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Roseanne returned to the small screen with its revival to score huge numbers in ratings and viewership for ABC. The series, which had been off the air since 1997, attracted so many viewers that it was already breaking records with its very first episode. Subsequent weeks gave the impression that Roseanne could continue to dominate the airwaves for its entire revival season. Now, however, it seems to be safe to say that the show's overwhelming domination is ending. After several weeks of declining numbers, the Roseanne revival has hit its lowest in both ratings and viewership.
The latest episode of Roseanne aired on May 1, and Live+Same day calculations reveal that 10.42 million people tuned in and scored a 2.6 rating in the key 18-49 age demographic. On the one hand, 10.42 million and a 2.6 rating are still impressive, and they were enough for Roseanne to still emerge as the top-rated show of Tuesday night. Its closest competitor in ratings was NCIS, which TV By The Numbers reports scored only a 1.2 rating. Unfortunately for Roseanne, however, the 10.42 million was the lowest audience of the revival to date and made it the second most-watched show of the night behind NCIS.
To compare, the latest NCIS episode was viewed by 12.35 million viewers, putting it nearly 2 million viewers ahead of Roseanne. Perhaps more significant is the fact that Roseanne only just beat another CBS show in viewership. Bull (starring NCIS alum Michael Weatherly) was watched by 10.37 million people. Roseanne came very close to coming in third for the first time since it premiered on March 27.
Given the impending departure of NCIS fan-favorite Abby, Roseanne's loss to NCIS might have felt like a fluke in viewership as audiences tuned in to see Abby's penultimate episode. While it may be true that NCIS got a boost because of the upcoming departure of Abby, there's no denying that Roseanne's viewership has consistently fallen from week to week. The 10.42 million is a significant drop from the 18.44 million who tuned in for the two-part premiere back in March. The viewership has dropped each week, and the 10.42 million marks a 21% drop from the previous week's viewership of 13.264.
All of this said, fans of Roseanne don't need to worry that the dropping viewership numbers will lead to a cancellation. The revival was already renewed for another season, and it continues to dominate Tuesday nights in key demographic ratings. Still, the falls in viewership from week to week can't make the folks at ABC too happy. Something tells me Roseanne won't be scoring the kind of numbers to beat juggernaut series like The Walking Dead any more in its current season. Maybe next season will be different, especially if Roseanne can land Johnny Galecki for more than a single episode. Could David and Darlene still have a shot?
Tune in to ABC on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET if you want to see what happens next on Roseanne. For more viewing options now and in the not-too-distant future, swing by our summer TV premiere schedule.