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Brooklyn Nine-Nine had a wild ride in 2018, and not just because of the annual Halloween episode going bigger than ever before. The beloved show was cancelled by Fox in the spring, only to be saved and moved to NBC only a day later. Anticipation was high for the show's sixth season on its new platform, but fans had to wait until January 2019. Now the numbers are in for the NBC premiere to give an idea of how many folks actually tuned in, and they make for very good news.
The Season 6 premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine was the show's highest rated episode in the past two years, hitting its highest rating since January 1, 2017. It scored a 1.2 rating in the valuable 18-49 age demographic and was viewed by 3.6 million people in the 9-9:30 p.m. ET primetime block on NBC, and those are just the Live+Same day numbers. Once the ratings and viewership can be calculated for delayed viewers, they could get even higher.
The growth from Season 5's premiere on Fox to Season 6's premiere on NBC is 71% in ratings and 82% in total viewers. It's worth noting that the previous highest-rated broadcast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine from January 2017 was actually a special hour-long episode that followed a significant NFL game, so the sitcom undoubtedly benefited from audience overflow.
If we take those outlier ratings out of the equation, the Season 6 premiere was the highest-rated episodes in three years, since January 5, 2016.
Throw in the fact that it was also the most-watched episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine since December 2015, and NBC has a lot to be excited about. I also have to wonder how the folks over at Fox are feeling. NBC's first episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine at 9 p.m. actually beat Fox's episode of The Orville, which began at the same time, and it wasn't even close. TV By The Numbers reports The Orville score a 0.7 rating, compared to Brooklyn Nine-Nine's 1.2.
Of course, Brooklyn Nine-Nine wasn't a huge ratings winner in its later years on the network; did NBC get the boost for actually promoting the show, or simply because NBC generally beats Fox in the ratings?
In fall 2018, NBC was actually the highest-rated of the big 4 networks, although Fox was the only network to gain viewers. If Brooklyn Nine-Nine continues the trend from Fox, it could experience a big boost from delayed viewers. When delayed viewership numbers could be calculated after a week during Season 5, Brooklyn Nine-Nine great by an average of 86% in the ratings and 59% in viewership.
At this point, my big question is whether Brooklyn Nine-Nine can sustain these kind of impressive ratings. The comedy certainly deserves a huge audience (as does the criminally underrated Good Place, which airs after) in my book, but it's possible that a decent chunk of the audience tuned in out of curiosity as to how different the NBC version of the show would be from the Fox version.
Aside from the bleep button going into overdrive on a certain line from Andy Samberg, there weren't really any huge differences that I noted. Only time will tell if Brooklyn Nine-Nine continues to be a bigger winner on NBC than its previous network. Tune in to the Peacock Network on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET for new episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the midseason TV lineup.