Resurrection Returns Strong for ABC

Haunting drama eclipses Sunday 9 p.m. competition

ABC on Sunday night notched a significant victory in the prime-time ratings race, as the second installment of its new supernatural drama series, Resurrection, dominated the fiercely competitive 9 p.m. time slot.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Resurrection scared up 11.3 million viewers and a 3.1 in the 18-49 demo, making it the night’s top-rated program. Resurrection retained 82 percent of its inaugural delivery (3.8), thereby putting a crimp in the time-slot premiere of NBC’s Believe.

After bowing in the 10 p.m. window behind NBC’s The Voice, the J.J. Abrams thriller Believe fell sharply upon taking up residence in its official slot. Last night’s installment of Believe lost nearly half (44 percent) of its opening rating, averaging a 1.5 in the dollar demo.

Believe finished third in the time slot, trailing Fox’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which dipped one-tenth of a ratings point to a 2.0. CBS’ recently renewed The Good Wife was flat with a 1.3 rating, although it did drop a tenth in the adults 25-54 demo (2.0).

All of which does not take into consideration AMC’s The Walking Dead, which posted 12.9 million viewers and a 6.4 in the demo, up a tenth versus the previous Sunday.

The Sunday 9 p.m. slot will only become that much more competitive on April 6, when HBO unveils the fourth season of George R. R. Martin’s bloody-minded fantasy series, Game of Thrones. The Season 3 premiere of Thrones delivered 4.37 million viewers and a 2.4 in the demo.

Meanwhile, the 10 p.m. launch of NBC’s serialized drama strip, Crisis, was met with a rather underwhelming reception, drawing 6.53 million viewers and a 1.6 in the demo. While Crisis improved on its lead-in by 7 percent, it was also NBC’s second lowest-rated drama premiere of the season, topping only Ironside, which rolled out Oct. 2 to a 1.3 rating.

It’s worth noting that NBC has not attempted to launch an original drama series—not to mention two of them—on a Sunday night since March 2009, when it rolled out the 13-part potboiler, Kings. Four episodes into its run, NBC shifted Kings to a Saturday night slot, effectively consigning the remainder of the show to burn-off land.

All told, ABC won the night outright, posting a 2.4 rating in prime. And while the network has only won a single weekly ratings race, averaging a 3.3 during the week of the Academy Awards, a strong Sunday lineup coupled with solid numbers of Thursdays and Fridays suggests that ABC could be turning a corner. UPDATE: ABC took the Week 25 ratings crown, averaging a 1.9 in the demo to NBC’s 1.7, CBS’ 1.6 and Fox’s 1.4. This marks the first non-Oscars regular season win for ABC since the final week of the 2012-13 season.

Naturally, Resurrection will have to hold up in subsequent weeks if it’s to have any lasting impact on ABC’s Sunday night lineup. But for the time being, the show’s performance is encouraging.

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