We’re less than 10 percent into the 2016-17 TV season, and the broadcast networks still have more than half of their new series to roll out later in the season.
It’s not too early, however, to notice a few trends in the way the season is going so far. With most new series now having two or three episodes under their belts, let’s take a look at how the new shows are shaking out thus far.
Clear winners: ‘This Is Us,’ ‘Kevin Can Wait,’ ‘Designated Survivor’
“This Is Us” is the No. 1 new show of the season so far in adults 18-49, and it held onto more than 90 percent of its premiere audience in episode 2. It was also the first one to get a back-end order for the season.
A move to an hour earlier starting Oct. 11 could have some effect, but it will still follow “The Voice” and still should pull in solid numbers.
“Kevin Can Wait” is the No. 2 new show and top new comedy by a pretty good margin, and it’s running ahead of last year’s highest-rated new comedy, “Life in Pieces.” It should hold up just fine when “The Big Bang Theory” decamps to Thursday nights in late October and “Kevin” takes over the Monday leadoff spot.
“Designated Survivor” has experienced some ratings declines since its premiere, going from a 2.2 in adults 18-49 to a 1.6 by episode 3. That’s still a big improvement on what “Nashville” did in the same spot last year, and the show has drawn huge DVR and on-demand numbers in its first two weeks.
Solid starts: ‘Bull,’ ‘Lethal Weapon,’ ‘Speechless,’ ‘MacGyver’
“Bull” is the top new show thus far in viewers, drawing 14.59 million over its first two episodes. It’s also mirrored the 18-49 ratings of its lead-in, “NCIS,” in averaging a 2.05 thus far. The only thing really keeping “Bull” from the category above is that we’ve yet to see how episode 3 performs, since it was pre-empted for the vice presidential debate.
“Lethal Weapon,” meanwhile, has been very stable for FOX, averaging just under a 2.0 in adults 18-49 so far. It hasn’t grown as much with delayed viewing as “Designated Survivor,” but like the ABC show it’s likely to get a full-season order in the near future.
“Speechless” has been a great fit for ABC’s Wednesday comedy block, showing next to no dropoff from lead-in “The Goldbergs.”
“MacGyver” has turned its name recognition into solid numbers on Fridays, averaging a 1.4 over its first three episodes (which equates to about a 2.0 on other weeknights), although it’s also declined each week since its premiere. The show has also given “Hawaii Five-0” a boost: The first three episodes of Season 7 are up 24 percent over the first three episodes of Season 6.
Not bad, but not great: ‘The Good Place,’ ‘Timeless’
Setting aside its “Voice”-assisted premiere, “The Good Place” is averaging a 1.4 in adults 18-49 on Thursdays and is step for step with “Superstore.” A 1.4 last season was about average for a broadcast show, and with NBC’s comedy brand in serious rebuilding mode, the network will take that.
“Timeless” has only aired one episode, drawing a 1.8 in adults 18-49 behind “The Voice.” By itself that’s a pretty good number, but for a “Voice” lead-out it’s nothing special. If the show can maintain something around that number it will be fine, but it could have been better.
Not great, Bob: ‘Conviction,’ ‘The Exorcist,’ ‘Frequency,’ ‘Notorious,’ ‘No Tomorrow,’ ‘Pitch’
None of these shows premiered to higher than a 1.1 rating, and only “Notorious” and “Pitch” have managed to stay above the 1.0 line thus far. CW shows “No Tomorrow” (0.5) and “Frequency” (0.4) both started below the shows in their respective time periods last season, which isn’t a great sign either.
Given the current way the networks handle underperforming shows, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see most or all of them play out their initial orders. It would be a pretty big surprise to see most of them again next season.
Still to come: “American Housewife” (ABC), “The Great Indoors” (CBS), “Man with a Plan” (CBS), “Pure Genius” (CBS)