It only took a few weeks for ABC’s “In an Instant” to solidify its position as the lowest-rated primetime show of the summer across the Big 4 broadcast networks.
The “20/20” spinoff utilizes scripted dramatizations to re-tell “heart-pounding first-person accounts of the world’s most harrowing tales of survival,” per the network’s officially description. The Disney-owned broadcaster goes on to use other big adjectives like “powerful” and “breathtaking,” neither of which would appropriately describe the series’ 0.375 Nielsen average in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 ratings demographic. For the uninitiated, that’s really bad.
But “In an Instant” has a few excuses it can fairly fall back on. For starters, it’s the summer and no one watches TV (other than “America’s Got Talent” fans). Secondly, “In an Instant” airs original episodes on Saturday night, when really no one watches TV.
CBS’ “Ransom” had the same Saturday problem — and unfortunate distinction — during the traditional 2016-2017 television season. Of course, “Ransom” was a first-season show, while “In an Instant” is (not) enjoying its second year. Compound the aforementioned CBS drama’s problems with warmer weather, and you have a sub-0.4 average.
The actual newsmagazine-style content probably isn’t helping “In an Instant,” either. Those shows skew towards the older 25-54 demo, anyway. Finally, “In an Instant” is a two-hour show, and division by 120 minutes — rather than the 60 for your typical drama — is rarely helpful.
Here’s as good a place as any in this piece to point out that last summer, six episodes of “In an Instant” averaged a 0.6 rating among adults 18-49, while also airing on a Saturday. All numbers in this post are Live + Same Day TV ratings, not counting delayed viewing.
Credit where it is due, however: ABC is pretty bold to air original programming on a Saturday night in the summer. That’s the network’s stance, at least. Or perhaps executives knew “In an Instant” would be a ratings dog, and it simply seemed like the only place to bury it. Either way, here we are.
Close to “here” — somewhere no one wants to be — is ABC’s “Still Star-Crossed” (0.433), Fox’s “American Grit” (0.433) and CBS’ “Zoo” (0.5). “Still Star-Crossed” has already been canceled, John Cena’s Fox competition can’t be much further behind, and “Zoo” has only aired one episode thus far — an all-time low — and is likely to erode throughout July and August. Those shows were scheduled for Monday, Sunday and Thursday nights — so, what are their excuses?
“In an Instant” airs Saturdays at 9/8c on ABC — in case you wanted to be one of the few to tune-in.