How Prison Break's Return Did In The Ratings

prison break michael revival
(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Fox)

TV audiences spent the past eight years believing that Michael Scofield was dead and gone, having paid the ultimate price to save his wife and unborn child. But last night brought in the premiere episode for Prison Break's highly anticipated revival season, which changed everything we thought we knew about these characters' lives. (Read our review.) Fox and creator Paul Scheuring were taking a bit risk by bringing the time-jumping action drama back, and while the first episode's ratings aren't insanely unbelievable, they're definitely big enough to make the creative efforts worth it.

Let's first talk about how many eyeballs were blinking with excitement when Wentworth Miller's Michael finally appeared in front of Dominic Purcell's Linc. Though one might have assumed or hoped for a bigger viewership on the night, the Live+Same Day totals came out to 3.79 million people. All things considered, that's a pretty solid start for a show that hasn't had to win audiences over since 2009, and that total is actually higher than the group that watched the extended Season 4 finale, which was 3.3. million-strong. Prison Break's crowd can't readily compare to timeslot competitor Bull and its 10.98 million viewers, or even to NBC's freshman comedy Trial and Error, which bounced back from a rough week with an audience of 4.14 million.

However, Prison Break managed to break away from almost every other show in the pack when it came to the key demographic rating for adults 18-49. According to TV By the Numbers, Prison Break's revival was tied for the second highest demo stat with a dependable 1.5 rating, a number shared with CBS' viewer magnet NCIS. The only program to beat out those two series was The Voice and its 1.9 demo rating. It's extremely impressive for any show to match The Voice and NCIS on that level, since those are the kings of Tuesday night primetime. But if Prison Break gets more viewers accumulated during the delayed viewing period, Fox could see the twist drama become a more formidable opponent for other networks.

Shock isn't warranted in this situation, either, since Prison Break's return season has kept intact just about everything that made fans love it in the first place, unlike Fox's other comeback series, 24: Legacy. The same creator crafted the storyline, the main cast of major players is back, and the storyline is unpredictable and mystery-soaked. Plus, there are only nine episodes in the revival's limited run, so we don't even have to worry about it all getting bloated and overcooked. What's not to like about this?

Prison Break will continue to dole out clues and puzzle pieces every Tuesday night on Fox at 9:00 p.m. ET. Test your show wisdom by taking our Prison Break quiz, and then to see what other new and returning shows are heading to the small screen soon, check out our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.