CBS had a great night this past Monday — with season highs for three of its series and near-highs for the other two.
The new Kevin James starrer Kevin Can Wait started things off at 8pm with 8.66 million L+SD viewers. This is not technically a season high — which would be the 11.08 million that turned in for its 9/9/16 premiere. But its first five episodes aired at 830pm with a massive lead-in from the highly-ranked Big Bang Theory. So this 8.66 is a season high since Big Bang returned to anchor Thursday nights and Kevin took over the Monday night anchor slot. This delivery is also 6% above its L+SD season average of 8.20 million viewers — which includes those first five Big Bang-fueled weeks.
Kevin lead-out Man with a Plan, starring Matt LeBlanc in his first return to network broadcast TV since the cancellation of Friends spinoff Joey in 2006, delivered an outright season high of 7.70 million L+SD viewers — 18% above its L+SD season average of 6.50 million.
9pm tentpole 2 Broke Girls, the most veteran series in the lineup, also delivered an outright season high with 6.40 million L+SD viewers — 13% above its L+SD season average of 5.68 million.
Girls lead-out The Odd Couple, the series most in need of such a night, delivered an outright season high of 5.61 million L+SD viewers — 15% above its L+SD season average of 4.89 million. This is the show’s fourth week-to-week viewership increase in the last five weeks. The Odd Couple has two more weeks remaining on its current season as CBS did not pick up any additional episodes beyond the original 13 ordered for it, so time will tell if this will be enough to save the series from cancellation. It may come down to how its replacement series, Superior Donuts, performs at 9pm when it premieres on February 6th.
Scorpion took a live viewership hit in its shift from 9pm with a Big Bang-fueled Life in Pieces lead-in last season to 10pm with a diluted Odd Couple lead-in this season. Still, it is the only show in the lineup that overdelivers on its lead-in. As was the case with Kevin, this week’s 7.81 million L+SD viewers wasn’t a season high, but was the highest-rated episode since the show’s two-hour season premiere on 9/19/16 and 7% above its L+SD season average of 7.32 million viewers.
CBS is certainly benefitting from the absence of Dancing with the Stars on ABC and The Voice on NBC. In their respective places are the lower-rated The Bachelor and Celebrity Apprentice, so there could be more highs between now and when The Bachelor starts to ramp up interest heading toward its March finale.