It was only 22 minutes without commercials, but I must have fallen asleep at least three times during the premiere of Mulaney last night, although at least I gave it a shot (out of loyalty to the former head writer of Saturday Night Live and one of its former cast members, Nasim Pedrad). It was every bit as bad as the commercials have been portending for weeks now, and though the sitcom certainly could improve, it may not get the chance because not that many people ended up sampling it.
The premiere episode of Mulaney managed only a measly 2.3 million viewers, and a 1.0 in the demo, which is even worse once you consider that it was coming off the 1.9 of Family Guy. Among first-run episodes, Mulaney was the lowest rated show of the night. Those are terrible ratings anyway you look at it, and given the reception to the premiere, they’re only likely to get worse (which, again, suggests to me that Mulaney will be to John Mulaney what Lucky Louie was to Louis C.K.: A learning experience on the way to a better show).
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, sandwiched in between The Simpsons and Family Guy, managed an OK hold, with a 1.6 in the demo (between a 2.0 for The Simpsons and that 1.9 for Family Guy. That was almost as good as the older-skewing Madam Secretary in the demo (1.7), although Secretary trounced B99 in overall viewers (12 million viewers to 3.3 million viewers). Madam Secretary, in fact, surpassed The Good Wife (1.4, 10.5 million viewers) in the demo and overall viewers.
Elsewhere, Bob’s Burgers (1.4) — which will probably end up replacing Mulaney later in the night at some point — was down from last year’s demo premiere, 2.2, while NFL Football on NBC (6.9, 18 million viewers) and Once Upon a Time on ABC (3.1, 8.6 million viewers) dominated the night among the viewers that matter to advertisers.
Mulaney is the latest in a series of ratings problems for Fox, which has seen its year-long reality show, Utopia, go up in smoke, while New Girl and The Mindy Project continue their ratings erosion.