This has been an unconventional year of television, to say the very least, but the broadcast networks are slowly but surely getting into gear for the fall TV season. Some of the biggest shows on network TV have already made their returns for the final months of 2020, while others are still weeks away from premiering. Throw in the professional sports seasons overlapping each other this fall, and primetime is more than a little competitive. So, let's take a look at the ratings to see which shows are winning and which are not!
The week of October 11 saw a couple of very big premieres to go with shows like The Masked Singer and Dancing with the Stars that had already made their triumphant returns, while the NFL, NBA, and MLB all tried to attract primetime audiences in the same week. Read on for some big questions that are left following this week's biggest standouts in the ratings!
Note: all ratings and viewership are Live+Same day in the 18-49 age demographic.
Can Anything Beat The Masked Singer?
The Masked Singer has been a ratings juggernaut ever since its bonkers premiere back in early 2019. Season 4 premiered with new COVID restrictions in place on September 23, and the episodes that have aired so far prove that a pandemic hasn't prevented fans from flocking back to Fox for the series. Airing its latest installment on Wednesday, October 14 at 8 p.m. ET, The Masked Singer easily won its time slot with a 1.6 rating and 6.14 million audience, which TV Series Finale reports are bumps from the previous week. The question now is: can anything actually beat The Masked Singer?
The answer is a little bit complicated. The Masked Singer's biggest competition at the moment is Big Brother on CBS in the 8 p.m. slot, which put up a respectable 1.0 rating and 4.11 million audience on October 14. Big Brother's days are numbered, however, and Wednesdays are going to start to get crowded. ABC will add comedies The Goldbergs and American Housewife to the 8 p.m. hour by late October, and NBC's Chicago Med premieres on November 11. Admittedly, the comedies probably don't pose a threat to The Masked Singer, but Chicago Med should draw some pretty big numbers.
If anything can beat The Masked Singer this fall, Chicago Med is the most likely winner, but Med generally came in behind Masked Singer in past seasons. It's worth nothing that The Masked Singer is followed by Ken Jeong's I Can See Your Voice at 9 p.m., which has scored decent numbers so far (1.0 rating and 4.06 million on October 14), but nothing close to The Masked Singer, and the numbers have been dropping. To compare, Chicago Fire following Med at 9 p.m. on NBC tends to have very similar ratings to its lead-in, so perhaps the competition between Fox and NBC on Wednesdays will be stiffer than usual in this unconventional 2020 season?
Is The Amazing Race Going To Be Less Than Amazing?
The Amazing Race finally returned to CBS for the first time in more than a year on October 14, airing after Big Brother in the 9 p.m. slot. Up against only Fox's I Can See Your Voice and The CW's Coroner at 9 p.m. and coming off of a very long hiatus, The Amazing Race seemed like a surefire win. So, its unfortunate numbers from the Season 32 premiere are pretty surprising, and may indicate that the new season isn't going to be amazing in the ratings.
The first new episode of The Amazing Race since all the way back in June 2019 dropped more than 40% in both ratings and viewership from the previous finale, with an unfortunate 0.7 rating and audience of just 3.43 million. While the Season 32 premiere at least easily beat Coroner with its 0.1 and 0.8 million, it was behind even the 2020 Billboard Music Awards that took up all three hours of NBC's primetime on Wednesday night, although not by much. The Billboard Awards had a rating of 0.8 and viewership of 3.57 million.
Honestly, I'm more concerned by the 40% drop than by the actual numbers for ratings and viewership. There are always variables when it comes to nights of primetime, but the show dropping that significantly from season to season isn't a good sign. The competition will begin growing in the 9 p.m. Wednesday slot, too. The Conners and black-ish will take over 9 p.m. on ABC, and Chicago Fire returns to NBC on November 11. Throw in I Can See Your Voice, and things aren't looking too amazing for The Amazing Race.
Can The Bachelorette Stay On Top Of Tuesdays?
Bachelor Nation moved from its regular Monday night slot for the fall 2020 season for the long-awaited premiere of The Bachelorette Season 16, starring Clare Crawley (for now) on October 13. With Dancing with the Stars taking up the 8 p.m. ABC hour on Mondays, The Bachelorette is in fresh territory. With the exception of the Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans NFL game on CBS, The Bachelorette was on top of the competition at 8 p.m. with a 1.3 demo rating and 4.76 million viewers, according to TV Series Finale.
That said, coming out on top of NBC's Weakest Link, Fox's Cosmos: Possible Worlds, and The CW's broadcast of DC Universe's Swamp Thing isn't the biggest accomplishment on television, and the 8 p.m. hour isn't always going to be so relatively uneventful. NCIS returns as CBS' reliable winner on November 17 at 8 p.m. The rest of the 8 p.m. hour might not actually matter that much; my money is on the Tuesday night ratings battle going down between The Bachelorette and NCIS each week.
Fortunately for The Bachelorette, NBC's This Is Us doesn't air until 9 p.m., so that's one less scripted juggernaut to face on Tuesday nights. We'll have to wait and see if what could be a very messy season of The Bachelorette can hold its ground opposite NCIS Season 18's blast to the past.
Do People Care About Baseball?
Baseball may be America's pastime, but Major League Baseball isn't winning the attention of as many viewers as might have been expected for the 2020 season. This season was shortened due to the pandemic that pushed the usual openers back, and the eventual return finally delivered live events to fans who were dying for fresh sports content. That said, neither of the National League Championship Series games that aired on Fox at 8 p.m. this week resulted in any World Series-worthy ratings.
The Monday, October 12 game between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers tied for second in the ratings with an 0.9 (via TV Series Finale), holding even with the Monday broadcast of Big Brother on CBS and coming behind ABC's Dancing with the Stars (which hit a 1.0 rating). Every network -- including The CW! -- actually increased their week-to-week series ratings and viewership in the 8 p.m. slot. MLB came in third in viewership with 3.3 million, behind Big Brother's 3.9 million and Dancing with the Stars' 6.1 million.
As for the Thursday, October 15 game between the Braves and the Dodgers on Fox, TV Series Finale reports MLB scored an 0.7 rating and just 2.51 million viewers. That said, MLB was facing an unusual night of competition in the 8 p.m. hour. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump held dueling town halls on ABC and NBC, respectively. With Biden's special winning a 2.6 rating and 12.71 million viewers, and Trump's earning a 1.7 rating and 10.4 million, no other broadcasts even came close at 8 p.m. Still, were these numbers for Monday and Thursday flukes, or do people really not care so much about baseball this fall?
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news now and in the coming weeks, and be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule for some viewing options on the way soon!
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).