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Fall 2017 Broadcast TV Ratings: ‘Young Sheldon,’ ‘Good Doctor’ Stand Out Among Freshman Shows

With the Fall 2017 broadcast TV season drawing to a close, two of this season’s new shows stand head and shoulders above their freshman competition: ABC’s “The Good Doctor” and CBS’ “Young Sheldon.”

Both were the only freshman shows to rank among the top programs of the season in both the adults 18-49 demographic and total viewers, according to Nielsen’s most current ratings, which are comprised of Live+7 data for Sept. 25-Nov. 26 and Live+Same Day data for Nov. 27-Dec. 10.

The Good Doctor” averaged a 3.5 rating in adults 18-49 for the season, tying for tenth place overall with fellow ABC medical series “Grey’s Anatomy.” “Young Sheldon” was right on its heels in eleventh place with a 3.3. In total viewers, “The Good Doctor” finished fifth overall with 16.08 million viewers. “Young Sheldon” was sixth with 15.94 million.

Beyond that, the rest of the fall’s new shows failed to crack even the top 20. In the demo, Fox’s “The Orville” tied for 21st place with six other shows with a 2.0. CBS’ “SEAL Team” and Fox’s “The Gifted” were the next-highest rated freshman shows, tying for 32nd place with five other shows with a 1.8. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the lowest-rated new shows this fall were The CW’s “Valor” and “Dynasty,” which tied with fellow CW show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” with a 0.3 each.

In total viewers beyond “The Good Doctor” and “Young Sheldon,” “SEAL Team” was the next most-watched new show with 10.66 million viewers for 21st place overall. CBS’ “Wisdom of the Crowd” was next in 31st place with 8.69 million viewers. “Valor” and “Dynasty” were again at the bottom of the freshman show list, averaging 1.4 million and 1.08 million respectively.

NBC’s “Will & Grace” was also among the top shows of the fall, but whether or not that constitutes a new show is a matter of some debate. Regardless, “Will & Grace” finished eighth for the fall in the key demo with a 3.6 and 17th in total viewers with 11.37 million.

NBC’s “This Is Us” was the top-rated scripted program with a 4.9, and was the second highest-rated broadcast program overall behind only “Sunday Night Football” (6.2). CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” was the next highest-rated scripted program, averaging a 4.2. In total viewers, however, “Big Bang Theory” was the top-scripted program with 18 million. Fellow CBS series “NCIS” was next with 16.95 million, with “This Is Us” at 16.11 million. “Sunday Night Football” was also the top broadcast program in total viewers with 18.18 million.

Yet virtually every broadcast program saw ratings declines year-to-year with few exceptions. The most notable of these exceptions is CW’s “Riverdale,” now in its second season. The dark spin on the Archie Comics characters is currently up approximately 40 percent in the demo and 47 percent in total viewers in the Live+Same Day ratings compared to the comparable point in Season 1, which aired earlier this year.

“This Is Us” was also one of the shows to post significant gains. The hit NBC drama is currently up approximately seven percent in the demo and 24 percent in total viewers compared to its midway point in Season 1. Meanwhile, Fox’s top-rated series “Empire” has suffered mightily in its fourth season. At the midway point, the music industry drama is currently down approximately 39 percent in the demo and 32 percent in total viewers compared to last season.

Looking at the network averages at this point in the season, all of the broadcast networks are down double digits in the demo compared to the same period last year, again looking at the most current ratings. With sports and live news factored in, NBC is number one with a 2.4, down 11 percent from last year. CBS and Fox are tied for second with a 1.8, down 10 and 18 percent respectively. ABC is fourth with a 1.6, down 11 percent. The CW is averaging a 0.6, down 14 percent.

When sports and live news events are removed, NBC is still number one with a 1.8, down 10 percent from the comparable period last year with the same factors removed. ABC is second with a 1.6, down 11 percent. CBS is third with a 1.5, down 17 percent. Fox is fourth with a 1.4, again down 18 percent. The CW’s numbers in the measure remain unchanged.

Most Current Adults 18-49 Rankings

1 NBC NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL NBC 6.2
2 THIS IS US NBC 4.9
3 CBS+NFL NET THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL CBS 4.5
4 NBC NFL SUNDAY NIGHT PRE GAME NBC 4.3
NBC+NFL NET THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL NBC 4.3
6 BIG BANG THEORY CBS 4.2
7 THE OT FOX 3.9
8 WILL & GRACE NBC 3.6
9 GOOD DOCTOR ABC 3.5
GREY’S ANATOMY ABC 3.5
11 YOUNG SHELDON CBS 3.3
12 FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA NBC 3.1
13 MODERN FAMILY ABC 2.8
14 EMPIRE FOX 2.7
15 VOICE-MON NBC 2.6
16 VOICE-TUE NBC 2.4
17 SURVIVOR CBS 2.3
18 CHICAGO FIRE NBC 2.2
NCIS CBS 2.2
20 SCANDAL ABC 2.1
21 CHICAGO PD NBC 2.0
GOOD PLACE NBC 2.0
LAW & ORDER:SVU NBC 2.0
CRIMINAL MINDS CBS 2.0
GOLDBERGS ABC 2.0
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER ABC 2.0
ORVILLE FOX 2.0
28 60 MINUTES CBS 1.9
BULL CBS 1.9
AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE ABC 1.9

Most Current Total Viewers Rankings (in millions)

1 NBC NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL NBC 18.177
2 BIG BANG THEORY CBS 18.007
3 NCIS CBS 16.954
4 THIS IS US NBC 16.114
5 GOOD DOCTOR ABC 16.083
6 YOUNG SHELDON CBS 15.940
7 CBS+NFL NET THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL CBS 14.230
8 NBC+NFL NET THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL NBC 14.221
9 BULL CBS 14.163
10 NBC NFL SUNDAY NIGHT PRE GAME NBC 13.275
11 60 MINUTES CBS 12.816
12 NCIS: NEW ORLEANS CBS 12.766
13 BLUE BLOODS CBS 12.570
14 VOICE-MON NBC 11.752
15 THE OT FOX 11.558
16 GREY’S ANATOMY ABC 11.536
17 WILL & GRACE NBC 11.365
18 VOICE-TUE NBC 11.305
19 DANCING WITH THE STARS ABC 11.230
20 HAWAII FIVE-0 CBS 11.070
21 SEAL TEAM CBS 10.657
22 NCIS: LA CBS 10.519
23 CHICAGO FIRE NBC 10.399
24 MOM CBS 9.899
25 SURVIVOR CBS 9.890
26 FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA NBC 9.555
27 CHICAGO PD NBC 9.327
28 CRIMINAL MINDS CBS 9.286
29 MADAM SECRETARY CBS 8.997
30 MODERN FAMILY ABC 8.747

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