Ratings: ‘The Muppets,’ ‘Limitless’ Get Good Sampling; ‘Scream Queens’ Lackluster

'Muppets' Premiere Ratings Strong; 'Limitless' Solid,
Courtesy of ABC

UPDATE: In final nationals released Wednesday afternoon by Nielsen, the premieres of all three shows were adjusted up a tenth in 18-49: “The Muppets” (2.9/11 in 18-49, 9.01 million viewers overall), “Scream Queens” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 4.04 million viewers overall) and “Limitless” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 9.86 million viewers overall). NBC’s “The Voice” (3.5/12 in 18-49, 12.35 million viewers overall) and CBS’ “NCIS” (2.5/9 in 18-49, 18.19 million viewers overall) also were adjusted up, while NBC’s “Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris” edged down (2.1/7 in 18-49, 5.91 million viewers overall).


The jam-packed first Tuesday of the television season featured some of the fall’s most-anticipated premieres, with ABC’s “The Muppets” opening impressively and standing as the night’s top new show in key demos, and CBS’ “Limitless” looking good too by building on its lead-in in young adults. Fox’s “Scream Queens,” on the other hand, opened to unspectacular numbers on what has been a challenging night of late for the network.

NBC won Tuesday night in demos behind another two-hour installment of “The Voice” and an improved second week for new variety show “Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris.” CBS rolled in total viewers, with “NCIS” leading the way as usual as it kicked off its 13th season.

Looking at the early numbers, “The Muppets” — despite airing in a tough timeslot opposite both “The Voice” and “NCIS” — averaged a 2.8 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 8.9 million viewers overall to become the No. 2-rated new series of the fall in the demo (behind NBC’s “Blindspot”). It was up sharply from last year’s Tuesday comedy bow in the timeslot (a 1.3 in 18-49 and 4.2 million total viewers for “Selfie” in the second week of the television season).

“Muppets” fared well across all age groups, earning an 8 share in adults 18-34, a 9 share in teens 12-17 and 10 shares in both adults 18-49 and 25-54. Its young-adult audience was roughly 55% female. And it earned especially high scores in top-10 markets Philadelphia (5.9/17), Chicago (4.9/21) and Boston (4.3/15).

Review: TV Review: ‘The Muppets’

Fox’s “Scream Queens,” which had generated the most social media buzz heading into premiere week, opened with a 1.6/5 in 18-49 and 4 million viewers overall from 8 to 10, though special “rush finals” ordered by Fox show the premiere at a 1.7 in the demo. It ran fourth in its timeslot in 18-49, while placing second in adults 18-34 (1.6/7). The horror comedy from Ryan Murphy opened with a 1.7 rating in 18-49 and then held at a 1.6 for its final three half-hours, according to the prelim nationals. It tied for the 18-49 lead in the New York market with “The Voice” (2.9/10).

The two-hour premiere provided some nice time period improvement for Fox, which struggled out of the gate on the opening Tuesday a year ago. Last night’s “Scream Queens” did 60% better than the net’s lowly 1.0 nightly average for “Utopia,” “New Girl” and “The Mindy Project.” Starting next week, new comedies “Grandfathered” and “Grinder” will open the night for the net, with “Scream Queens” airing at 9.

Review: TV Review: ‘Scream Queens’

At CBS, “Limitless” averaged a 1.8 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 and 9.8 million viewers overall in the 10 o’clock hour, finishing second in demos (to NBC’s “Best Time Ever”) and edging out ABC’s special “Dancing With the Stars” in total viewers. The drama based on the Bradley Cooper feature film was able to bring younger viewers to CBS, building on its “NCIS: New Orleans” lead-in by 7% in 18-49 (1.8 vs. 1.7) and by 25% in 18-34 (1.0 vs. 0.8).

The 1.8 rating in 18-49 (which is close to rounding up to a 1.9) for “Limitless” matches the regular-series timeslot high of last season for CBS, set by the season premiere of “Person of Interest.” And in a good sign, especially for a 10 p.m. newbie, “Limitless” maintained its demo rating from its first half-hour to its second. The show will face tougher competition in the coming weeks though, with NBC airing “The Voice” in the hour starting next week before drama “Chicago Fire” comes aboard next month.

Elsewhere, NBC’s two-hour “The Voice” (3.4/11 in 18-49, 12.1 million viewers overall) was the top Tuesday series in demos, though it was down 0.7 from last year’s opener on the night; it edged past “The Muppets” for the 18-49 lead at 8 o’clock and then opened up bigger advantages over its final three half-hours. It was followed by “Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall), which rose 0.3 or 0.4 week to week (depending on if it’s revised down again in the nationals) to win the 10 o’clock hour in 18-49 and 25-54 (2.7/8). The variety show moves to its regular 8 p.m. timeslot next week.

At CBS, “NCIS” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 17.7 million viewers overall) was second in demos and a dominant No. 1 in total viewers for the 8 o’clock hour, down 0.5 from last season’s premiere but ahead of its final nine episodes from last season. It was followed by the second-season premiere of “NCIS: New Orleans” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall), which was down a steeper 0.8 from last year’s bow and only a tick above its series low.

ABC followed “The Muppets” with the second-season premiere of “Fresh Off the Boat” (1.9/7 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), which placed third in its tough timeslot but matched its Tuesday high of last season. From 9 to 11 p.m., a special episode of “Dancing With the Stars” averaged a 1.5/5 in 18-49 and 9.5 million viewers overall. “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” returns for its third season in the 9 o’clock hour next week, followed by unscripted series “Beyond the Tank.”

CW aired repeats of “The Flash,” which is back with new episodes on Oct. 6.

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  1. Jovi Seegobin says:

    Right. So I just saw it, equally as amazing as the movie.

    Clearly Agent Rebecca Harris is a manipulative individual, most likely on NZT. She knew that Finch was shot in the leg without Finch telling her that he was shot in the leg. He ONLY mentioned that he was shot. So from this, we see that she is manipulative. She probably didn’t shoot him because she was on NZT and deduced that he posed a threat to her or maybe she is running low and he is her ticket to more. She was probably responsible for him being shot and deduced that he would confide in her, now ensuring his trust in her.

    Also nice touch on the Finch reference. Evolution in progress.

  2. kati says:

    What a cool show. Funny and engaging. Can’t wait to see what happens.

  3. IceScream says:

    Maybe I just have a warped sense of humor. I went in with low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it. It was hilarious!! Niecy Nash was the best part of the show. She had me DYING laughing when she went through the 3 crisis steps. I couldn’t stop laughing the entire 2 hours, which went by pretty quickly. Never a dull moment. Oh well, I guess I’m the only one who enjoyed it. I’ll keep watching until Fox cancels it, but I hope they don’t.

  4. James says:

    Screams Queens utter garbage. Emma Roberts is a shitty actress, not to mention annoying.

  5. Jacques Strappe says:

    Muppets was charming and funny. Limitless was better than expected but nothing special as a CBS cop procedural Scream Queens low rating is still way higher than it deserves since this series was wretchedly conceived and over-hyped as something new, different and satirical to young females who are obviously more sophisticated than Ryan Murphy surmises. Why is everything associated with Ryan Murphy “wink-wink” gay campy outrageousness, with or without gay character? It gets old really fast,

  6. Hawk says:

    I don’t understand the criticism of THE MUPPETS. It was absolutely hilarious. I was cracking up hard last night. My only issue with it being at 8pm is the language; too adult. Would have been a bigger hit if ABC had made it more of a family friendly comedy. It’s too adult to be on at 8pm when families want to watch this with their children. I would never watch this with a child. Why the punks running network television don’t have the foresight to do family programming in the 8pm – 9pm hour anymore is a subject the networks should address. Stop driving away your viewers before they become old enough to care to check out your programs. And those Tuesday night ratings are basically horrible across the board. What’s scary is that this is just week one. Scripted shows are going to have a hard time finding audiences, particularly in the demo category. People in the 18-49 year old category are so into everything but watching live tv, unless it’s an exceptional program. Most of the networks celebrate mediocrity and renew mediocrity as long as it fits their agenda. Programmers are apparently stupid enough to totally allow their networks to go under at the expense of pushing forth their garbage, agenda programming

  7. Mike 524729 says:

    ‘Limitless’ was fantastic. It build very skillfully on the premise of the movie, even using similar scenes, so fans of the film very immediately at home.

  8. Feed Me Your Ego says:

    Scream Queens………………….!!!!! OK, sure; like I’m going to watch that. A spoiled brat show… GET A GRIP! I can’t believe ‘they’ actually thought people would watch this trash. Nice value system.

  9. Spider says:

    Well, 5 min. into “Scream Queens” and what I saw was a ditzy, corny, attempt to bring the B movie slasher mayhem into prime time TV. If only they had gone the grittier, darker route, this show might have had a chance. What a huge waste of Jamie Lee Curtis; she deserves better. I believe this show and the desperate-to-appeal, “Minority Report” will be gone before Halloween…… I’d be really surprised if they are still on the air by then.

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