Fall TV Preview

Premiere Week Ratings: Which New Shows Had the Best and Worst Starts?

Fall TV Best Worst New Shows

With Fall TV Premiere Week 2019 veritably wrapped, it’s time to see how the freshman shows that thus far have debuted fared in the all-important ratings and the similarly critical reader reviews.

Through Sept. 29, a lucky 13 new broadcast-TV shows had hit the airwaves, with just three more waiting in the wings: Fox’s Almost Family (on Oct. 2), and The CW’s Batwoman (Oct. 6) and Nancy Drew (Oct. 9).

Here is the current tale o’ the tape:

Fox’s Prodigal Son was Premiere Week’s top-rated new program (and drama) in the coveted 18-49 demo, debuting to a 1.0. On the comedy front, ABC’s mixed-ish (0.9) tied CBS’ Bob Hearts Abishola (0.9) for the top spot.

Bluff City Law (NBC), The Unicorn (CBS) and Emergence (ABC) all premiered to a 0.8 demo rating, while All Rise (CBS), Carol’s Second Act (CBS), Stumptown (ABC) and Bless the Harts (Fox) all landed a tenth below that.

The three lowest rated freshman launches were CBS’ Evil (with a 0.6), NBC’s Perfect Harmony (0.5) and NBC’s Sunnyside (0.4, yikes).

When it comes to total viewers, The Unicorn delivered the largest premiere crowd, with a hair over 6 million total viewers, followed closely by All Rise, Carol’s Second Act and Bob Hearts Abishola — all four of ’em CBS shows. NBC’s Sunnyside and Fox’s Bless the Harts landed at the bottom of this list, each mustering just 1.8 million samplers.

Setting aside cold, hard numbers for a moment, how did you the viewers feeeeeel about each of the dozen series premieres? Based on TVLine’s annual Fall TV Premiere Polls, this is how they ranked (broken down within letter grade by our top-secret and proprietary mathematical algorithm):

1. Evil (average reader grade “B+”)
2. Prodigal Son “B+”
3. Emergence “B+”
4. Stumptown “B+”
5. The Unicorn “B”
6. All Rise “B”
7. Perfect Harmony “B”
8. mixed-ish “B”
9. Bluff City Law “B-“
10. Sunnyside “C+”
11. Bob Hearts Abishola “C+”
12. Carol’s Second Act “C”
13. Bless the Harts “C-“

Our world-class Fall TV Premiere Polls also measure the respondents’ intent to watch a second episode of the sampled shows. Fox’s Prodigal Son topped that list with 94 percent planing to stay tuned, followed closely by Evil and Emergence. The prospect for retention is far less promising for the noobs in the bottom two: Carol’s Second Act (with 68 percent planning to stick around) and Bless the Harts (53 percent).

What were Premiere Week’s biggest hits and most sorrowful misses in your household?