The first casualty of the fall television season came last week when ABC axed low-rated freshman comedy Manhattan Love Story, but today finds the small screen world in better spirits. CBS, currently the top-rated major cable network, has committed to all four of its new drama series, picking up back-nine orders for NCIS: New Orleans, Scorpion, Madam Secretary and Stalker.
That brings each show to a full 22 episode first season. Out of the series, spinoff NCIS: New Orleans and genius-crisis-solvers drama Scorpion rank as the first and second most-watched new broadcast dramas of the fall season, making their increased episode orders absolute no-brainers.
NCIS: New Orleans, which is led by Scott Bakula and follows behind only NCIS (which it leads out on Tuesdays) in terms of ratings, has been raking in a jaw-dropping 18.6 million viewers, as well as a 2.8 in the key 18-to-49 demographic. The spinoff has been met with positive reviews and continues CBS’ sturdy relationship with the media franchise (in addition to airing NCIS, the network also houses spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles).
Scorpion, lacking the helpful foundation of an NCIS spinoff, has also been performing very strongly on Mondays. The series, based on the life of genius hacker Walter O’Brien, brought in 10.5 million viewers and a 2.4 rating for its latest installment. Overall, it has been drawing a tremendous 15.17 million viewers and a solid 3.6 in the 18-to-49 demographic.
Tea Leoni starrer Madam Secretary, the top-rated Sunday scripted show, has a cushy spot leading into acclaimed flagship series The Good Wife and has been averaging an excellent 13.5 million viewers and a 1.8 in the key demographic. The highly positive reception for the series must also be pleasing CBS execs.
Finally, Stalker is the odd one out in terms of CBS’ full season orders – the Kevin Williamson thriller series, which stars Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q, has been roundly trashed for its gruesome violence and derogatory themes. Despite that derision, though, those ratings don’t lie – Stalker has been scaring up a solid 9.5 million viewers and a 2.1 in the 18-to-49 demographic. That’s less than the other series but still acceptable for the network. With those numbers, it could still have a future on CBS, which has a track record of keeping poorly reviewed but solidly rated shows around.
The four series join a crowded lineup including CSI, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, The Good Wife, Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods, Person of Interest, Elementary, Under the Dome, Extant and the forthcoming CSI: Cyber, Battle Creek and Zoo. Meanwhile, CBS is revving up to premiere its lone new comedy, The McCarthys, this Thursday.
Tell us, are you watching NCIS: New Orleans, Scorpion, Madam Secretary or Stalker? And if so, are you excited to hear that all of the freshman dramas will be airing full 22-episode first seasons? Or are you tiring of them already?