TV Ratings: Reimagined ‘Wonder Years’ Debuts on ABC, ‘Chicago’ Trio Dominates Primetime

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The much-anticipated reimagined reboot of “The Wonder Years” debuted on ABC last Wednesday night during Premiere Week. The coming-of-age dramedy, starring Elisha “EJ” Williams and narrated by Don Cheadle, drew in 3.07 million viewers and a rating of 0.6 in the key, ages 18-49 demographic per Nielsen’s Live+Same Day overnight ratings. Though “The Wonder Years” tied as the highest-rated new series debut in the key demo with “FBI: International” and Fox’s new singing competition “Alter Ego,” it did not outscore NBC’s “Chicago” trio season premieres (“Med,” “Fire,” and “PD”) which often dominates its three-hour block. They attracted 6.54, 7.03 and 6.35 million viewers, respectively.

“We want to really take the opportunity to show a part of Black, middle-class life that had not been seen before. Usually, when you talk about the late ’60s, it’s talking about the struggle in the civil rights movement and things like that, that are very valid and a part of our story as well,” creator and executive producer Saladin K. Patterson said during the “The Wonder Year’s” Television Critics Association press tour panel on Aug. 26. The show, which is set in Montgomery, Ala., during the 1960s, also stars Dulé Hill, Saycon Sengbloh, Laura Kariuki, Julian Lerner, Amari O’Neil and Milan Ray. Per a source at ABC, “The Wonder Years” held 100% of its lead-in in adults 18-49, opposite the second half-hours of “The Masked Singer” and “Survivor” premieres, and the alphabet network is hopeful it might even build on its lead-in in Nielsen’s Live+3 ratings.

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CBS’ Season 41 return of “Survivor” almost reached “Chicago” peaks, garnering a solid 6.02 million viewers and a rating of 1.0 in the key demo. “The Masked Singer,” which also made its season debut on Fox, tied with “Survivor” at the top of primetime ratings. Per a source at CBS, Nielsen Live+7 projections indicate that the competition series will secure over 8.4 million viewers.

Also on TV last night: “The Goldbergs” on ABC and “Riverdale” on The CW at 8 p.m., ABC’s “The Conners” and the CW’s “In the Dark” at 9 p.m., “Home Economics” on ABC at 9:30 p.m., and CBS’ “Big Brother” and ABC’s “A Million Little Things.” No season debut last night drew in less than 2 million viewers, marking it a strong Wednesday night overall on primetime.

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