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the masked singer week 1 butterfly fox

Fall TV season is officially getting into gear, and this week featured the return of two highly-anticipated series: The Masked Singer and This Is Us. The two shows couldn’t be much more different, but it was possible that they would perform similarly in the ratings as two popular primetime shows. Now, the numbers are in for the Season 2 premiere of The Masked Singer on Fox and This Is Us Season 4 premiere on NBC, and there was a clear winner. Yes, The Masked Singer (which crushed in the ratings last season) kicked This Is Us’ butt. Let’s break it down.

In Live+Same day calculations, the two-hour Season 2 premiere of The Masked Singer on September 25 scored an enviable 2.5 rating in the 18-49 age demographic, with 7.90 million viewers in the same demo. The Masked Singer hit more than twice the ratings of its closest competitors, according to Deadline, which were Survivor’s Season 39 premiere and Big Brother’s Season 21 finale, both tied at 1.2 and both airing on CBS.

Interestingly, The Masked Singer had less of a massive lead on its Wednesday night competition in viewership. The 7.90 million was still the highest of the night, but it was closely followed by the Chicago Med Season 5 premiere on NBC with 7.41 million and the Chicago Fire premiere with 7.22 million on NBC. Still, with the 2.5 demo and 7.90 million viewers, The Masked Singer was easily dominant on its own night. So, how does it compare to This Is Us’ number for its Season 4 premiere?

Well, there was good news and bad news for This Is Us during its premiere night on September 24. The good news for the show, which may be going in some exciting new directions as Season 4 progresses, is that it won the night in the 18-49 demographic with a 1.8, with the closest competition being its lead-in, The Voice, and the premieres for NCIS on CBS and The Conners on ABC tying for third with a 1.3. That’s the good news.

The bad news? Deadline reports This Is Us wasn’t even in the top three in viewership on its own night. With 7.67 million people tuning in, This Is Us’ Season 4 premiere came in behind CBS’ NCIS, with 12.27 million, CBS’ FBI with 8.76 million, and NBC’s The Voice with 8.24 million. Hey, at least it came in fourth! So, how do The Masked Singer and This Is Us compare head-to-head?

The Masked Singer was ahead of This Is Us by 0.7 in the key 18-49 demo, thanks to The Masked Singer’s 2.5 and This Is Us’ 1.8. As for viewership, The Masked Singer had an edge of 0.23 million, with an audience of 7.90 vs. This Is Us’ 7.67. The difference in viewership isn’t too drastic, but The Masked Singer is the clear winner. So, does that mean This Is Us is in danger and The Masked Singer is sitting pretty behind its masks? Not so fast.

While The Masked Singer probably isn’t going anywhere any time soon and NBC won’t give up on This Is Us, we should still consider all the variables in play to contribute to the different numbers.

The Masked Singer kicked off the night on Fox with a highly-promoted two-hour premiere on a night with less overall competition in the 8 p.m. ET slot. Survivor is more consistent than record-setting, and the Chicago series performed strongly in their premieres, but Wednesday night at 8 p.m. is probably an easier time slot than Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET.

That’s the This Is Us time slot, which includes the final season of Empire on Fox and the second season of FBI. FBI beat This Is Us in viewership and has the advantage of NCIS as a lead-in, which easily won the night in viewership with 12.27 million.

This Is Us didn’t have two-hour premiere event packed with glitz and glamor like The Masked Singer, and This Is Us is arguably a show more suited to delayed viewing than The Masked Singer, if spoilers are to be avoided. The Masked Singer has a massive social media following. I’m interested to see how the ratings and viewership compare once Live+3 day and Live+7 numbers can be calculated.

You can catch new episodes of This Is Us on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, and new episodes of The Masked Singer on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET in the fall TV lineup.