A brand new series is always the most difficult form of television to gauge in terms of ratings. Some shows can start off white hot -- only to peter out -- while other series slowly but surely build up momentum and find a following. On that note, the ratings for ABC's Designated Survivor have been a roller coaster for the network since its initial debut in September. However, now it seems that last night's midseason premiere of the politically charged drama experienced a notable rating upturn that probably feels like good news for the cast and crew of the freshman series.
A new report from TVLine indicates that last night's Designated Survivor midseason premiere experienced an increase in viewership compared to the numbers generated by the midseason finale -- which aired all the way back in December. The eleventh episode of the series to date, the midseason premiere drew in 5.9 million viewers and a 1.3 rating. This performance is still relatively small compared to the Designated Survivor series premiere (which saw a phenomenal 10 million people tune in to watch the night it premiered), but the ratings seem to still be holding strong -- making Designated Survivor ABC's third highest rated drama behind Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.
This effective return for Designated Survivor should come as a stroke of good news for ABC, because the Kiefer Sutherland-fronted series has not been quite as big of a hit as the network had anticipated. The series is still performing well when DVR numbers are factored into the equation, but people are not watching it the night new episodes air in a way that ABC had hoped. Numerous theories have circulated as to why Designated Survivor has not pulled in the anticipated numbers -- one of which suggests the possibility that political fatigue and frustration with the 2016 election, the Trump administration, and the general political process have turned people off of the show.
There's a strong case to be made that this theory holds water. After all, CinemaBlend's own Laura Hurley referred to Designated Survivor as "fresh and frightening" in her review of the new series. In an exhausting political atmosphere, frightening might not be for everyone right now. The series returned to ABC last night with strong ratings and a solid sense of forward momentum, so we will just have to wait and see whether or not it can sustain those qualities as it charges to the end of its first year.
As always, CinemaBlend will keep you up to date regarding the latest and greatest news related to Designated Survivor. The ABC political drama airs every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. EST.
Looking for more information concerning all of the remaining spring television debuts left in 2017? Make sure to take a look at our comprehensive midseason premiere guide and fill out your TV viewing schedules accordingly!