TV Ratings: New Shows Still Stand a Chance With Under-50 Set

It’s tough to make a splash when there are literally hundreds of TV shows in the pop culture universe. But the number of freshman series that fought their way to attention-getting status among millennials and Gen Xers made a notable uptick in the 2018-2019 season to date.

“The Masked Singer,” “Manifest,” “The Conners,” “New Amsterdam,” “America’s Got Talent: Champions,” “A Million Little Things,” and “Surviving R. Kelly” broke into the top 30 rankings among viewers aged 18 to 49, according to preliminary Live+7 figures, marking a rise from the prior year.

In the 2017-2018 season, five first-year series made their mark in the top 30 with the key age group: “The Good Doctor,” “Young Sheldon,” “9-1-1,” “Ellen’s Game of Games,” and “The Orville.”

What could be considered truly “new” is debatable, given that “The Conners” is a “Roseanne” spinoff and “America’s Got Talent: Champions” is simply a different edition of long-running talent show. But amid the seasonal wave of cancellations and the onslaught of pilots to come, seeing Fox’s music reality competition “The Masked Singer” become a surprise hit and Lifetime’s limited docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” fueling off-screen activism bolster the idea that new content can create a memorable footprint even in this supposed age of Too Much Television.

And breaking in to the top yields rewards. The second season of “The Masked Singer” has earned a spot right behind Super Bowl LIV in 2020, signaling the network’s faith in the show’s momentum. And Lifetime already aired in early May a two-hour special, “Surviving R. Kelly: The Impact,” as a follow-up to its documentary, after the initial program popularized a boycott of Kelly’s work and spurred legal action against the disgraced R&B singer.

Plus, with HBO’s “Game of Thrones” (the highest-rated show in the 2018-2019 season) and CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” ending their storied runs, there’s room for more newbies on the hits list in the upcoming 2019-2020 season.