ABC’s ‘Wicked City’ Ratings Are Historically Bad — How Low Can They Go?

Episode 3 matches lowest non-Saturday drama across the Big 4 networks in Nielsen’s People Meter history

The outlook wasn’t good for “Wicked City” before it premiered. Since then, it has only grown worse, with the ABC drama hitting a historic television ratings low Tuesday night.

Leading up to its debut, TV critics slammed “Wicked City” for its violence against women — and they hadn’t even seen anything beyond a teaser at the time. The feeling didn’t change, however, when the full episode was made available.

Not accounting for taste, the picture is still as bleak as it gets, and not at all by coincidence. ABC laid out a tough road for its Bonnie and Clyde-esque series, rolling it out against Game 1 of Fox’s World Series last month. That premiere received just a 0.9 rating in the key 18-49 demographic and 3.3 million total viewers. Those numbers were good enough — or bad enough, really — for last place in the 10 p.m. time slot across the four major broadcast networks.

The following week, “Wicked City” dropped 22 percent of that rating, settling for a 0.7 and 2.4 million viewers — and it didn’t even have any baseball to contend with. Things got worse Tuesday night as the episode plummeted 43 percent to a 0.4 rating in the main demo.

Awful, yes. But that isn’t the half of it.

The third episode of “Wicked City” actually matched the lowest-rated non-Saturday drama original on the major four broadcast networks in Nielsen People Meter history — and you can take that tie away when focusing solely on the Disney broadcaster. The show’s 1.7 million viewers wasn’t a heck of a lot more impressive.

There is a touch of silver lining here, thankfully: ABC saved some money on the show, as “Wicked City” was one of the projects qualified for tax credits under California’s expanded production incentive plan. It qualified for $20.2 million in expenditures, a $4.1 million reservation of credit.

“Wicked City” shot for 80 days in California, per the tax credit application. The show employed 3,006 extras and stand-ins, 117 cast members, and 185 crew members. It seems unlikely they’ll be working any longer on the project.

“Wicked City” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC — at least for now. ABC last season used reruns of unscripted franchise “Shark Tank” to plug holes in its schedule, with those reruns regularly outperforming Tuesday night’s original episode of “Wicked City.”

A “Shark Tank” rerun that aired on ABC Feb. 1 at 9 p.m. drew a 0.5 in the demo — one tenth of a point better than what “Wicked City” drew Tuesday. That same Sunday night, CBS aired the Super Bowl.

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