Remember a few years ago when broadcast comedies were hot again?
That feels like a long time ago. The final new fall comedy of the season debuted Thursday night and the overnight ratings told a familiar story. CBS’ The McCarthys launched to 8.8 million viewers and a 1.9 preliminary rating among adults 18-49. That’s not nearly as weak as some sitcoms this fall (and we’ll get to two of those in a moment). But CBS has the highest benchmarks in the genre, and McCarthys is down 42 percent from last season’s premiere of The Millers and down 34 percent from the last debut of Two and a Half Men in the slot.
Speaking of which, Men was The McCarthys lead in and came back to a good rating overall for its final season (11 million 2.7), though it’s also the veteran comedy’s lowest premiere ever (that sounds contradictory, but it’s also right). The Big Bang Theory (16.2 million, 4.1) kicked off CBS’ night, hitting a season low in its re-claimed time slot (the rating will go up in the coming weeks, I suspect, once more fans realize it’s moved). Some good news: Mom (11.7 million, 2.7) was up 8 percent from last fall’s premiere to a series high. All these numbers are also likely inflated due to some NFL pre-emption.
So on one hand, McCarthys premiered sluggish, continuing a trend this fall of new sitcoms (aside from ABC’s Black-ish) and several old ones (like Fox’s New Girl) not impressing in the ratings.
Yet CBS absolutely crushed NBC’s comedy block of Bad Judge (4 million, 0.9) and A to Z (2.6 million, 07.), and CBS was a close No. 2 for the night overall in the demo behind ABC. Bad Judge and A to Zzzzzz are now whimpering for the broadcast ax — Judge was down 10 percent and A to Z was down 22 percent, both hitting their lowest ratings to date. Let’s put it this way: A to Z just matched The CW’s The Vampire Diaries, which just tied its worst rating ever. Get a cannon ready.
Also Thursday in the demo: Fox’s Gracepoint (0.8) was steady. ABC’s Scandal (3.0) was steady. but How to Get Away with Murder (2.7) was down 10 percent. CBS’ Elementary (1.4) returned down 33 percent. NBC’s Parenthood (1.1) hit a series low. The CW’s Reign (0.5) was steady.