The fall TV season has arrived (finally giving us an excuse to chill on our couch and avoid the outside. Fresh air? Pffft – who needs it?!). When it comes to new series, it’s been the weakest year in recent memory, with less than a handful of shows generating any real buzz. But even though we’re only a few weeks into the new season, some winners and losers have already begun to emerge. Here’s a look at how some of your favourite new and returning shows are faring.
WINNER (NEW SHOW): Young Sheldon
We’re not quite sure why people still watch The Big Bang Theory (no seriously, why are you still watching it?), but it regularly tops the ratings charts as the most-watched show in the US and Canada. So it was a no-brainer for CBS to launch a spinoff that flashes back to the beloved main character’s younger years. It’s already killing it in the ratings, premiering as the most-watched comedy debut in six years in the US, and the best comedy debut in 10 years in Canada. Much like its predecessor, don’t expect this one to go away anytime soon.
WINNER (NEW SHOW): The Good Doctor
A drama about a young, autistic surgeon was just what the doctor ordered for ABC, which has already gifted the new series with a full season order. The show, which stars Freddie Highmore of Bates Motel, debuted to an impressive 11.4 million viewers, and even more impressively, it managed to get even better ratings in its third week (thanks in part to a boost from airing after Monday night football), scoring 17.9 million viewers, pushing it past The Big Bang Theory in overall numbers. It's since been crowned the No. 1 drama on network TV, edging out NBC's This Is Us and CBS's NCIS.
WINNER (NEW SHOW): SEAL Team
David Boreanaz has been working non-stop in TV since 1997 when he first appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it doesn’t seem like he’ll be slowing down anytime soon. His new CBS drama about a special forces unit debuted strong and was one of the first new shows of the season to get a full-season pickup.
WINNER (NEW SHOW): Will & Grace
Is a reboot considered a “new” show? The sitcom, which was resurrected 11 years after it originally went off the air, was a rare spot of brightness for NBC this season, debuting to an audience of 10.2 million viewers. Though it has since slipped in the ratings since it’s huge debut, it’s still one of NBC’s top new shows. It seems the world still can’t get enough of “Just Jack!”
LOSER (NEW SHOW): Marvel’s Inhumans
No show arrived with worse reviews than ABC’s Inhumans, which Variety called a “slapped-together, incoherent, cheap-looking mess.” Audiences seem to agree, with the first episode pulling in extremely modest viewership, with each subsequent episode’s ratings falling more and more. Don’t expect this one to stick around much longer.
LOSER (NEW SHOW): Ten Days In the Valley
Inhumans isn’t the only show stinking up ABC’s schedule. This Kyra Sedgwick-led drama about a kidnapped girl debuted to a paltry 3.4 million viewers, and lost 25% of those in its second week. The show is supposed to cover 10 days, but we’re guessing its days will be numbered long before then.
LOSER (NEW SHOW): Valour
Confession: The CW is my favourite network and I will pretty much watch anything they air, whether it’s their superhero franchises or their female-forward dramedies like Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. But even I couldn’t pretend to be interested in their new military drama – and apparently, I wasn’t alone. The series debut came in last place on the night of its premiere in the key 18-49 demo. Even for The CW (the network which cares the least about ratings), that’s gotta hurt.
WINNER (RETURNING SHOW): This Is Us
The biggest (only?) hit of last season is still going strong. Though it dropped 20% in the ratings in its second week, it’s still far and away one of NBC’s biggest hits and the most-watched show among all the broadcast networks. It also continues to be one of the leading shows getting social media buzz, according to Nielsen. Stock up on tissues and expect the Pearson family to continue to make us weep uncontrollably for years to come.
WINNER (RETURNING SHOW): Riverdale
The second season of the teen soap Riverdale managed to achieve the impossible: the ratings nearly doubled year over year – even though it moved timeslots and had no lead-in. It even outperformed new episodes of CW mainstays like Arrow and Supernatural, and it grew its teen audience by a whopping 400%. Perhaps the end of Pretty Little Liars left younger viewers looking for a new sexy, mystery-filled soap. We’re also guessing that the first season being available on Netflix over the summer meant audiences could binge and catch up before the second season began.
LOSER (RETURNING SHOW): How To Get Away with Murder
With Scandal wrapping up this season and Shonda Rhimes moving to Netflix, ABC’s TGIT lineup is no longer looking like the powerhouse it once was. While Grey’s Anatomy remains an audience magnet, the Viola Davis vehicle HTGAWM continues to slide in the ratings, hitting new series lows this season. It’s too early to tell if it will be cancelled, but we doubt they’ll be able to get away with viewership slides much longer.
LOSER (RETURNING SHOW): Comic Book Superheroes
Is superhero fatigue finally setting in? Supergirl’s premiere tied with its series low, while The Flash had its lowest rated season premiere to date. Despite their viewership drops, we don’t expect these two super-powered protectors to hang up their capes anytime soon since they are on a network that doesn’t worry too much about ratings. The same may not be true for Fox’s Gotham, which hit an all-time ratings low this season.