TV Ratings: Is Anyone Really Surprised ‘Blood & Oil’ Isn’t A Runaway Hit?


The air outside is getting cooler, school is back in session and if you live in L.A., traffic suddenly went from horrible to Armageddon in the blink of an eye, these are all signals that fall is in full force and it’s time to lock ourselves in our bunkers for all the TV premieres. And, as is always the case in TV land, some shows have fared better than others.

We’ve learned from losing some of our favorite shows (R.I.P “Selfie”) that, it doesn’t matter how good or bad a show is, all that really matters is how many people watch it.

So for better or for worse, let’s figure out how all the hyped about shows did during the first week of fall premieres (September 20 to September 27). Since there were so many premieres, we are going to focus mainly on new shows –except in the case of incredibly bad or unexpectedly good numbers for those returning.

We divided the shows’ performances into one of three categories, and added a little analysis where necessary. We’ll also do the same for the next two weeks of premieres.


Blindspot (NBC, Monday at 10pm) 10.61 million viewers, 3.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic

The Muppets (ABC, Tuesday at 8pm) 9.01 million, 2.9 rating

Quantico (ABC, Sunday at 10pm) 7.1 million, 1.9 rating

With all the pre-premiere hype around “Blindspot” we’re glad it’s turning out to be an early breakout.  The constant ads and buses plastered with Jaimie Alexander’s naked and tatted-up bod must’ve contributed quite a bit –and it’s a good thing because otherwise it would’ve been a lot of marketing dollars spent for nothing. NBC has already ordered nine more scripts and we’re pretty sure it will end up being a full-season order. Meanwhile, ABC’s “The Muppets,” garnered the second-highest rating of any new series last week and did better than any of ABC’s Wednesday night comedies outside of “Modern Family.” Did the audience tune in just for curiosities sake? Nostalgia? We’re not sure, but the plethora of celebrity cameos is sure to keep it afloat for at least a little while.

“Quantico,” also made it on the awesome list because it was ABC’s biggest Sunday night show and improved greatly on its “Blood & Oil” lead-in (6.3/1.4), which doesn’t usually happen, especially in that difficult time slot. That means bringing in former Miss World Priyanka Chopra as the title character worked and viewers are actively seeking this show out. Plus, the show is chock full of other attractive characters for viewers to gawk at –and there’s drama, lots and lots of drama. It’s a very Shonda-Rhimes-esque formula. “Quantico,” could be a sneaky hit for ABC and help fix its Sunday night desert.


Scream Queens (Fox, Tuesday at 8pm) 4.04 million viewers, 1.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic. *7.3 million adjusted across multiple days/platforms

Life in Pieces (CBS, Monday at 8:30pm) 11.28 million viewers, 2.6 rating

Limitless (CBS, Tuesday at 10pm) 9.86 million, 1.9 rating *13.4 million adjusted across multiple days/platforms

Heroes Reborn (NBC, Thursday at 8pm) 6.09 million, 2.0 rating

On the surface, “Life in Pieces'” numbers look great, but the new CBS single-camera comedy dropped off significantly from its “Big Bang Theory” lead-in, losing 7 millions viewers, and that is NOT good. It was also below what “The Millers did in its debut (13/3.3) last season.

Another bummer was “Scream Queens'” whose initial numbers looked pretty mediocre considering all the effort Fox put into marketing the Ryan Murphy show. A quick gander on Twitter during premiere night did not reflect the sad 1.7 the show first received. However, even though the show started off fairly slow, “Scream Queens” experienced the biggest percentage lift, 59 percent, in the three days following premiere night. Murphy’s new horror-comedy drew in an audience of 1 million on streaming platforms Fox Now and Hulu – the largest three-day non-linear lift ever for a Fox premiere, with a final tally of 7.3 million. The network also estimates that the total social activity over the first three days grew from 1 million to 2.3 million. “Scream Queens” appears to be a model for contemporary viewership where people watch shows on their own time and from a variety of different platforms. So, not all is bad for the new show, Fox just has to hope people keep buzzing about it.

“Limitless” had a totally bland debut for CBS and barely did better than “Person of Interest” in the same time slot last year. But, “Limitless” also saw a big three day gain when accounting for multiple platforms and DVR viewing, shooting up from a 1.9 in the demo to a 2.9. Its ratings were also higher than “NCIS: New Orleans'” in the hour before (1.7). Lastly, while 2.0 is nothing to throw your head in the oven over, NBC probably expected better digits for “Heroes Reborn” considering the original series’ popularity (and its initial debut of debut 14.29 million viewers and 5.9 rating way back in 2006.) The premiere also didn’t face a full roster of competition; The CW and Fox both aired repeats that night. This week’s ratings, which will be the first with “The Blacklist” added to NBC’s Thursday block, will be something to keep an eye on.

Girl, Bye:

Nashville (ABC, Wednesday at 10pm) 4.9 million viewers, 1.22 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

Once Upon a Time  (ABC, Sunday at 8pm) 5.8 million viewers, 1.8 rating

The Player (NBC, Thursday at 10pm) 4.68 million, 1.2 rating

Blood & Oil (ABC, Sunday at 9pm) 6.3 million, 1.4 rating

Minority Report (Fox, Monday at 9pm) 3.10 million viewers, 1.1 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic

While “Once Upon a Time,” didn’t have the lowest number on our list of low ranked shows, but it did experience an extreme drop for a popular returning show. Last year’s season premiere drew in 10.2 million viewers and a 3.7 in the demo versus this year’s 5.8 million and 1.8 in the demo. That’s nearly a 50 percent drop off. It’s sad to see that fans didn’t return for this one because the premiere was a significant improvement over most of season 4. Several TV critics made note of how happy they were the show was coming back to original form.

Entertainment Weekly made note of how boring the “Frozen” storyline felt.

“It’ll be interesting to see where this season lands overall. Last year, we spent months entombed in a ‘Frozen’ arc that seemed to stretch on for so long, it made even the warmest of fans feel icy.”

“Putting Emma in the spotlight as the Dark One seems like an attempt to bring some focus back to the show’s themes as well as its central characters, despite the fact there are certainly going to be many new ones popping in (and out) over the season.”

Fingers crossed that the positive reviews bring in more viewers next week. Also, it should be noted that “Once” did better than all of Fox’s Sunday night lineup, but if things continue on this route, it could still end up being the last season of the beloved fairly tale show.

“Blood & Oil” spelled even more bad news for ABC.  Surprise, surprise, people don’t really want to see a drama about oil drilling in North Dakota. While the show’s total numbers were slightly higher than Once Upon a Time’s, it took a dip in the demo from its lead-in (1.8) and didn’t do “Quantico” (1.9) any favors as a lead-out . When a new series does worse than the shows on either side of it, you can usually expect the network will scramble to shake things up. Maybe that means swapping time slots, or maybe ABC will do something more drastic. All we know is, there’s a reason North Dakota is the least popular midwestern state –nobody cares! I mean, is anyone really surprised a show about North Dakota isn’t a runaway hit?

Other underwhelming premiere’s included “Nashville,” and “The Player.” “Nashville” saw it’s worst premiere ratings in four seasons and “The Player” (1.2) got a very slow start, dropping down 14 percent from last fall’s final-season premiere of “Parenthood.” The action drama will get a second shot next week with “The Blacklist” as its lead-in, we’ll see how much that helps.

Honestly though, considering how terrible things have been for networks recently, even the worst numbers weren’t actually that bad of a week for shows. Except for “Minority Report,” which pulled a dismal 1.1 rating. The show dropped significantly from its “Gotham” lead-in (1.6) the hour before, and did half of “Scorpion’s” (its time-period competition) numbers (2.2). When you look at Sunday night and “Minority Report” together, this season is looking pretty disastrous for Fox, no two ways about it. No wonder they’re banking on all the “Scream Queens” Twitter hype.




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