The temperature may be dropping, but the ratings game is just heating up this winter! The week of February 9 was packed with notable TV events, ranging from the Survivor: Winners at War premiere to The Conners going live to the 2020 Academy Awards, not to mention the latest in One Chicago! As usual, the numbers aren't always entirely straightforward, so it's worth diving into the most notable ratings events, the developing trends, and what these numbers mean for the rest of the 2019-2020 TV season following the week of February 9!
Note: all calculations are Live+Same day in the 18-49 age demographic.
Survivor Didn't Outplay The Wednesday Night Competition
Survivor made its long-awaited return to CBS on February 12 to pit some of the best of the best against each other in the Winners at War season. Survivor: Winners at War was debuting in a competitive time slot on a competitive night amidst popular shows that were already into their current seasons, but Survivor is usually big for CBS in the 8 p.m. ET hour, and the two-hour Winners at War premiere was a great hook. So, how did it fare against the biggest shows of Wednesday primetime?
Well, Survivor survived, but it didn't outplay, outwit, or outlast all the competition on February 12. The Winners at War premiere, which ran from 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday night, scored a rating of 1.4 and an audience of 6.69 million, both of which were down from the previous season's numbers. These numbers weren't enough to put Survivor altogether above its four biggest competitors: The Masked Singer on Fox and Chicago Med on NBC at 8 p.m., and LEGO Masters on Fox and Chicago Fire on NBC at 9 p.m.
The Masked Singer dominated the night in the ratings, with its 1.8 easily beating Survivor's 1.4, although Survivor did come in second, followed by LEGO Masters in third with 1.2 and the two Chicago series with 1.1 each tied for fourth. Survivor did have the edge on The Masked Singer in viewership, but not by much. Survivor's 6.69 million premiere vs. The Masked Singer's 6.25 million for a regular episode doesn't really qualify as a major win for Survivor, in my book.
And both Survivor and Masked Singer fell well behind Chicago Med and Fire in audience size, with Med's 8.13 million and Fire's 8.24 million. In fact, even Chicago P.D. in the 10 p.m. slot beat both Survivor and Masked Singer in viewership, with its 6.98 million.
So, was Survivor: Winners at War a loser on the night of February 12? Definitely not, according to the numbers from TV Series Finale that place it in second in both key categories, and Riverdale was easily the loser of the night. Still, a two-hour premiere event bringing back 20 fan-favorites not defeating other series' regular episodes isn't the strongest start.
The Conners Live Episode Livens Up ABC
The Conners went live for its broadcast on Tuesday, February 11 on ABC. While opinions about how well the live episode actually went seem to be mixed and there were no notable flubs to go viral after either the Eastern or the Western broadcast, the live airing was a hit for ABC in the time slot and on the night.
In fact, The Conners won its time slot and almost the entire night in the ratings, which is not common for a half-hour sitcom not starring Sheldon Cooper. In the 8 p.m. ET time slot, The Conners rose 25% in the ratings to hit 1.1 and almost 20% in viewership for 6.34 million. This put the Conner family above Gibbs and Co. on NCIS, with the long-running CBS drama only winning a 1.0. I don't know that the big boosts and ratings win over NCIS means The Conners will go live again, but it certainly worked as a one-off event!
And the boost in the 8 p.m. slot seemingly carried forward through the rest of Tuesday, February 11 for ABC. Bless This Mess at 8:30 p.m. was up more than 20% in the ratings and more than 6% in viewership, hitting 0.7 and 3.6 million respectively. Mixed-ish was up 30% in the ratings with 0.6 and 10% in audience size with 2.57 million at 9 p.m., and Black-ish followed with a 33% ratings bump to 0.6 and 18% bump in viewership to 2.54 million at 9:30 p.m.
With the exception of This Is Us on NBC at 9 p.m., TV Series Finale numbers show no series other than the ABC comedies grew on February 11. ABC premiered new drama For Life at 10 p.m. ET, which won its time slot in the ratings with 0.7 vs. FBI: Most Wanted and New Amsterdam's 0.6 each. For Life was third in audience size at 10 p.m. with 3.18 million, but all in all, ABC had a strong night anchored by The Conners with the live episode.
The 2020 Oscars Weren't Golden For ABC
For the second week in a row, Sunday night primetime was dominated by a once-annual special broadcast. Unlike the massive boost Fox experienced from the 2020 Super Bowl (and its commercials) on February 2, however, ABC had a disappointing night with the 2020 Academy Awards. That doesn't mean it didn't destroy the competition on the night of February 9, but the ratings and viewership were somewhat unfortunate in the grand scheme of things.
First, the good news. The Oscars of course won primetime in a big way on February 9, and not just because all the other broadcast networks (including The CW) were airing repeats rather than attempting to compete with the Academy Awards. The event started strong coming off of the red carpet pre-show, which scored a rating of 2.9 and 15 million viewers (via TV Series Finale).
Then the broadcast itself, starting at 8 p.m. ET, won a rating of 5.3 and audience of 23.6 million in early numbers. Impressive, right? Maybe not quite the Super Bowl the week before with the demo rating of 25.9 and audience of 85.25 million, but good for ABC on February 9! So, why am I saying that the Oscars weren't golden for ABC? For that, we have to look back to past broadcasts.
The 2020 audience was actually the smallest in Academy Award broadcast history, and the difference from last year isn't even close. The 2020 viewership dropped a massive 20% from the 2019 broadcast, which hit 29.6 million. As if that wasn't enough, the 2019 Oscars hit a demo rating of 7.7, more than two full points above ABC's 2020 presentation.
Considering both 2019 and 2020 broadcasts aired on ABC, I'm guessing these numbers had to disappoint to some of the folks at the Alphabet Network. But hey, at least it beat all the repeats, and ABC had those wins on Tuesday!
Are Grey's Anatomy And Station 19 Becoming The Next One Chicago?
If you're a regular reader of CinemaBlend's ratings roundups, you may have noticed my slight preoccupation with the numbers for NBC's One Chicago block on Wednesday nights. The ratings and viewership for Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago P.D. are almost ludicrously consistent and tend to take three high slots for drama ratings and viewership each week. Recent events led me to ask the question: are ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Station 19 on Thursdays trying to become the next One Chicago?
With ABC's two shared universe dramas airing in one block on Thursday nights with seemingly more frequent crossovers than ever before, Grey's Anatomy and Station 19 the 2019-2020 season feel to me like they are chasing what One Chicago achieved on NBC: consistency and connection. Now, the numbers from the February 13 broadcasts of Grey's and Station 19 suggest that maybe ABC is pulling it off.
ABC's shared universe block kicked off on Thursday, February 13 at 8 p.m. ET with an episode of Station 19, which TV Series Finale reports won a rating of 0.9 and audience of 5.98 million. In the 9 p.m. hour, Grey's Anatomy continued a thread of a family of foster kids that started on Station 19 with an episode that produced a 1.0 rating and 5.55 million viewers.
Yes, Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy were within 0.1 in the ratings and less than half a million viewers of each other on February 13. While both shows actually slightly dropped in the demo ratings this week to hit their 0.9 and 1.0, they both grew around 1% in audience size in their 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday night slots. Their numbers are similar and, yes, comparable to Chicago Med and Chicago Fire in the corresponding time slots on Wednesdays.
Med and Fire were equal in the ratings this week with 1.1, which is actually a bit of an outlier, as Med is usually slightly on top. Like Grey's and Station 19 this week, Med and Fire were less than half a million apart in viewership, with Med's 8.13 million and Fire's 8.24.
Of course, until ABC premieres its own version of Chicago P.D. to fill a whole night of primetime, One Chicago and Grey's/Station 19 won't be 100% comparable, and this week's numbers may not mark the beginning of a trend. We'll have to wait and see. At this point, all I really want is for ABC to give me its version of a "One Chicago" name so I can stop writing Grey's/Station 19!
There you have the rundown of the biggest twists, trends, and specials from the February 9 week of TV ratings! This Sunday will see the return of regular programming, Monday will see a big finale, Wednesday won't have One Chicago ahead of a big crossover, and more that will undoubtedly yield some interesting numbers. Be sure to check back with CinemaBlend for another ratings roundup next week!