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The Rookie isn't quite in ratings jail yet, but it just got itself a big warning.
The last time we checked in on Nathan Fillion's freshman series, it was high off ABC ordering a full season of 20 episodes. That was back before Episode 4. The show just aired its 12th episode on February 12, and the Valentine's Day-themed "Heartbreak" hit a new viewer/ratings low.
The Rookie had 3.64 million viewers this week, with a 0.6 rating/share in the 18-49 demographic. That's the lowest number of air date viewers so far, and a tie for the lowest rating. The previous 0.6 rating came from the winter return episode on January 8 (with 3.95 million viewers) which had the funky delayed time of 10:20 to 11:20 p.m.
Episode 12 was also something of a return. The Rookie's previous new episode aired January 22, so it's possible fans were confused by the schedule and didn't know when it would return. Either way, it's not an encouraging sign to see the show already hitting some ratings speed bumps.
That said, ABC's Tuesday night schedule is notoriously troubled. As TVLine noted in its own Tuesday "Death Slot" Ratings chart, the network has a history of cancelling shows on Tuesday nights. For the past several years, most shows premiering in that timeslot have not received a season renewal. Recent casualties include Wicked City, Of Kings & Prophets, and Kevin (Probably) Saves the World.
However, The Rookie may actually be able to beat the curse and get a Season 2. For one thing, it seems to do pretty well with DVR viewers, basically doubling its take each week from around 4 million to 8 million. It also gets a boost in the advertiser-loving 18-49 demo. So, if that matters, ABC may renew the show -- and maybe even give it a new day/time? If you want to invest in a show, you may want to move it away from the Tuesday night death slot.
The Rookie premiered to 5.43 million viewers and a 1.0 rating, which doesn't look great next to timeslot competitor New Amsterdam on NBC, but was great for ABC's Tuesday at 10 p.m. timeslot! It was enough to beat CBS's NCIS: New Orleans in the ratings (1.0 vs. 0.8), but that's no longer the case. Now both New Amsterdam and NCIS: NO are topping The Rookie.
According to TV by the Numbers, on February 12, New Amsterdam had 5.69 million viewers and a 1.0 rating, NCIS: New Orleans had 7.16 million viewers and a 0.8 rating, and The Rookie had 3.64 million and a 0.6 rating.
The NCIS spinoff may have been riding the wave of excitement from the night's earlier NCIS Ziva twist, which got that show a big ratings boost. It's very possible The Rookie will bounce back this week -- now that more fans know the show is not on a break, and there may not be carryover for CBS with NCIS.
Either way, we'll keep an eye on Castle alum Nathan Fillion's new cop show as it continues in its 20-episode first season Tuesdays at 10 p.m., and let you know when ABC announces its renewal/cancellation fate for Season 2. Here's what else is airing on TV during midseason 2019.