Monday night was all about transitions, as NBC put its top-rated drama series to rest for the summer, while ABC introduced its newest scripted effort.
Per Nielsen fast affiliate ratings, the season finale of freshman drama Revolution delivered 6.28 million viewers and a 2.0 in the adults 18-49 demo. Should those numbers hold up, Revolution will have tied Fox’s The Following as the top-rated new series of 2012-13.
Both shows averaged a 2.6 in the dollar demo, topping CBS’ Elementary by one-tenth of a ratings point, per live-plus-same-day data.
UPDATE: According to the final live-plus-same-day data, Revolution indeed has tied The Following for the No. 1 slot. Among the two top-rated newcomers, The Following won out in the race for total deliveries, drawing 7.95 million viewers to Revolution’s 7.21 million.
Of the 34 new scripted series that were launched during the past season, only a handful averaged so much as a 2.0 in the demo. Along with the aforementioned Revolution, The Following and Elementary, the canceled CBS comedy Partners and the now-defunct NBC sitcom Go On both drew a 2.1 rating.
Revolution next season will lose its cushy post-Voice time slot (Mondays at 10 p.m.), ceding it to the much-anticipated new drama The Blacklist. In September, the post-apocalyptic adventure series will take over the Wednesday 8 p.m. slot formerly occupied by the shuttered sitcoms Animal Practice and Guys With Kids.
Going head-to-head with the Revolution finale was ABC’s new nighttime soap, Mistresses. ABC’s third official scripted launch of the summer, the BBC remake put up underwhelming opening numbers (4.40 million viewers/1.2 in the demo).
While broadcasters this summer are leaning heavily on scripted content, the early returns suggest that they may have to retrain viewers who have grown used to flipping over to cable during the sultry months. ABC’s Motive bowed May 20 to 6.52 million viewers and a 1.3 in the demo, while Season 4 of the Canadian import Rookie Blue drew 5.99 million viewers and a 1.2 on May 23. Fox’s comedy burnoff, The Goodwin Games, is averaging just 1.49 million viewers and a 0.6 in the demo on Monday nights, while the Anne Heche comedy Save Me is delivering 2.86 million viewers and a 0.7 on NBC’s Thursday night schedule.
Even the established reality programs have been unstable. ABC’s The Bachelorette last night scored a series low 1.7 in the demo and through its first two episodes is down 28 percent from the same time a year ago. Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance is down 20 percent (2.0 versus 2.5) through its first four episodes, while MasterChef is flat with a 2.3 rating.
The real game-changer could be CBS’ big-budget ($40 million) sci-fi series Under the Dome, which debuts Monday, June 24. Produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and CBS Television Studios and based on Stephen King’s doorstop of a novel, Under the Dome may well prove to be the biggest thing to hit the summertime airwaves since Survivor bowed in 2000.
Other high-profile summer drama launches include NBC’s Crossing Lines (Sunday, June 23), Siberia (Monday, July 1) and Camp (Wednesday, July 10). CBS also returns its reincarnated procedural Unforgettable for a 13-episode second season, beginning Sunday, July 28. Starring Poppy Montgomery and Dylan Walsh, Unforgettable averaged 11.3 million viewers and a 2.2 in the 18-49 demo over the course of its 2011-12 run.