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‘The Orville’ vs. ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Ratings: The Battle of TV’s New Space Dramas Hits Warp Speed

Week ending September 24: Football and 'America's Got Talent' rule, but 'The Good Place' returns in a good... you know the rest.

“The Orville,” “Star Trek: Discovery”

Fox/CBS

In TV’s own star wars, both Fox’s “The Orville” and CBS’ “Star Trek: Discovery” launched into similar orbits.

The two shows opened solid, a few weeks apart, on their respective live, linear broadcast networks. But in live+3 ratings (which includes three days of DVR and video on-demand usage), both premieres scored an identical total viewer average: 10.6 million each.

Fox’s “The Orville” was at least a light year ahead in the adults 18-49 demo, however, opening to a strong 3.5 rating — compared to the decent, but less stellar, 2.1 rating for “Star Trek: Discovery.”

Both shows premiered on a Sunday, but it’s not quite an apples-to-apples comparison: “Orville” benefited from a direct NFL lead-in (on Sept. 10), while “Discovery” premiered behind “60 Minutes” (on Sept. 24). Also, “Discovery” has been promoted as a CBS All Access property, and the Eye’s digital platform generated record sign-ups in time for the launch of the latest “Star Trek” chapter — which means many fans probably watched it on that outlet.

From this point on, ratings don’t really matter for “Discovery” any more — subscription levels and retention will be what CBS All Access is looking at. (They’ll be dissecting viewership internally, but much like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, those ratings won’t be shared with the media or the general public.)

It’s a much different story for “The Orville,” which must now battle it out on Thursday nights. In its first regular time slot outing, on Sept. 21, the results were promising: The show averaged 6.3 million viewers in live+3, and a 1.8 rating with adults 18-49, making it Fox’s highest-rated Thursday 9 p.m. telecast in more than two years.

After two weeks behind football, “The Orville” will now settle in on Thursdays with a smaller lead-in and lower ratings expectations. But Fox execs are pleased with the sampling the show got at launch: According to the network, which recently saw the live+7 day (which includes a week’s worth of DVR and VOD usage) numbers, “The Orville” was Fox’s most-viewed drama debut since “Empire” in 2015, and the highest-rated drama launch among any broadcast network in adults 18-49 since ABC’s “Designated Survivor” last September.

Meanwhile, despite naysayers claiming NFL ratings have been damaged by #TakeAKnee, the top programs on TV for the week ending Sept. 24 were Sunday Night Football in both adults 18-49 and total viewers. FX’s “American Horror Story: Cult” continues to see massive time-shifted gains, jumping 102% between its live broadcast and three days later. And NBC’s “The Good Place” returned for Season 2 in a good place.

As for the latest on-demand viewership chart from Xfinity, it appears viewers were looking to catch up on “Will & Grace” on the eve of its return, and have also rediscovered HBO’s “Big Little Lies” after the limited-run series’ big Emmy win. Other new shows making waves: PBS’ “The Vietnam War” documentary series, Fox’s “The Orville,” and HBO’s “The Deuce.

Here are this week’s rankers:

Adults 18-49 ranker, week ending Sept. 24, 2017:

RANK

SHOW & NETWORK

LIVE+3
DAYS
DVR/VOD

RATING

WATCHED
LIVE/
SAME
DAY

RATING

1

NFL Sunday Night Football NBC 

6.3

6.3

2

NFL Monday Night Football ESPN

4.3

4.3

3

America’s Got Talent (Tuesday)  NBC

 3.6

3.0

4

America’s Got Talent (Wednesday) NBC

3.3

3.0

5

60 Minutes CBS

NFL Thursday Night Football NFL Network

2.8

2.8

2.7

2.8

7

Big Brother (Thursday) CBS

2.6

2.2

8

American Horror Story: Cult FX 

2.4

1.1

9

Star Trek: Discovery CBS 

2.1

1.9

10

Dancing With The Stars ABC

The Good Place NBC

2.0

2.0

1.6

1.3

12

The Orville (Thursday) Fox

1.8

1.1

13

American Ninja Warrior NBC 

1.7

1.5

14

Masterchef (Wed 9pm) Fox

1.6

1.2

15

Gotham Fox

The Sinner USA

Love & Hip Hop Hollywood 4 VH1

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.0

0.8

1.0

18

Masterchef (Wed 8 pm) Fox

Saturday Night Football ABC

Teen Mom 2 Season 8 MTV

1.4

1.4

1.4

1.1

1.4

0.7

21

Who Shot Biggie & Tupac Fox

The Big Bang Theory (Thu 8 pm) CBS

South Park Comedy Central

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.1

1.2 

0.7

24

Celebrity Family Feud ABC

Fear the Walking Dead AMC

Real Housewives of OC Bravo 

The Big Bang Theory (Thu 9pm) CBS

The Big Bang Theory (Mon 8 pm) Bravo

The Paley Center Salutes Will & Grace NBC

Midnight, Texas NBC

1.2

1.2

1.2

1.2

1.2

1.2

1.2

1.1

0.7

0.6

1.2

1.1

1.1

0.8

Adults 18-49; ratings points

Total viewers ranker, week ending Sept. 24, 2017:

RANK

SHOW & NETWORK

LIVE+3
DAYS
DVR/VOD

WATCHED
LIVE/
SAME
DAY

1

NFL Sunday Night Football NBC

17.56

17.48

2

America’s Got Talent (Wednesday) NBC

17.30

15.64

3

America’s Got Talent (Tuesday) NBC

 16.82

14.70

4

60 Minutes CBS

15.24

14.83

5

NFL Monday Night Football ESPN

 12.36

12.29

6

Dancing With The Stars ABC

12.25

10.72

7

Star Trek: Discovery CBS

10.63

9.49

8

Big Brother (Wednesday) CBS

7.79

6.72

9

NFL Thursday Night Football NFL Network

7.52

7.46

10

The Big Bang Theory (Thu 8pm) CBS

7.49

7.16 

11

The Good Place NBC

6.95

5.28

12

NCIS CBS

6.94

6.60

13

American Ninja Warrior NBC

6.70

5.96

14

The Big Bang Theory (Thu 9pm) CBS

6.41

6.10

15

The Orville (Thursday) Fox

6.26

4.05

16

The Big Bang Theory (Mon 8pm) CBS

6.24

5.97

17

Mom (Thu 8:30pm) CBS

6.09

5.96

18

NCIS: New Orleans CBS

5.97

5.65

19

Bull CBS

5.84

5.55

20

Celebrity Family Feud ABC

5.65

5.23

21

Blue Bloods CBS

5.59

5.26

22

NCIS: Los Angeles CBS

5.56

5.30

23

Masterchef (Wed 9pm) Fox

5.32

4.15

24

Dateline Friday NBC 

Saturday Night Football ABC

5.28

5.28

4.04

5.26

Total viewers; in millions

 

Here is this week’s Xfinity On Demand ranker:

Top 20 TV Series, Sept. 18-24, 2017:

RANK

SHOW

NETWORK

1

Game of Thrones

HBO

2

The Sinner 

USA

3

Outlander 

 Starz

4

The Vietnam War

PBS

5

The Orville

 Fox

6

Rick and Morty

Adult Swim

7

American Horror Story: Cult

 FX

8

America’s Got Talent

NBC

9

Ballers

HBO

10

Ray Donovan

Showtime

11

This Is Us

NBC

12

Teen Mom 2 

MTV

13

The Simpsons

Fox/FXX

14

The Deuce

HBO

15

Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood

VH1

16

Big Little Lies

HBO

17

Will & Grace

NBC

18

South Park

Comedy Central

19

Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

A&E

20

Chrisley Knows Best

USA

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