The traditional broadcast networks used to introduce their new seasons with Fall Preview reels packed with catchy slogans and jingles such as, “Still the One!” “Where the Good Times Are” and “This is the place to be.”
This year it’s more like, “Thanks for not cutting the cord yet!”
Here’s a look at how shows old and new were drawing in English Canada from Thursday to Sunday as returns on the last few fall premieres trickle in:.
THURSDAY SEPT. 26
A series in it’s 16th season, Grey’s Anatomy, was the No. 1 draw among viewers 2+ with 1,248,000 viewers counted in overnight estimates.
That was followed on CTV by what was surely a rerun of a very played out drama: How to Get Away with Murder (357,000). Law & Order: SVU bounced CTV back to 809,000 at 10 pm Thursday night, leading into a lower than average estimated audience for the CTV National News (845,000).
On Global that night, the big winner was the new entry Carol’s Second Act starring Patricia Heaton. It drew 828,000 in overnights. The rest of the night went Superstore (275,000), the new imported comedy The Unicorn (571,000), The Good Place (490,000) and the new drama Evil (765,000). Sad how Evil triumphs over Good on Global.
CBC opened well with Battle of the Blades (477,000). Dragon’s Den did 300,000 with The National about average at 429,000. Citytv premiered the new imported comedy Perfect Harmony, starring Bradley Whitford, at 350,000 estimated viewers. Other City shows that night went Mom (300,000), A Million Little Things (309,000) and Four Weddings and a Funeral (161,000). CTV2 kicked in with 371,000 watching Thursday Night Football.
Speaking of football, over on TSN, 508,000 were estimated to have watched Hamilton and Winnipeg’s CFL matchup.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 27
CTV had the top show of the night in 2+ overnight estimates with old reliable Blue Bloods (1,190,000). CTV opened the night with the imported cable cop series LA’s Finest (401,000) followed by the second season return of Magnum, P.I. (801,000).
Global kept pace with the return of Hawaii Five-0 (1,016,000 estimated viewers). There was a big drop off afterwards for Seal Team (307,000).
CBC opened with Marketplace (429,000), then In The Making (163,000) and The Nature of Things (204,000). The National averaged 305,000 on Friday night. Citytv and CTV2 also aired shows that night.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 28
The 45th season premiere of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Woody Harrelson, drew an overnight, estimated 836,000 2+ viewers in English Canada. The Trump in trouble opener was fun, especially Larry David as a spot-on Bernie Sanders, but the other 85 minutes was utterly forgettable for me — except for the mildly amusing Downtown Abbey film parody.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 29
The biggest broadcast draw Sunday in overnights? In terms of adults 2+, it was the season premiere of The Rookie on CTV, with an estimated, average minute audience of 965,000, although NCIS: Los Angeles on Global was right behind at 964,000. CTV also scored 639,000 with the season premiere of God Friended Me and another 396,000 with the return of Shark Tank. A rerun of S.W.A.T. did 390,000 on Global Sunday with a new NCIS: New Orleans adding 527,000 at 10 on Global.
A few shows you might think do better Sundays don’t. CBC’s Anne with an E, now in its third season, did 287,000 in overnight estimates. It is one of those shows, however, that does extra well in Live+7, total data, where it might add another 50 per cent to that total. Heartland (559,000) is by far CBC’s biggest draw on the night.
The Simpsons 30th season premiere on Citytv clocked in at 429,000. The three imported animated comedies that followed barely got sampled in overnights, with the new series Bless the Harts doing 180,000, Bob’s Burgers at 206,000 and Family Guy at 193,000.
CTV runs a lot of NFL football on Sundays. The early afternoon game, K.C. vs. Detroit, drew an estimated 682,000, with the 4pm game, Tampa Bay vs. Rams, rushing for 718,000. CTV2 had the prime time Sunday Night Football game between Dallas and New Orleans. It was a monster hit in the US, but not so much in Canada with an overnight, estimated 463,000 viewers.
Add to that, however, the take on specialty. TSN also had the prime time tilt between Dallas and New Orleans, with an estimated 445,000 tuning in. On TSN and CTV2 together the game drew 908,000. TSN also has the early KC/Lions game with 247,000 watching there. TSN2 had the 4 pm NFL game, drawing 174 for Rams/Tampa Bay. Over on Sportsnet, The Jays batted 558,000 for their end-of-season afternoon tilt against Tampa Bay.