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New series network battle tonight is between an angelic series and a devilish one


Two new network programs premiere tonight at the same time and may find it difficult to find an audience opposite NBC’s popular “Chicago Med.”

If you missed my season preview on Sept. 11, here is a mini-review of the two series airing at 9 tonight. You could call it a battle between an angelic series and a devilish one.

“Notorious”: ABC (Channel 7) : Daniel Sunjata (“Rescue Me”) is a powerful, unscrupulous attorney who makes deals with a TV show producer and manipulates the media to benefit his clients in an overstuffed pilot. The murder mystery that ensues is all rather preposterous in a show that could become a guilty pleasure. No deal with me. 2 stars 

“The Pitch”: Fox (Channel 29): Canadian actress Kylie Bunbury stars as a female pitching prodigy raised by her father (Michael Beach) to break gender barriers and pitch in the major leagues. Mark-Paul Gosselaar co-stars as the catcher. Bunbury looks like a star and the pilot has a sweet, angelic quality. But since Steven Bochco couldn’t make his baseball series “Bay City Blues” work, I can’t see this one lasting a full season. It may especially be hard to attract a crowd in Western New York, since local Fox affiliate WUTV is struggling to get an audience for most of Fox’s shows. 2 and a half stars

Of course, live and same day ratings are no longer as important as they used to be because so much of the viewership of shows comes later via On Demand or some other secondary way.

With that caveat, here is how the new shows have done in WNY so far on opening week in reverse order:

Wednesday: ABC’s new comedy “Speechless” was the top-rated new program of the night with a 6.0 rating on Channel 7. Even more impressive, it beat its lead-in “The Goldbergs” (5.7) and the show that followed it, “Modern Family” (4.6). Kiefer Sutherland’s heavily-promoted “Designated Survivor” had a 5.8 rating, which is decent at 10 p.m. even if more was expected. Fox’s reboot of “Lethal Weapon” had a 5.0 rating, which is impressive at 8 p.m. for WUTV. It was in range of the season premiere of the big Fox hit “Empire,” which had a 5.5 rating.

Tuesday: CBS’ “Bull” with Michael Weatherly is No. 1 with a  13.5 rating, which was even higher than its extremely popular lead-in, “NCIS.”  The 10 p.m. premiere of NBC’s heavily-promoted “This is Us” had a decent 6.9 rating with the help of a lead-in from “The Voice” (9.7).

Monday:  The premiere of the new Kevin James comedy, “Kevin Can Wait,” on CBS had an 11.2 rating with the help of the 14.7 lead-in provided by the season premiere of “The Big Bang Theory.” The two episode premiere of the new NBC comedy “The Good Place” had a 5.4 rating on Channel 2. The show moves to its regular time slot tonight.

Of course, the ratings for opening episodes are as much a product of promotion and star power so the key is to see how many satisfied viewers will return for the second and third episodes.

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