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Star Trek finally returned to the small screen on September 24 with the series premiere of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS. The series will air the rest of its episodes on CBS All Access, and the size of its audience likely depends on how many people tuned in to watch the first two episodes. Well, preliminary ratings are in, and we have an idea of how well Discovery performed. All things considered, everybody at Discovery should feel quite encouraged by how many people watched the first couple of episodes.
In Live+Same day calculations (via TV By The Numbers), the two episodes of the series premiere were watched by 9.6 million people. Furthermore, the episodes scored an impressive 1.9 rating in the key 18-49 age demographic. Those numbers make the maiden voyage of Star Trek: Discovery the most-watched and highest-rated TV event other than football and news on the night of September 24. There's no saying how many of the people who tuned in will follow Discovery to CBS All Access, but the show is definitely off to a good start.
Interestingly, football almost certainly had an impact on the numbers for the Star Trek: Discovery series premiere. The Packers vs. Bengals football game on CBS ran long, which pushed back the airings of 60 Minutes and then Star Trek: Discovery. Packers vs. Bengals was an intense game for football fans, as it eventually went into overtime before being won by the Packers, but its overtime was probably a bummer for Star Trek fans who have been waiting a very long time for new material.
On the one hand, the huge audience for the NFL game may have helped Star Trek: Discovery. A whopping 20.60 million people watched the Packers vs. Bengals game, and the game scored a 5.5 in the 18-49 demographic, which made for the highest numbers in viewership and ratings for all of primetime on September 24. If some of those NFL viewers stuck around CBS after the game, they could have added to the audience for Star Trek: Discovery. It's worth noting that Discovery did not air directly after the football game, as 60 Minutes came before Discovery in the CBS lineup. 60 Minutes did well as well, with 13.52 million viewers and a 2.5 rating. Football may have helped 60 Minutes as well as Star Trek: Discovery.
That said, it's possible that the Packers vs. Bengals football game negatively affected the numbers for Star Trek: Discovery. Any folks who were planning on watching Discovery promptly at 8:30 p.m. ET, when it was scheduled to premiere, may not have been inclined to stick around. The first episode didn't actually begin until 8:48 p.m. ET. If people turned on CBS expecting to see Star Trek and only saw 60 Minutes, they might have changed the channel or given up on TV for the evening. Additionally, the delay likely messed up the DVR records for any who were planning on watching the episodes later.
We'll never know how Star Trek: Discovery would have performed if not for the NFL broadcast earlier in the day. Either way, the premiere did well. If you missed the episodes and/or would like to continue watching Star Trek: Discovery Season 1, you can catch new episodes (with crazy endings) on Sundays at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS All Access. If you haven't yet, be sure to drop by our breakdown of six big things we learned from Star Trek: Discovery's two-part premiere, and take a look at the awesome original series Easter egg that appeared in the premiere.