What Premiere Rating For Each Returning Broadcast TV Show Should “Surprise” You?

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 Things1.1
American Housewife0.8
black-ish0.7
Bless This Mess0.6
Fresh Off The Boat0.6
Grey's Anatomy1.4
How To Get Away With Murder0.6
Modern Family1.1
Schooled0.9
Single Parents0.7
Station 190.9
The Conners1.4
The Goldbergs1.1
The Good Doctor1.2
The Rookie0.7
-
CBS"Expected" A18-49 premier rating
Blue Bloods0.7
Bull0.6
Criminal Minds0.8
FBI0.9
God Friended Me0.9
Hawaii Five-00.7
MacGyver0.6
Madam Secretary0.6
Magnum P.I.0.7
Man With A Plan0.8
Mom1.1
NCIS1.1
NCIS: Los Angeles0.6
NCIS: New Orleans0.7
SEAL Team0.7
SWAT0.8
The Neighborhood1.0
Young Sheldon1.6
-
CW"Expected" A18-49 premier rating
All American0.2
Arrow0.2
Black Lightning0.2
Charmed0.2
DC's Legends Of Tomorrow0.3
Dynasty0.1
In The Dark0.1
Legacies0.3
Riverdale0.3
Roswell, New Mexico0.2
Supergirl0.3
Supernatural0.3
The 1000.3
The Flash0.6
-
Fox"Expected" A18-49 premier rating
9-1-11.2
Bob's Burgers0.7
Empire1.1
Family Guy0.8
Last Man Standing0.9
The Resident0.8
The Simpsons0.7
-
NBC"Expected" A18-49 premier rating
Blindspot0.4
Brooklyn Nine-Nine0.5
Chicago Fire1.1
Chicago Med1.0
Chicago P.D.1.0
Good Girls0.5
Law & Order: SVU0.7
Manifest1.0
New Amsterdam0.8
Superstore0.7
The Blacklist0.6
The Good Place0.8
This Is Us1.8
Will & Grace0.7