Television is a competitive business, and few shows are absolutely guaranteed renewals in their freshman years on the air. The exceptions tend to be spinoffs of series that are already popular or franchise installments. Now, a new show that is neither a spinoff nor a part of a franchise has gotten some very good news from its home network. The Good Doctor has scored a full-season order from ABC.
Only two episodes of The Good Doctor have aired so far, but it's easy to see why ABC has so much faith in the series as to already order a full first season. The Good Doctor is currently the top drama broadcast show on Mondays in the key 18-49 age demographic and in total viewers. The numbers represent a 50% bump for ABC in the 10 p.m. ET time slot. In Live+same day calculations from last week's premiere, The Good Doctor scored a 2.2 in the 18-49 demo and was watched by 11.4 million viewers.
While those ratings and viewership numbers from Live+same day calculations are certainly impressive, the real kicker comes from the numbers in Live+3 day calculations. The numbers for the series premiere jumped from a 2.2 rating and 11.4 million viewers in Live+same day to a 3.7 rating and 16.9 million viewers. The bump to 3.7 and 16.9 million makes The Good Doctor series premiere the biggest debut for any new series on any network in 3 years.
The second episode of The Good Doctor only aired on October 2, so it's too soon for any Live+3 day numbers, but the Live+same day numbers are already impressive. The Good Doctor's second episode was watched by 10.9 million people and scored a 2.2 in the 18-49 demographic, according to Deadline. Most shows experience a significant drop from the first week to the second, as series premieres tend to attract many curious viewers who may not want to watch the rest of the season. The second episode only lost 0.5 million viewers from the first episode, and the 18-49 demo stayed the same at 2.2. It's possible that the Live+3 numbers will tell us more about how many initial viewers returned for another episode.
That said, even if The Good Doctor loses a lot of its delayed viewership numbers, the retained audience in Live+same day bodes well for the series. ABC may have its next big hit with The Good Doctor, and fans don't have to worry that it will get the axe after an abbreviated season. The show will get a full season to expand on the stories about the surgeon with autism and savant syndrome as he faces unprecedented challenges in a prestigious surgical unit.