When the 2019-20 broadcast TV season kicks off on September 23, the TV media will inevitably compare premiere TV ratings to last season’s premiere ratings for returning shows.
The typically innumerate chuckleheads among them will be “surprised” when 2019 premiere ratings are below 2018 premiere ratings.
You shouldn’t be.
Given the 35+ year decline in broadcast TV ratings, ratings declines vs. last season’s premieres should always be expected.
What ratings should surprise you?
In recent memory, it’s been typical for shows to have premiere ratings close to their final episodes ratings from the previous season.
To identify what premiere ratings are truly surprising, the table below contains the average adults 18-49 Live+Same Day ratings for the last 4 new episodes during last season for each returning show.
If a show’s premiere ratings are within 0.1 ratings point of the numbers in the table it’s not “surprising”, it was to be expected.
If a show’s premiere ratings are more than 0.1 below or (particularly) above the ratings in the table, it’s surprising, the further away, the more surprising.
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|ABC||"Expected" A18-49 premier rating|
|A Million Little Things||1.1|
|Bless This Mess||0.6|
|Fresh Off The Boat||0.6|
|How To Get Away With Murder||0.6|
|The Good Doctor||1.2|
|CBS||"Expected" A18-49 premier rating|
|God Friended Me||0.9|
|Man With A Plan||0.8|
|NCIS: Los Angeles||0.6|
|NCIS: New Orleans||0.7|
|CW||"Expected" A18-49 premier rating|
|DC's Legends Of Tomorrow||0.3|
|In The Dark||0.1|
|Roswell, New Mexico||0.2|
|Fox||"Expected" A18-49 premier rating|
|Last Man Standing||0.9|
|NBC||"Expected" A18-49 premier rating|
|Law & Order: SVU||0.7|
|The Good Place||0.8|
|This Is Us||1.8|
|Will & Grace||0.7|