×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Good Doctor,’ ‘Young Sheldon’ Lead Broadcast Resurgence

With more than 500 original scripted television series expected this season, it’s more difficult than ever for a new show to rise above the din and make its mark, ratings-wise. And no week is more competitive than the first week of the Nielsen season, which began Sept. 25.

But after a 2016-17 that saw broadcasters struggle more than ever to gain traction for their newest offerings, this season is off to an auspicious start. The question is whether new shows hot out of the gate can sustain and build in the way that recent freshman standouts such as “This Is Us” and “Empire” managed to. But one week into the season, prospects look good.

“I would say that broadcast is off to a very strong start, and we’re definitely heartened by some of the numbers that we’re seeing,” says Katz Media Group’s Stacey Schulman.

In premiere week, the three new shows that stood out most were NBC’s “Will & Grace” revival, CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” spinoff “Young Sheldon,” and ABC’s medical drama “The Good Doctor.”
With a 2.2 live-plus-same day rating in the 18-49 demographic in its 10 p.m premiere Monday, “The Good Doctor” was the biggest surprise of premiere week — building on its lead in, up 57% from “Dancing With the Stars.”

Hailing from “House” creator David Shore, “The Good Doctor” boasts a solid pedigree, but not the same brand recognition that some other freshman series have. Nevertheless, it handily won its timeslot over CBS’ “Scorpion” and fellow freshman “The Brave” at NBC.

The 2.2 puts “The Good Doctor” behind last year’s highest rated premiere-week freshman drama debut, NBC’s “This Is Us.” But while “This Is Us” developed into one of broadcast’s most potent hours of programming, in its first week it opened down 15% from its lead in, “The Voice.” “The Good Doctor” — facing not just broadcast competition, but also the Dallas Cowboys on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” — had to be a self-starter.

“Usually you’re in some middle zone where they can dance around and come up with some reason why the numbers weren’t bad,” Shore says. But after “The Good Doctor” premiere, “I was getting phone calls of unadulterated happiness from my studio and my network.” On Monday, “The Good Doctor” grew, delivering a 2.4 for its second episode.

Young Sheldon” trailed its lead-in, but barely. For years, CBS has tried to launch a new sitcom by premiering it after “The Big Bang Theory,” television’s most watched scripted show. The results have often been mediocre. But “Young Sheldon,” an ambitious single-camera series that tells the early-childhood story of the character Jim Parsons plays in the Chuck Lorre-produced multi-cam comedy, broke the cycle. The spinoff drew 17.21 million total viewers — the primary metric against which CBS sells advertising — retaining 98% of its “Big Bang Theory” lead-in.

“It certainly was beyond where we reasonably thought it would be, just given all the shows that have come behind ‘Big Bang’ in the past,” says CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl. “I do believe it suggests something that we thought, which is that ‘Young Sheldon’ is a show that can appeal to viewers beyond ‘Big Bang.’”

Another indicator of the draw of “Young Sheldon”: It was no slouch in the 18-49 demo, where its 3.8 rating made it the top new show of premiere week. It managed to best “Will & Grace,” which, in a Thursday 9 p.m. debut, more than doubled its lead-in, at 3.0.

After a tough 2016 premiere week, one that was interrupted by a presidential debate and in which new shows struggled for attention against the end-run of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, high premiere ratings for new broadcast series are welcome across the board.

“I think the fact that we’re seeing viewers show up for new shows — and not just ours — is really encouraging” Kahl says. “‘The Good Doctor,’ the comeback for ‘Will & Grace’; if we put shows on that can pique viewers’ interest, it’s pretty apparent to me they’ll still show up.”

More TV

  • Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor

    Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor Arrested for Plotting Sex With Minor

    Disney Channel has severed ties with “Andi Mack” actor Stoney Westmoreland following his arrest for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old. “Stoney Westmoreland, an actor working on the series ‘Andi Mack,’ was arrested in Salt Lake City today,” a Disney Channel spokesperson said in a statement Friday. “Given the nature of [...]

  • Russian Doll

    TV News Roundup: Natasha Lyonne's 'Russian Doll' Sets Netflix Premiere Date

    On Friday’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for “Russian Doll” and Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Brexit” film has a premiere date on HBO FIRST LOOKS Showtime has released a new teaser for the upcoming comedy series, “Black Monday,” which will premiere Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The series stars and is executive produced by Don [...]

  • Vanity Fair Review

    TV Review: 'Vanity Fair'

    There’s something comforting about the predictability of a period piece novel adaptation in the Masterpiece Theater tradition. Knowing the story, or even just the rhythms of the genre, there are rarely many surprises. The women will toss off witticisms and cry careful, pretty tears; the men will steel their jaws and declare their love, ideally [...]

  • FILE - In this April 5,

    CBS Claims Commitment to Ending Harassment. Its Actions Say Otherwise (Column)

    At this point, a new breaking sexual harassment case at CBS isn’t exactly a surprise. Over and over again, powerful CBS company men from producers to executives to the ex-CEO himself have made headlines for propagating decades of harassment and abuse, with dozens of witnesses affirming that the pattern was business as usual. But as [...]

  • Willow ShieldsVariety Portrait Studio, Beautycon Festival

    'Hunger Games' Alum Willow Shields Joins Netflix Drama Series 'Spinning Out'

    Willow Shields has been cast in a series regular role in “Spinning Out,” the upcoming ice skating drama series at Netflix. She joins a cast that also includes Kaya Scodelario, who was announced as the series lead on Thursday, taking over the role originally held by Emma Roberts. Shields will star as Serena, Kat Baker’s (Scodelario) [...]

  • Adam Levine Cardi B

    Maroon 5 and How the Super Bowl Halftime Show Became Music's Least Wanted Gig

    Who would have thought that the Super Bowl Halftime show, an American institution watched by more than 100 million people, would become the least wanted gig in music? But thanks to the ongoing controversy concerning the NFL’s stance on a player’s right to protest, brought to the forefront by football’s top conscientious objector Colin Kaepernick, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content