAVID BOREANAZ
The actor’s CBS military action drama SEAL Team isn’t a major hit, but so far it’s getting the job done on Wednesdays, scored a full season order and cements Boreanaz’s highly improbable career track record of starring in four successful broadcast shows in a row (that would be Buffy, Angel, Bones, and SEAL). Plus, just look at the guy.