“Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” did better than great for ABC during Tuesday’s primetime: The multi-night event series premiered to a 2.4 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and 14.367 million total viewers, according to Live + Same Day data from Nielsen.
And while the stats for the Alex Trebek-hosted special’s premiere are by no means the G.O.A.T. for ABC — which is dealing with the same continuous decline in TV ratings that every other network has seen in recent years — they are certainly great.
But just how great are we talking here? (By the way, we promise to stop staying great starting now.)
“The Conners” and “Bless This Mess” — both of which are on winter hiatus until Jan. 21 — are the shows ABC currently airs back-to-back in Tuesday’s 8 p.m. hour. Together, the sitcoms have averaged a 0.9 rating in the key demo and 4.682 million total viewers during that time slot this season, according to the “most current” data from Nielsen, which includes a week’s worth of delayed viewing where available.
Obviously those numbers don’t come anywhere near touching what “Jeopardy: GOAT” drew for ABC with its debut, which did nearly three times better than the time slot’s average in demo ratings and more than three times the hour’s average audience size.
The premiere “GOAT” episode, which saw Ken Jennings beat James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter in Night 1 of their competition for the titled of ultimate “Jeopardy” champion, did so well that it even boosted its 9 p.m. lead-out “Mixed-ish” to series highs in both the key demo (1.1 rating) and total viewers (4.8 million) and kept the momentum going for “Black-ish” at 9:30, which scored an audience season high with 3.1 million total viewers.
So that’s pretty great (OK, we lied about knocking it off with the “great”), but how did the ratings for “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” compare to ABC’s year-ago Tuesday lineup?
Well, “The Conners” aired its first season in that same 8 p.m. slot during ABC’s 2018-2019 season, and it was followed by the now-canceled comedy “The Kids Are Alright” at 8:30. Their combined average for the hour was a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 range and 4.891 million total viewers.
Clearly, “GOAT” crushed those ratings, too.
Setting aside how much the special’s premiere towered over ABC’s regularly scheduled Tuesday programming — both this year and last — the event series launched with numbers that place it among the highest-rated entertainment primetime programs of the season.
At the top of that list is the 2020 Golden Globes, which scored a 4.7 rating for NBC last Sunday. Coming in at No. 2 is ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” special, which earned a 3.2 from 10-11 p.m. on Dec. 31. And in third place is ABC’s “The Little Mermaid Live!” TV musical, an event that put up a 2.6 rating on Nov. 5. With its 2.4 rating, “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” comes in at No. 4.
Now, if you were to consider “Jeopardy! GOAT” a series rather than a special, which isn’t completely unfair, considering it is going to air until Jennings, Holzhauer or Rutter is the first to win three matches — then it comes in just behind the highest rating scored by a regularly airing show this season, which is the 2.5 rating “The Masked Singer” Season 2 premiere posted for Fox on Sept. 25.
ABC — which stopped reporting Live+ Same Day numbers for its shows, with the exception of live events, in November — declined to participate in this story. So the broadcast network will be releasing the Live + 3 Day numbers for “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” on Sunday.
But an individual with knowledge tells TheWrap ABC wouldn’t be surprised if the premiere hits close to 16 million viewers when counting three days of playback.
“Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” will continue tonight, Wednesday, at 8/7c on ABC.