‘Goldbergs’ Doubles Up On the Landmarks

Show had best off-net sitcom debut in two years as it hits 100 episodes on ABC

Why This Matters

Sitcoms are access and late-fringe linchpins for many stations, but ratings hits are increasingly difficult to come by.

Sony Pictures Television’s paean to the ’80s, The Goldbergs, celebrated two milestones this fall: It premiered in national syndication and it celebrated 100 episodes in primetime on ABC.

In syndication, the show has enjoyed a solid debut, opening in the week ended Sept. 24 to a 1.7 in households and a 1.2 among syndication’s key demographic of women 25-54. In the weeks that have followed, that household number has climbed a bit to a 1.8. That’s the best off-net sitcom premiere in two years, since Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls debuted to a 2.0.

“Our station partners are off to a very solid start with The Goldbergs,” said John Weiser, president, U.S. distribution, Sony Pictures Television. “We have already seen ratings grow in several of the top markets with strong demo conversions, and advertisers love the show’s broad appeal and the co-viewing audience it continues to attract.”

The Goldbergs’ national household rating belies the show’s performance in local markets, where it still has some growing to do. Off-net sitcoms tend to climb after premiere through November sweeps and to see ratings peak in February, when days are short, dark and cold, driving people to their televisions.

“At the end of the day, we are very happy with the start but it’s still very early,” said Sean Compton, president, strategic programming and acquisitions for Tribune Broadcasting. “It’s off to a respectable start and we should see growth in the next six weeks.”

Tribune, the launch group for The Goldbergs, is airing the show in top markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

On WPIX New York, The Goldbergs airs at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and it’s averaging a 0.5 rating/1 share across the hour, about even with how Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men was performing in the time period last year.

On KTLA Los Angeles, Tribune is running The Goldbergs at 12:30 a.m., and there it’s averaging a 0.5/2, down a bit from the 0.5/3 that Twentieth’s Family Guy was doing in the time slot last year.

And on WGN Chicago, The Goldbergs broadcasts three times a day: in late fringe at 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. and again at 12:15 a.m. In the late-fringe double-run, the show is averaging a 1.1/3, also a slight decrease from the 1.3/3 that Warner Bros.’ Friends was turning in last October.

Still, The Goldbergs is more than doubling the performance of its nearest rookie off-net sitcom competitor, Warner Bros.’ Mom, which is averaging a 0.8 national household live-plus-same-day rating since its Sept. 18 debut.

On Oct. 18, the show celebrated its 100th episode in primetime, and the cast and creators appeared at The Paley Centerin Los Angeles for an anniversary panel on Oct. 17. The Goldbergs, created by Adam Goldberg and starring Jeff Garlin, Wendi McLendon-Covey and George Segal, premiered on ABC in 2013. The show is now in its fifth season and it’s been renewed for a sixth, which is “liberating,” Goldberg said on the Paley Center panel.

After premiere week, The Goldbergs averaged a 2.6 live-plus-seven-day rating among primetime’s key demographic of adults 18-49, a 44% increase from its live-plus-same-day rating, and 7.95 million viewers, up 28% from the 6.2 million viewers who watched the premiere.

Overall, The Goldbergs debuted this season as the fifth highest-rated sitcom on broadcast primetime among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen’s live-plus-seven ratings. The show comes in behind CBS’ The Big Bang Theory at a 5.8 and Young Sheldon at a 5.5 (based on its early premiere episode, with Young Sheldon taking its official place on CBS’ schedule on Nov. 2), NBC’s rebooted Will & Grace at a 5.0 and ABC’s Modern Family at a 3.6.