It looks like audiences can’t get enough of ’90s nostalgia, as ABC’s Roseanne revival continues to perform well in the network ratings battle.
When Roseanne Barr’s hit sitcom bowed out in 1997 with its lackluster season 9, it seemed that the lives of the Conner Family were over. With the maligned ending that the titular Roseanne had gone mad after the death of her husband, the show had one of the most controversial series finales ever. However, now that Barr and ABC have brought the whole gang back to the small screen, season 10 continues to prove that the series still has a whole lot of life in it.
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Nielsen reports that while Roseanne was slightly down on its season 10 premiere in week 2, it still garnered a stellar 15.2 million viewers in the key 18-49 demographic. To put it into context, Roseanne helped ABC beat rivals like NBC and CBS by over 50% in viewership. Week 2 saw a drop of 15% in viewers and 20% in ratings, but given the premiere’s almost unprecedented viewership, it is nothing for ABC to lose sleep over. If most other shows had seen a decline like this it could spell doom, but season 10 scored so big on its return, the network officially ordered Roseanne season 2 (or season 11, depending on how you look at it) just a day later.
The first two episodes aired back-to-back on March 27, technically making the April 3 episode the third in the current run. Reboots and revivals tend to grab the headlines, but as the season goes on and a show settles into old habits, it isn’t out of the ordinary to see a slow decline in ratings. A lot of people will have tuned in out of curiosity to see how much the stars have aged or how Roseanne planned to retcon the death of John Goodman’s Dan, but enough fans have stuck with the show into week 2 to continue a winning streak. Also, when putting Roseanne against other series that have recently been revived from the TV graveyard, Barr and co. have even more reason to smile. Will & Grace’s return last year bled 30% of its viewers from week 1-2, 2016’s The X-Files lost 40%, and David Lynch’s acclaimed Twin Peaks hemorrhaged 50%.
Roseanne mania may not be quite what it was back in the 1990s, but the revival’s figures are still strong in today’s competitive market of TV. More importantly, shows like Roseanne prove that the networks don’t need to worry so much that competition like Netflix can come in and cannibalize their business. Admittedly, if ratings continue to tumble there might be cause for concern, but it looks like Roseanne will get to live out the remainder of season 10 at the top of the charts.
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