Thursday was a tricky night for new shows to debut given the presence of a titanic “Thursday Night Football” clash on Fox between the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sure enough, all five of the series which debuted struggled to make an impact.
On NBC, “Perfect Harmony” starring Bradley Whitford debuted to a 0.5 rating and 2.6 million total viewers, while Kal Penn’s “Sunnyside” posted a 0.4 rating and only 1.8 million viewers in the 9:30 p.m. slot. Aside from the two debutants, “Superstore” came in at a 0.8, the final season premiere of “The Good Place” scored a 0.7, and finally “Law & Order: SVU” closed out the night with a 0.7.
CBS’ new shows fared a little better, with “The Unicorn” emerging as the highest rated freshman of the night with a 0.8 rating and 6 million total viewers. Later on, “Carol’s Second Act” with Patricia Heaton opened to a 0.7 and just under 6 million viewers, followed by the dark drama “Evil” at a 0.7 and 4.6 million total viewers.
However, the new shows weren’t the only ones struggling on Thursday night. “Young Sheldon,” without its “Big Bang Theory” lead-in, posted a series low 1.0 rating and 8 million total viewers (easily the highest for a scripted show on the night, but also a series low). In the 9 p.m. CBS slot “Mom” scored a 0.8 rating and 6.2 million total viewers.
On ABC, “Grey’s Anatomy” kicked off the night with a solid 16th season premiere rating of 1.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 6.5 million total viewers. That was followed up by “A Million Little Things” which came in at a 1.1 and 5 million viewers. “How to Get Away With Murder” kicked off its final season to a 0.6 rating and 2.5 million viewers.
According to fast-national Nielsen numbers, which are subject to significant adjustment given the nature of live sports, “Thursday Night Football” delivered a 3.9 rating and an average total viewership of around 12.7 million for Fox.