ABC had a mixed bag with its Sunday premieres, as “Blood & Oil” was modest behind a sluggish “Once Upon a Time,” while “Quantico” impressed by standing as the network’s top show of the night. CBS did solid numbers for its “CSI” finale as well as its expanded “60 Minutes” featuring Donald Trump, while Fox’s comedy block got off to a soft start.
According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” (1.8 rating/5 share in adults 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) was considerably softer than last year in opening its season, losing nearly half of its young-adult audience from last year’s premiere, which was boosted by a storyline tied to the Disney movie “Frozen.” It was able to match its season-finale average of May in 18-49 and was up a bit in total viewers.
It was followed by the series premiere of Don Johnson-Chace Crawford soap “Blood & Oil” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall), which was down 0.8 from last year’s “Resurrection” season premiere in the 9 o’clock timeslot (behind a much stronger “Once Upon a Time”). While not a good start, a 1.4 out of a 1.8 lead-in isn’t terrible for the new drama, which went from a 1.4 at 9 p.m. to a 1.3 at 9:30.
ABC’s best news of the night came at 10 p.m. with the series premiere of “Quantico” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall), which was up by nearly 50% from the network’s “Revenge” in the same hour a year ago. It built on “Blood & Oil” by 36% (0.5) and, in an especially good sign, held its rating in the 10:30 p.m. half-hour. “Quantico” earned the best reviews of any broadcast drama premiere this fall.
CBS followed NFL action with “60 Minutes” (2.9/9 in 18-49, 15.0 million viewers overall), which had its best rating since late last fall for its expanded 90-minute edition featuring interviews with Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin. It was followed by a special two-hour “CSI” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 12.1 million viewers overall) that serves as the show’s series finale. This was the show’s largest audience since 2012 and its top demo score since March 2014, with last night’s 1.8 up about 33% from last year’s time-period premieres of “The Good Wife” and “CSI.”
At Fox, the first fall appearance by midseason success “Last Man on Earth” and the first “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” since Andy Samberg’s stint as Emmy host was unable to provide a ratings jolt. In the prelims, “Bob’s Burgers” did a 1.3/4 in 18-49 and 2.7 million viewers overall, and was followed by “The Simpsons” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall), “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), “Family Guy” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall) and “Last Man on Earth” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall). “Last Man” was on par with its early-May season finale.
The network looks bad in comparisons to the opening Sunday of last year’s television season, when it had a big football doubleheader lead-in. On that night, it did huge numbers for its “Simpsons”-“Family Guy” crossover, which included an hour-long premiere of the latter.
NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” won the night as usual, as its Denver-Detroit matchup averaged a 13.8 overnight household rating/23 share in Nielsen’s metered markets. While this is the lowest-rated of the Peacock’s games this football season, it was up 12% from the third “SNF” game a year ago (12.3/20 for Pittsburgh-Carolina 12.3/30.
Last night’s game averaged a 7.3 rating/21 share in 18-49 and 19.7 million viewers overall on NBC’s stations from 8:30 to 11. These averages are likely to rise by between 10% and 15% once the full-duration of the game and all West Coast viewing are included.
AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” was the night’s top-rated entertainment series in 18-49 with a preliminary 3.4 (up a tick from last week) while drawing about 6.7 million total viewers (on par with last week).