Big Sky’s ratings trouble has ABC’s freshman drama moving from Tuesday nights to their coveted Thursday primetime lineup.
While this may feel an oxymoronic statement, it proves ABC has hefty faith in their new crime thriller. The show’s ratings have plummeted in its Tuesday night slot, yet remain higher than most syndicated shows even with substantial audience losses.
To try and fix this, the Disney-owned network is moving Big Sky to Thursdays at 10 p.m. Eastern. Doing so will place the drama directly after ratings darling Grey’s Anatomy. Placing a new series after a veteran performer is old form, and typically serves to bolster ratings. And as we’ve seen over the past months, Big Sky is going to need the help.
For next season, ABC’s Thursday lineup will be as follows as per Deadline:
8 PM — Station 19
9 PM — Grey’s Anatomy
10 PM — Big Sky
The latter half of Big Sky solidified the show as a no-go for ABC’s Tuesday nights. Oddly, Big Sky felt a surefire hit with a strong 4.1 million viewers for its series premiere. Those ratings also stayed consistent over the first three episodes, peaking with Ep 2 at 4.5 million.
The Ratings Dilemma of ABC’s ‘Big Sky’
Then, after their mid-season return, Big Sky began consistently losing viewers. April 20’s episode, “No Better Than Dogs,” set a then-low at 2.97 million, followed with 2.6 million for the April 27 episode. This was a huge loss of viewership (a 13% dip), something that’s become the norm for Big Sky as it steadily declines over the course of its premiere season.
The Pacific North West drama, however, still ranks #4 among ABC’s 8 dramas airing during its freshman season. Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, and The Good Doctor all continue to best the thriller. Having Big Sky tail both Grey’s and Station 19 should pull in more viewers from both shows. This is what ABC is banking on, and should hold true.
It’s clearly far from doom and gloom for Big Sky, all things considered. S1 E15, “Bitter Roots” saw the show inch back up in ratings at 2.63 million viewers (per THR). This, combined with a slightly higher 0.38 demo rating for adults 18-49 (see: intended audience), may mean the inaugural season can hope for a stronger Season 2 in a new timeslot.
Whether the now-missing 2 million viewers show up for Season 2, however, is entirely up to them. In the end, the show’s quality is what matters. Odd character additions and muddled storytelling have plagued the once-rock-solid Season 1 in later episodes. Here’s hoping that producers and writers reign in this promising thriller for a stellar sophomore effort.