Nearly all of the biggest shows on network television returned with new seasons this fall, but some of them are doing much better than others when it comes to the ratings and the size of the audience. Network TV ratings still matter even in an era of streaming services, so the shows that have disappointing numbers right after episodes air can make fans nervous. That said, there is a fair amount of nuance to ratings and viewership from the big four networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) that prove that some big shows are actually doing a whole lot better than they seem. Case in point: ABC’s The Rookie, among others.
Now, the numbers for ratings and viewership can be kind of a lot to look at, especially since I think it’s safe to say that most of us don’t watch television because we want to do math. So, read on for a breakdown of the shows that are getting big boosts in the numbers after the live episodes, and a look at the trends they indicate. Because as it turns out, in the era of delayed DVR viewership and online viewing, the earliest numbers aren’t the only ones that matter. Let’s start with the first round of ratings and viewership from people who watched late!
Ratings And Viewership After Three Days
The first batch of ratings and viewership numbers after the earliest that really matter are the ones calculated three days after an episode airs, called Live+3. These reveal which shows got the biggest boosts from the initial numbers from the night of episodes airing, called Live+Same Day. The biggest ratings winner like NCIS and The Masked Singer generally don’t appear on the lists of shows that got the big boosts, which is a good thing for shows that turn in disappointing initial ratings.
And for the sake of the most accurate delayed numbers, we’ll look at the primetime lineup for the last week of October, via SpoilerTV. I’ve pulled the shows that received boosts of more than 70% for ratings and viewership, and we’ll start with ratings.
- The Rookie: 100% rise from 0.3 to 0.6
- A Million Little Things: 100% rise from 0.3 to 0.6
- The Good Doctor: 100% rise from 0.4 to 0.8
- New Amsterdam: 75% rise from 0.4 to 0.7
- Chicago P.D.: 71% rise from 0.7 to 1.2
In the ratings, Chicago P.D. rose to the highest spot, but actually received the smallest boost of these top five. It was a three-way tie between The Good Doctor, A Million Little Things, and The Rookie in doubling their initial ratings, although The Good Doctor ultimately wins for ending up with the highest ratings of those three. But ratings are only half the story, and the viewership of shows with boosts of over 70% is different.
- The Rookie: rise of 98% from 2.64 million to 5.24 million
- A Million Little Things: 95% rise from 1.93 million to 3.76 million
- CSI: Vegas: 74% rise from 3.34 million to 5.83 million
In audience size, The Good Doctor drops below 70% while The Rookie and A Million Little Things jump up to the Top 2, with The Rookie pulling ahead. As for CSI: Vegas, it didn’t break 70% in the ratings for Live+3, but rose by an impressive 74% in viewership.
The Live+3 ratings for the last week of October paint an interesting picture of the shows that are doing much better than they seem with Live+Same, but we’re not out of figures yet before we get into the trends.
Ratings And Viewership After Seven Days
The second important batch of ratings and viewership numbers after Live+Same are those that can be tallied seven days after an episode airs, called Live+7. In some cases, shows that got big boosts from Live+Same to Live+3 drop off when it comes time to look at a week’s worth of numbers, while others jump significantly higher. There is certainly some overlap, but also some new shows that make it above 70%.
And just like with Live+3, let’s look at the Live+7 numbers (via SpoilerTV) from the last week of October, starting with the ratings.
- A Million Little Things: rise of 133% from 0.3 to 0.7
- The Rookie: rise of 133% from 0.3 to 0.7
- The Good Doctor: rise of 125% from 0.4 to 0.9
- Bull: rise of 100% from 0.3 to 0.6
- The Blacklist: rise of 100% from 0.3 to 0.6
- Chicago P.D.: rise of 86% from 0.7 to 1.3
- CSI: Vegas: rise of 75% from 0.4 to 0.7
- New Amsterdam: rise of 75% from 0.4 to 0.7
- Chicago Fire: rise of 71% from 0.7 to 1.2
Let’s welcome Bull, The Blacklist, CSI: Vegas, New Amsterdam, and Chicago Fire to the list of shows that jumped by more than 70% in Live+7 ratings! Like before in Live+3, Chicago P.D. ended with the highest rating, but was lower when it comes to the size of the rise. Chicago Fire eked its way onto the list with 71% to join sister series Chicago P.D., but Chicago Med didn’t make it above 70%. So what kind of story do the viewership numbers tell after seven days?
- The Rookie: rise of 122% from 2.6 million to 5.8 million
- A Million Little Things: rise of 121% from 1.9 million to 4.2 million
- CSI: Vegas: rise of 92% from 3.3 million to 6.4 million
- The Good Doctor: rise of 82% from 4 million to 7.4 million
- New Amsterdam: rise of 79% from 3.5 million to 6.3 million
- Bull: rise of 73% from 4.3 million to 7.4 million
Several of the shows that rose more than 70% in the ratings didn’t make it to 70% of a rise in audience size, but every show that rose by 70% in viewership also rose in ratings by 70%. What do all of these numbers tell us about the series that are doing much better than they seem? Let’s dig into it.
Breaking Down The Trends For The Week
There is a particularly interesting trend that holds true for most of Live+3 and Live+7 (albeit with some outliers) that concerns the time slots for these shows. With the exceptions of The Blacklist and Chicago Fire, every single show that rose by upward of 70% airs at 10 p.m. ET. And it’s a trend that holds true across all three networks that made this list. ABC has The Rookie, The Good Doctor, and A Million Little Things; CBS has CSI: Vegas and Bull; and NBC has New Amsterdam and Chicago P.D. The trend is clear: people are more likely to watch the 10 p.m. shows at a later date, suggesting that some viewers simply prioritize sleep.
And there are some possible explanations for The Blacklist, which airs on NBC at 8 p.m. ET on Thursdays, and Chicago Fire, which airs on NBC at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesdays, as outliers. The Blacklist actually aired on Friday nights for several years before getting a different night and time at the end of Season 8 and beginning of Season 9. Fans who watched on Fridays may simply have other things to do (or watch) in its new time slot, and prefer to wait to check out new episodes. With The Blacklist moving back to Fridays in 2022, it should be interesting to keep an eye on any changes. As for Chicago Fire… well, it only just made it over 70% in only one category.
The Rookie’s big jumps in delayed viewership may have to do with its time slot as well, as the show airs on Sundays. The Nathan Fillion show’s numbers could be a sign that fans simply don’t want to sit down in front of ABC on Sunday nights, but are happy to watch over the next week. CSI: Vegas getting boosts could also have to do with the fact that it airs on CBS in the same slot on Wednesdays as Chicago P.D. on NBC; it’s unlikely that CSI: Vegas will ever beat P.D. in Live+Same, so it makes sense that its viewership boosts are bigger than P.D.’s. Plus, Chicago P.D. is traditionally a big winner in delayed numbers, so those numbers aren’t shocking.
At the end of the day, fans of some of the shows that don’t get the best numbers immediately after episodes air don’t need to despair. Some series simply thrive in delayed viewership with rises of over 100%. Few shows are ever completely and totally safe from cancellation, but hopefully the delayed numbers are comforting to any who look at the initial ratings and start to get worried. Even if these shows aren’t necessarily destroying the competition, they’re holding their own in Live+3 and Live+7. Keep on tuning in to your favorites as the fall TV season winds down, and stick to CinemaBlend for more in television and movie news.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.