The Conners‘ ratings are in, and while they’re not particularly noteworthy either way as noted by Deadline, they do indicate that ABC can relax – for the moment, anyway – when it comes to deciding whether or not to keep the show on the air.
WARNING: The remainder of this article contains open spoilers for Episode 1, proceed at your own risk.
As you are no doubt aware by now, The Conners is the retooled and renamed version of Roseanne, which was itself rebooted last season amid a wave of long-gone shows (like NBC’s Will & Grace) being brought back a decade or more after cancellation.
Roseanne debuted last year to gonzo ratings for the Disney-owned network, and in a lot of ways picked up right where the previous iteration of the show had left off. The show wasn’t afraid to tackle important issues head-on, including the political divide wrought by the Trump administration; opioid dependence; and the realities of life in a lower middle-class Midwestern family.
After Barr’s offensive tweets about an African-American woman got the show canceled, ABC wasn’t ready to let go of a ratings winner. After meetings with the cast, producers, and writers, the network made the decision to bring back the show without star – and namesake – Roseanne. The show is now The Conners, title character Roseanne having been killed off via an opioid overdose.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 17, 2018
Following Tuesday night’s debut of the retooled show, the ratings are in. And as Deadline reported, they’re basically middling, neither particularly good nor particularly bad. Early results show that the reboot brought in a 7.7/13 in metered-market ratings. What that industry-speak means, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is that the show brought in 18.44 million viewers and a 5.2 rating among adults 18-49.
Now to look at those numbers in a deeper context. Compared to the first episode of Roseanne last season, the first episode of The Conners was nothing short of a dud, falling well short of the Roseanne premiere’s ratings. But, compared to the final episode of the most recent season of Roseanne, the ratings are basically the same, if not a smidgen ahead.
Looking even deeper: The Conners was the second-most-watched Tuesday night show last night, coming in behind NCIS. And compared to all of the new and returning shows that have so far debuted this fall, The Conners is not a ratings powerhouse but is “one the fall’s better premieres,” according to Hollywood Reporter writer Rick Porter.
So what does this mean for the future of The Conners? For now, it’s far too early to say. But as Deadline reporter Dominic Patten writes, sighs of relief are being breathed in the offices of ABC executives – for now.