Though it remains a struggle to get audiences to coalesce around a comedy, this has been an above-average fall for the networks in terms of drama hits. It’s still too early to judge Fox’s futuristic cop drama “Almost Human,” which is off to a credible start, but here’s a look at the season’s 10 strongest newcomers on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CW, based on Nielsen L+7 estimates (DVR playback within a week of its telecast):
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
It wouldn’t qualify as a hit, but the Andy Samberg-Andre Braugher cop comedy has been a steady performer for Fox, and consistently builds on its “Dads” lead-in. Fox has struggled to surround “New Girl” with strong skedmates, but the net thinks that with patience and a little nurturing, “Brooklyn” can blossom. It will air behind “New Girl” on Tuesdays starting in February, including on Super Bowl Sunday after Fox’s postgame coverage. In L+7 for its original episodes, “Brooklyn Nine Nine” is averaging a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49 (vs. a 1.8 for “Dads”).
#9 Mom (CBS)
Chuck Lorre’s latest comedy hasn’t had great support around it on Monday, as the 9 p.m. timeslot preceeding it has been lower-rated than expected (with three different shows airing there), and drama “Hostages” has struggled behind it at 10. Still, “Mom” has been retaining more than 80% of its lead-in and is averaging a 2.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.8 million viewers overall in Live + 7.
#8 The Goldbergs (ABC)
This Tuesday family comedy is delivering decent numbers for ABC despite having to face Fox’s No. 1 live-action comedy (“New Girl”); ratings went up for “Goldbergs” in the only week when “New Girl” was off. The net is airing a couple of “Goldbergs” repeats on Wednesday after “The Middle” over the next month, and it will be interesting to see how it fares with a compatible lead-in. Overall, “The Goldbergs” is averaging 12.8 million viewers and a 2.8 rating in adults 18-49. Among new comedies, only CBS’ “The Crazy Ones” has been averaging more adults 18-49 in DVR playback than “The Goldbergs.”
#7 The Millers (CBS)
<p>The Will Arnett comedy is the top-rated new half-hour of the fall, thanks largely to its “The Big Bang Theory” lead-in. Although it loses about 40% of the megahit’s audience, there are enough good signs in its ratings to suggest that “Millers” will stick around longer than other shows to launch behind it (“How to Be a Gentleman,” “Bleep My Dad Says”). It is averaging a 3.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 12.8 million viewers overall and has been pretty steady over the last month.</p>
#6 The Crazy Ones (CBS)
After a big premiere behind “The Big Bang Theory,” this Robin Williams-Sarah Michelle Gellar comedy dropped off in subsequent weeks. Still, it’s competitive in demos in its Thursday timeslot and has built a solid base of viewers in DVR playback. It’s no lock for a second season, but CBS figures to be patient and see if it audiences warm to this atypical comedy for the net — a rare single-cam entry — in the second half of the season. In Live+7 ratings for the season, “Crazy Ones” has averaged a 3.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 12.8 million viewers overall.
#5 Masterchef Junior (Fox)
This spinoff of the Gordon Ramsay competition series “MasterChef” was a quietly solid performer for Fox in its six weeks on Friday. In adults 18-49, it held its own opposite CBS’ established reality competition, “Undercover Boss,” while pulling ahead of “Boss” most weeks with DVR playback included. In Live+7 numbers, it averaged a 2.1 rating in 18-49, about the same as higher-touted fellow rookies “Hostages” on CBS and “The Michael J. Fox Show” on NBC, and 5.6 million viewers overall. The show has begun casting for a possible second season.
#4 The Originals (CW)
This spinoff of “The Vampire Diaries” didn’t really impress in the early going, but in November it posted its best numbers yet and contributed to CW’s most-watched Tuesday in four years. In part because it’s up opposite two high-profile dramas on the competition (“NCIS” and “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD”), “Originals” has seen huge amounts of time-shifted viewing, more than doubling its ratings in adults 18-34 and women 18-34 in Live + 7 Day viewing compared to Live + Same Day. Season to date, originals of “The Originals” are averaging a 1.6 in adults 18-49 and 3.3 million total viewers.
#3 Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (ABC)
It has dropped off probably more than expected in the weeks since its much-anticipated premiere, but Marvel’s first series for ABC is still producing solid numbers — especially since it’s up against “NCIS” on Tuesdays. For the season, original episodes of “SHIELD” have averaged a 5.2 rating in Live+7, but in the weeks since its premiere (which did a big 7.0), it has been above a 5 only once. In total viewers, it’s averaging 8.5 million same-night viewers and 12.6 million in L7. In a good sign for the show, it posted its first week-over-week gains with each of its two most recent episodes.
#2 Sleepy Hollow (Fox)
It’s still a bit lower-rated than “Agents of SHIELD” in L7 ratings for original episodes (4.9), but it earns points for consistency and outperforming expectations. This show seemed like something of a dice-roll, and Fox’s recent run of Monday fall premieres hadn’t been stellar following flameouts like “Lone Star” and “The Mob Doctor.” Most of the shows on this list are expected back next season, but “Sleepy Hollow” is the only one that has been officially ordered (for 15 episodes). Its original episodes are averaging a 4.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 12.3 million viewers overall.
#1 The Blacklist (NBC)
The James Spader drama is averaging a big 5.2 rating in adults 18-49, and has been the most consistent of the fall newbies, beginning with its opening- night crushing of CBS’ “Hostages” in a showdown of two of the highest-profile new dramas. How well has it held up? It was averaging a 5.2 rating after its first month as well. Sure, “The Voice” has helped funnel a sizable audience into “Blacklist,” but the show has been bolstered by record DVR playback — suggesting that it’s not a pure timeslot hit. In total viewers, on average it has added a U.S. television-record 6.1 million viewers to its samenight average of 11 million, making it the top-rated rookie series by this measure too and NBC’s most popular new drama at this point of its run in 19 years (since “Earth 2” in 1994).