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"Limitless" scores locally, but most new shows get off to weak start

Inquiring minds want to know: How have the new broadcast shows that made their debut this week done locally in the ratings?

It is not as easy to answer as it used to be, since so many people watch the programs at a different time than they are scheduled by the networks.

Additionally, the key rating concerns demographics, which aren’t immediately available locally.

But the live household rating certainly indicates if viewers instantly consider anything must-see TV.

Here is a look at the prime time results locally for the first three days of the season.

Monday: The “Big Bang Theory” wedding naturally was the highest-rated prime time show of the night – and undoubtedly until Sunday night when the Buffalo Bills visit Miami in a game that will end in prime time. “Big Bang” had a 17.2 rating on Channel 4. The quirky new sitcom that followed it, “Life in Pieces,” had a 9.7 rating. But more importantly, it lost almost half of its lead-in. Not a good sign.

NBC’s critically-acclaimed “Blindspot,” had a decent 5.7 rating on Channel 2 and narrowly won its 10 p.m. time period over CBS' "NCIS: Los Angeles" (5.6) and ABC's "Castle" (4.2). But "Blindspot" viewership dropped from a 7.0 at the start to a 4.9 at the end. Again, not a good sign -- unless most people DVRed the last 30 minutes.

The new 9 p.m. Fox series, “Minority Report,” based on the Steven Spielberg movie, had a meager 1.8 rating on Channel 29 (WUTV) and lost one-third of its audience from start to finish. Again, not a good sign.

Tuesday: The highest-rated of three news shows that premiered was my favorite, the CBS drama “Limitless.” It had a 8.1 rating at 10 p.m. and more importantly kept its audience from start to finish when viewers want to go to bed. ABC’s “The Muppets” also was a winner with a 7.3 rating on Channel 7 at 8 p.m., which can be a difficult hour to get an audience.

The two-hour premiere of Ryan Murphy’s new Fox comedy-drama, “Scream Queens,” had a 2.0 rating on WUTV and saw one third of its audience disappear by the end of the bizarre program that made me uncomfortable watching. In fairness, Fox programs typically don’t do well here in household ratings. And Murphy's shows tend to improve.

Wednesday: The new 8 p.m. Fox show about the “Beethoven of private pathologists” starring Morris Chestnut had a 3.7 rating on WUTV as the lead-in to “Empire.” That isn’t great, but audience built by 33 percent at 8:30 p.m., which could be the result of more people getting to their sets in anticipation of watching “Empire” or fleeing from the finale of CBS’ “Big Brother” (4.6) and ABC’s “The Goldbergs” (4.2).

As expected, “Empire,” which, in a bit of a stretch, featured Chris Rock as a powerful criminal and a foe of Cookie and Lucious Lyon, had the highest-rating of the night with a 7.3. That’s a big number locally for WUTV that is bound to grow with delayed viewing.

In other local ratings news of significance:

  • CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” got a Trump bump on Tuesday night. The visit by guest Donald Trump  led to a 5.2 rating on Channel 4, which was even higher than the local rating for the Colbert premiere two weeks earlier.
  • Mississippi’s upset of No. 2 Alabama Saturday night led by the quarterbacking of St. Joe’s graduate Chad Kelly – the nephew of Jim Kelly – had a 3.7 local rating on ESPN. That’s a very strong rating for college football here, especially considering the game was more than four hours long and ended around 1:30 a.m.
  • Channel 7’s revised morning program anchored by Katie Morse got some good news Wednesday when it doubled the rating at 6 a.m. from Tuesday's rating. That has to be somewhat encouraging. Still, it only had a 1.8 rating on Wednesday and is deep in third place in the local news race.
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