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One Way ABC's A Million Little Things Is Killing It In The Ratings

Maggie is shown recording her talk show on A Million Little Things.
(Image credit: ABC)

The measure of how many viewers are watching a TV show live isn’t quite as what used to be. In the world of DVR, appointment viewing has decreased significantly, especially for shows with a fanbase like A Million Little Things with fans who tend to catch up a little late. Given its late weekday time slot, it’s not surprising that people might be waiting a day or two (or seven) to catch up on the lives of Rome, Gary, Eddie, et al. What is surprising is just how many people are doing this, as A Million Little Things has seen bigger jumps in delayed viewership than any broadcast on a major network in more than six months.

A Million Little Things returned to ABC in September for its fourth season, and the ratings have consistently shown a huge increase in the number of viewers tuning in over the course of a week. Viewership numbers can be a handful, so let’s break down exactly what A Million Little Things is doing and just how big of a deal that is.

With both its October 6 episode, “Game Night,” and its November 3 episode, “Six Months Later” (the most recent episode for which information is available), A Million Little Things more than tripled its demo rating (viewers ages 18-49) over seven days, going from .20 in Live+Same Day viewing to .70 in Live+7 — a 250% increase, per SpoilerTV. No other show on ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC has had as big of a percentage increase-- at least, since Clarice in April

When looking at total viewership, the numbers are just as impressive. “Six Months Later” went from 1.8 million Live+Same Day viewers to 4 million Live+7 viewers — an increase of 129% and its biggest jump since “Game Night,” which went from 1.7 million Live+Same Day to 4 million Live+7 for a 135% increase. In fact, every episode this season has more than doubled in total viewership over the course of a week.

So what does that mean for A Million Little Things? It shows that while many people aren’t willing to stay up until 10 p.m. ET on a Wednesday to watch the show, they are making a priority to get to it all the same. Not that long ago, such low same-day ratings would likely have spelled doom for a series, but in seeing how big of a bump the ABC drama gets in delayed viewing, the network can make a more informed decision on its longevity, as well as how to advertise for it.

Season 4 of A Million Little Things started with a bang, picking up after a wild Season 3 finale cliffhanger that showed Gary attacking Peter, the music teacher who assaulted Sophie. With that storyline wrapping up (or is it?), viewers have now turned their attention to Gary's love life, wondering if we’ve seen the last of Darcy, and if there’s a chance of rekindling a romance with Maggie. 

Aside from Gary, Season 4 has seen Katherine discovering new things about herself as she re-enters the world of dating amid her divorce. Eddie got closure with the woman who left him paralyzed and is putting his energy into his recovery. And Rome continues to try to effect change in the world, if only the world would let him show his documentary. A Million Little Things returns at 10 p.m. ET December 1 on ABC. Check out our 2021 TV schedule to see what else is coming up through the end of the year.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.