“Magnum P.I.” — which returned to CBS with the stubble-faced Jay Hernandez taking over the role once played by the mustachioed Tom Selleck — is performing at about the same level as “Murphy Brown.” And “Will Grace,” the groundbreaking sitcom that NBC brought back with much fanfare in 2017, has lost more than half its audience from a year ago.
Fox has seen solid returns from “Last Man Standing,” a comedy starring Tim Allen that was revived this season after it was canceled by ABC in May 2017. And even without Roseanne Barr, “The Conners” has done well for ABC, generating numbers that suggest it is a sustainable draw. Through five episodes, its ratings are on a par with the CBS hit “Young Sheldon,” good enough for seventh place among entertainment programs. It is also ABC’s highest-rated sitcom.
It’s Morning in Late Night
The audience for late night is smaller than that of prime time, but the battle between “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on CBS and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on NBC is perhaps fiercer than ever.
Viewers made their decision on which of the two late-night leaders they preferred in the opening weeks of the Trump administration, when Mr. Colbert, whose monologues regularly skewer the president, leapfrogged the fun-and-games-minded Mr. Fallon in total audience. Mr. Colbert has since become the runaway winner, typically leading his main rival by more than a million viewers a night.
But while the CBS show was on the rise, “The Tonight Show” managed to cling to something valuable: A lead in the 18-to-49 age bracket prized by advertisers.
Mr. Colbert has lately cut that lead to a mere 1,000 viewers. In an effort to keep him from further loosening Mr. Fallon’s grip on younger viewers, NBC made a big move last month, installing Jim Bell, a former longtime executive producer of “Today” and the current maestro of the network’s Olympics coverage as the new “Tonight Show” boss.
In handing the show to Mr. Bell, NBC seemed to mimic a strategy employed by CBS in 2016, when it placed Chris Licht, a former producer of “CBS This Morning,” in charge of “The Late Show.” Under Mr. Licht’s guidance, the show made its steady climb to late-night ratings dominance.