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Ranking the Freshman Broadcast Network Shows of Fall 2018

For the past month, the Programming Insider readership chimed in on their favorite (and least favorite) new broadcast network shows that debuted this fall.

Some notes before we start our countdown:

* 200 participants took part voting in our survey.
* Each participant was not required to vote for every freshman show. With that stated, “Murphy Brown” (CBS) received the most amount of votes (173), followed by “The Conners” (ABC) (170). The bottom three shows in amount of votes all air on The CW: “Legacies” (124), “All American” (127) and “Charmed” (135).
* We tallied up the final results for each show, with a score of 3 being assigned to “Excellent! Don’t miss!”, 2 to “Good. Worth seeing.”, 1 to “Okay if desperate to watch something” and zero to “Avoid at all costs.”
* To mimic the 4.0 grading system dolled out at schools and universities, each show’s poll rating was multiplied by 1.58 and received a corresponding grade.
* By using the adjusted numbered poll ratings (labeling them as Grade Point Averages or GPAs), the grades were as follows: A+ (4.363 or more), A (4.00-4.363), A- (3.64-3.99), B+ (3.28-3.63), B (2.91-3.27), B- (2.55-2.90), C+ (2.19-2.54), C (1.82-2.18), C- (1.46-1.81), D+ (1.10-1.45), D (0.73-1.09), D- (0.36-0.72), F (0.00-0.35)

Let’s begin the countdown:


20. Rel (Fox)
Season thus far: 0.83 GPA (Grade: D)
Series Premiere: 1.69 GPA [#20] (Grade: C-)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Avoid at all costs” (59.4% of the vote)

Analysis:
Despite its series premiere airing out of NFL football coverage, it’s the Fox series you’re most likely to not notice is still on the air, with its post-‘Family Guy’ Sunday time slot directly opposite several other networks’ highly-watched offerings (e.g. “Sunday Night Football”, “The Walking Dead”). Although with results like these along with its meager Nielsen ratings, the sitcom starring former “Carmichael Show” cast member Lil Rey Howery probably won’t stay on the air much longer.


19. I Feel Bad (NBC)
Season thus far: 0.85 GPA (Grade: D)
Series Premiere: 1.90 GPA [#18] (Grade: C)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Avoid at all costs” (61.3% of the vote)

Analysis:
“I Feel Bad” aimed for diversity by highlighting its Indian lead star (Saraya Blue) but it relegated her to unappealing situations like having her ask her younger co-workers if she’s still “doable” or stepping into her vomit with her bare feet upon entering her home. It also didn’t help that this NBC sitcom holds the dubious distinction as possessing one of the worst series titles of the year.


18. Happy Together (CBS)
Season thus far: 1.43 GPA (Grade: D+)
Series Premiere: 3.72 GPA [#1] (Grade: A-)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Okay if desperate to watch something” (42.9% of the vote)

Analysis:
The One Direction fan base bombarded our series premiere polls back in October to give this CBS sitcom — loosely based on the life of its executive producer, former “One Direction” member Harry Styles — the best grade for a freshman debut this fall. But as December arrived, the public votes veered in the other direction: downward.


17. Charmed (2018) (CW)
Season thus far: 1.48 GPA (Grade: C-)
Series Premiere: 1.99 GPA [#17] (Grade: C)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Okay if desperate to watch something” (42.2% of the vote)

Analysis:
The remake of the hit 90’s WB witch drama didn’t impress in this survey. Even sitcom “Happy Together” garnered a higher percentage of “Excellent” votes (4.7 percent) over the new “Charmed” (4.4 percent). But the good news for the show is that its Nielsen ratings are so far worthy enough for renewal.


16. Magnum P.I. (2018) (CBS)
Season thus far: 1.49 GPA (Grade: C-)
Series Premiere: 1.88 GPA [#19] (Grade: C)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Okay if desperate to watch something” (45.3% of the vote)

Analysis:
How disappointing has this remake of the iconic 80’s detective series been? It received the lowest percentage of “Excellent” votes among all freshman shows with a mere 3.1 percent (Fox’s “Rel” even got 4.0 percent). In addition, it was the runner-up freshman show in “Okay” percentage. Of the Big 4 networks, it currently ranks last in its Monday time slot among key young adult demos. CBS hopes by getting the new “Magnum” some extra notice from airing after the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 20, it’ll generate better figures in the winter and spring.


15. Legacies (CW)
Season thus far: 1.83 GPA (Grade: C)
Series Premiere: 2.41 GPA [#10] (Grade: C+)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Okay if desperate to watch something” (42.7% of the vote)

Analysis:
The continuation of the “Vampire Diaries”/”Originals” storyline received the largest “Okay” vote percentage of the three new CW shows. Its ratings performance on Thursdays have been decent so expect more “Legacies” to come in the near future.


14. Single Parents (ABC)
Season thus far: 1.95 GPA (Grade: C)
Series Premiere: 2.09 GPA [#15] (Grade: C)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Okay if desperate to watch something” (45.4% of the vote)

Analysis:
The new family comedy is the highest-ranking freshman series in this survey to receive less than 10 percent of “Excellent” votes (8.6 percent); even CW’s “Legacies” (10.5 percent) earned higher. Despite a notable cast (Brad Garrett, Leighton Meester, Taran Killam), “Single Parents” has been one of the fall’s most overlooked new series, further proving that the post-“Modern Family” slot is no longer the prized time slot it once was for ABC.


13. The Neighborhood (CBS)
Season thus far: 2.07 GPA (Grade: C)
Series Premiere: 2.18 GPA [#13] (Grade: C+)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Okay if desperate to watch something” (31.5% of the vote)

Analysis:
The Cedric The Entertainer/Max Greenfield sitcom received the same amount of “Good” votes as “Okay” votes, resulting in being profoundly mediocre. Its future prospects look decent, though, being the network’s top-rated Monday series in young adults.


12. Murphy Brown (2018) (CBS)
Season thus far: 2.08 GPA (Grade: C)
Series Premiere: 2.53 GPA [#9] (Grade: C+)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Good. Worth seeing.” (35.8% of the vote)

Analysis:
The positive news for this reboot of the 1988-98 Candice Bergen sitcom: it received third-largest “Good” percentage of votes for a freshman comedy (35.8 percent). The negative: it also received fourth-largest “Avoid at all costs” percentage of votes for a freshman comedy (28.3 percent)


11. The Kids Are Alright (ABC)
Season thus far: 2.23 GPA (Grade: C+)
Series Premiere: 2.92 GPA [#4] (Grade: B)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Okay if desperate to watch something” (41.1% of the vote)

Analysis:
Despite the early 70’s-set single-cam comedy being a critics favorite, it just missed out on reaching our Top Ten. For “Excellent” percentage among the new comedies, “The Kids Are Alright” (at 13.2 percent) placed in between two reboots from the late 1980’s: “Murphy Brown” (12.2 percent) and “The Conners” (formerly “Roseanne”) (16.5 percent).


10. A Million Little Things (ABC)
Season thus far: 2.26 GPA (Grade: C+)
Series Premiere: 2.71 GPA [#7] (Grade: B-)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Okay if desperate to watch something” (34.1% of the vote)

Analysis:
The drama that’s come closest to copying “This Is Us” since, of course, “This Is Us” places smack-dab in the middle of our freshman survey of 20 new series. It received votes from all across the rating spectrum; each category (of the four available) getting at least 20 percent of the vote. Among freshman dramas, “A Million Little Things” ranked a solid fifth in “Excellent” vote percentage (20.1 percent).


9. Last Man Standing (Fox)
Season thus far: 2.28 GPA (Grade: C+)
Series Premiere: 2.84 GPA [#6] (Grade: B-)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Good. Worth seeing.” (29.1% of the vote)

Analysis:
The former ABC sitcom that has made Fox relevant on Friday nights again reaches the top ten of our freshman poll after a one-year hiatus from the broadcast network prime time airwaves. But it’s clear the show has polarized our responders. While it’s the top comedy in “Excellent” percentage (21.2 percent), it also has the fifth-largest in “Avoid at all costs” percentage (26.7 percent) in the comedy genre.


8. All American (CW)
Season thus far: 2.38 GPA (Grade: C+)
Series Premiere: 3.31 GPA [#2] (Grade: B+)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Okay if desperate to watch something” (40.9% of the vote)

Analysis:
The high school football drama that’s a touch of “Friday Night Lights” and “The OC” gave The CW its lone Top Ten entry of this freshman poll, thanks to its sixth-place ranking in “Excellent” vote percentage (18.9 percent) among new dramas. Aside from One Direction fans going all out supporting “Happy Together” back in September, “All American” earned the fall’s best grade for a broadcast network series premiere.


7. God Friended Me (CBS)
Season thus far: 2.40 GPA (Grade: C+)
Series Premiere: 2.86 GPA [#5] (Grade: B-)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Good. Worth seeing.” (28.6% of the vote)

Analysis:
The Eye Network’s new take on the inspirational drama genre with hints of “Touched by an Angel” and “Early Edition” received the poll’s third-largest “Excellent” percentage (21.3 percent).


6. FBI (CBS)
Season thus far: 2.48 GPA (Grade: C+)
Series Premiere: 2.15 GPA [#14] (Grade: C)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Good. Worth seeing.” (38.0% of the vote)

Analysis:
Dick Wolf’s first-ever series for CBS was sure to be a success by airing out of the network’s perennially highest-rated drama “NCIS”. It got the second largest percentage of “Good” votes for a new drama.


5. The Cool Kids (Fox)
Season thus far: 2.58 GPA (Grade: B-)
Series Premiere: 2.28 GPA [#12] (Grade: C+)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Good. Worth seeing.” (36.2% of the vote)

Analysis:
The Programming Insider community has taken well to the hilarious residents of this retirement community. The new Friday night sitcom earned high marks in our survey: among only new comedies, it has the second biggest percentages in each “Excellent” (19 percent) and “Good” votes (36.2 percent).


4. The Conners (ABC)
Season thus far: 2.65 GPA (Grade: B-)
Series Premiere: 2.09 GPA [#16] (Grade: C)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Good. Worth seeing.” (44.1% of the vote)

Analysis:
The fall’s top-rated new sitcom is also this survey’s best-graded new comedy. Although it took a while for our followers to cozy up to the spinoff of the reboot to the hit 1988-97 comedy (it only averaged a “C” grade for its premiere in early October — the very first sans-Roseanne Barr episode with that cast), it topped all freshman series in percentage of “Good” votes.


3. New Amsterdam (NBC)
Season thus far: 2.69 GPA (Grade: B-)
Series Premiere: 2.35 GPA [#11] (Grade: C+)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Good. Worth seeing.” (39.0% of the vote)

Analysis:
Ryan Eggold’s new hospital drama was bashed by critics (our website’s Douglas included) but the participants in our poll thoroughly disagreed. It earned the best “Good” percentage of any new drama this fall, while also posting the fourth-best “Excellent” percentage (21.3 percent) for any new series overall.


2. Manifest (NBC)
Season thus far: 2.97 GPA (Grade: B)
Series Premiere: 3.02 GPA [#3] (Grade: B)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Good. Worth seeing.” (32.7% of the vote)

Analysis:
The survey’s best new drama is this “LOST”-like show about passengers on a flight, thought to be missing, finally landing five years later. It delivered the poll’s second-highest “Excellent” percentage (31.5 percent) as well as the third-best “Good” percentage for a freshman drama (32.7 percent).


1. The Rookie (ABC)
Season thus far: 3.42 GPA (Grade: B+)
Series Premiere: 2.60 GPA [#8] (Grade: B-)

Most Popular Voter Choice: “Excellent! Don’t miss!” (47.1% of the vote)

Analysis:
It wasn’t even close: Nathan Fillion’s new police drama for ABC dominated this survey. Nearly half of those responded chose “Excellent” to rate this new series. The show with the next highest percentage of “Excellent” votes was NBC’s “Manifest”, receiving a little less than one-third of those polled. And conversely but not surprisingly, “The Rookie” garnered the lowest percentage of “Avoid at all costs” votes (4.4 percent) among the 20 freshman shows.

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