ABC is getting behind its new cop drama, The Rookie. The Nathan Fillion-led series made its debut this past Tuesday. The good news? While the numbers weren't spectacular overall, the premiere delivered ratings the Alphabet Network is proud to point out. That is because the series powered ABC to record heights in the time slot.
The Rookie is now ABC's most-watched drama debut in the 10 p.m. Tuesday slot in a long time. Seven and a half years, to be exact. The series catapulted to those levels with a total viewership of 5.4 million. ABC also reported that it tied as its top-rated show in the highly-coveted 18-49 demo in over 4 and a half years with a 1.0 rating. The impressive stats from The Rookie's premiere did not end there.
The police procedural landed ABC's best overall numbers in Tuesday's 10 p.m. ET time slot in years, with the highest viewership since September 2014 and the highest demographic ratings since September 2016. That means The Rookie's debut was a big hit for ABC not just by series premiere standards. To say The Rookie got off to a running start for the network may be an understatement. There is a caveat to the ratings news though.
The Rookie's hopeful beginning is being heralded due to the performance of its time slot predecessors. We have to put this news into perspective. For whatever reason, Tuesday's 10 p.m. slot has traditionally been a disaster zone for ABC. For the past five years, no show that has premiered in the time slot has received a season renewal. That does not bode well for the freshman drama. If The Rookie breaks that half-decade curse, its current success would be all the more impressive.
Considering the history of the troubled time slot, it would be a massive accomplishment for Nathan Fillion's starring vehicle to pull off. If there is a show that may have a shot it, it is his. Fillion's show did get off to a record start, and he is an actor with an avid following. Castle did exceptionally well for ABC, and the fan base he developed on that show should potentially follow him to this one.
If The Rookie can develop a strong enough following in its Tuesday slot, it could potentially be moved. Making room on a set television time slot can be tricky. If it continues doing well, the potential for a time slot switch is there. That way ABC could enhance its visibility.
Despite being a cop drama, The Rookie is currently at the end of a non-stop comedy block from ABC. Its lead-in is the returning series Splitting Up Together, starring The Office's Jenna Fischer. New episodes of The Rookie air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. Nathan Fillion's new series is a part of the ongoing slate of fall premieres.