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ABC’s ‘Black-ish’ Strong-ish in Premiere; CBS Reality Vets Win Night in Demos

UPDATE: In updated Nielsen estimates released late Thursday, ABC’s “The Middle” (2.2/8 in 18-49, 7.59 million viewers overall) and “The Goldbergs” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 7.31 million viewers overall) were adjusted up a tenth, and “Modern Family” picked up two-tenths (3.9/12 in 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall). That left “Middle” down 12% from last year (2.5) and “Modern” down 7% (4.2).

There was no demo adjustment for ABC’s “Blackish” (3.3/10 in 18-49), though it went over 11 million total viewers (11.04 million). It ended up retaining 85% of “Modern Family’s” 18-49 rating (3.3 vs. 3.9), 94% in adults 25-54 (4.4 vs. 4.7) and 97% in total viewers (11.04 million vs. 11.38 million).

NBC’s “The Mysteries of Laura” held at its earlier 18-49 score (1.5/5) while gaining a bit in total viewers to top the 10-million mark (10.01 million). “Law & Order: SVU” was revised up a tenth (2.2/7 in 18-49, 10.07 million viewers overall) for its top 18-49 rating since last season’s two-hour premiere (2.7).

Fox’s “Red Band Society” was revised upward a tick (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.43 million viewers overall).



ABC, which has been looking for a suitable comedy companion to “Modern Family” for years, just may have found one in “Blackish.”

It’s only one week, but the provocatively titled half-hour sitcom about an African-American family was impressive out of the gate on Wednesday, winning its timeslot in demos — and instantly looking like a better fit than the Alphabet’s other attempts in the 9:30 p.m. timeslot, including the likes of “Happy Endings,” “Super Fun Night” and “Mixology.”

ABC’s “Modern Family” was the night’s top show among young adults despite more year-over-year erosion, but it was CBS — with its reality combo of “Survivor” (up vs. last year) and “Big Brother” — that edged ahead to win the night in demos.

Also of note on the first Wednesday of the television season was a fairly good second-week performance by NBC’s “The Mysteries of Laura,” which had previewed behind “America’s Got Talent” one week earlier. The Peacock, with its trio of crime dramas, took the night in total viewers — its first victory by this measure on premiere week Wednesday since 2003.

Looking at the preliminary, “live plus same-day” estimates from Nielsen, “Black-ish” averaged a 3.3 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 10.8 million viewers overall in the 9:30 p.m. half-hour, retaining nearly 90% of its lead-in from “Modern Family” (3.7/11 in 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall). They were the top two shows of the night in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers.

“Black-ish” performed a bit better in 18-49 than last year’s premiere of “Super Fun Night” (3.2), which enjoyed a stronger lead-in (4.2), and its retention of “Modern Family” is easily the best of any show in the last four seasons.

Among all premieres to date this fall, the Anthony Anderson-fronted “Black-ish” looks to be slightly ahead of CBS’ “Scorpion” and Fox’s “Gotham,” both of which logged 3.2 ratings in their Monday bows.

In Wednesday’s opening hour, “The Middle” (2.1/8 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall) surprisingly was down 16% from last year and placed second in 18-49. It was followed by the timeslot premiere of “The Goldbergs” (2.3/8 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall), which looked good by building on its lead-in and also finished second; it also was up a tick over last year’s series premiere of “Back in the Game,” which enjoyed a stronger “Middle” lead-in (2.5).

So while vets “The Middle” and “Modern Family” sagged relative to last year, ABC appears to have stronger skedmates this fall in “The Goldbergs” and “Black-ish.”

Closing the night for ABC was the third-season premiere of “Nashville” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall). The country music-set soap tried to create some buzz with live musical performances during the show (on both coasts), but it was down 25% from its year-ago premiere (2.0), though above its May finale (1.3).

Over at NBC, “Mysteries of Laura” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall) was predictably down 25% in 18-49 from its week-earlier 10 p.m., post-“America’s Got Talent” premiere, and came in down 17% from last year’s “Revolution” premiere (1.8). In total viewers, “Laura” retained 97% of its week-earlier preview audience and about 3 million more than “Revolution.”

The last time a regularly scheduled NBC Wednesday 8 p.m. series delivered a larger overall audience against all-regulars on the competition was in April 2008 (10.1 million for gameshow “Deal or No Deal”).

The Debra Messing-fronted series was followed by the season premieres of “Law & Order: SVU” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 10.1 million viewers overall) and “Chicago PD” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall). The former was down 22% in 18-49 from its strong two-hour premiere of last year (2.7) but hit a three-year high in total viewers, while the latter nearly matched its series premiere of last January (2.0), and came in above its season finale from May (1.6).

Both crime shows figure to have a tougher time next week when CBS bows its tandem of “Criminal Minds” and “Stalker.”

At CBS last night, the 90-minute season premiere of “Survivor” (2.7/9 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall) was up a tick from last year’s pre-premiere debut (2.6) and up three-tenths from its showing during premiere week of last season (2.4). And from 9:30 to 11 p.m., the season finale of “Big Brother” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall) retained just about all of its young-adult lead-in and was also up a tick from last year’s closer.

Fox, which bowed its Wednesday lineup one week ago, finished deep in fourth place last night with “Hell’s Kitchen” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall) and week two of rookie  “Red Band Society” (1.0/3, 3.4 million viewers overall). The Gordon Ramsay cooking competition dropped 13% (0.2) from its week-ago performance, and the dramedy set in the pediatric ward of an L.A. hospital fell off by about 20% (from 1.3).

Though “Red Band” premiered softly last week, Fox had been pleased with the repeat number for the show when it aired two nights later, and is hoping the additional sampling will help it in future weeks. Roughly 87% of the Friday audience was unduplicated (didn’t watch the Wednesday episode); and 46% of the duplicated audience was teens 12-17, suggesting that many of them may have watched again with their families.

At CW, “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall) impressively matched its week-ago average despite the stronger competition.

Next Wednesday will see the premieres of CBS’ “Criminal Minds” and “Stalker.” CW’s “Arrow” follows one week later.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.6/8; ABC, 2.4/8; NBC, 1.9/6; Fox, 1.2/4; Univision, 1.1/4; Telemundo, 0.7/2; CW, 0.5/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 9.5 million; CBS, 8.3 million; ABC, 7.9 million; Fox, 3.5 million; Univision, 3.0 million; Telemundo, 1.6 million.


(as provided by the networks; only returning shows for NBC)

Adults 18-49
1.  Modern Family (ABC)                 5.4
2.  Black-ish (ABC)                         4.1
3.  Survivor (CBS)                           3.6
4.  Big Brother (CBS)                      3.4
4.  The Goldbergs (ABC)                 3.4

Total Viewers
1.  Modern Family (ABC)             16.4 million
2.  Black-ish (ABC)                     13.3 million
3.  Law & Order: SVU (NBC)        12.9 million
4.  Chicago PD (NBC)                 11.8 million
5.  Survivor (CBS)                       11.6 million

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