‘Designated Survivor’ Debut Breaks TV’s All-Time Record for Delayed Viewing Bump

Kiefer Sutherland ABC drama adds 7.7 million viewers in week after premiere, kicking a 2015 “Big Bang Theory” off the podium

Last Updated: September 30, 2016 @ 7:19 AM

The “Designated Survivor” debut appears even better every time you look at it.

The ABC drama’s first episode just broke the Nielsen record for TV’s largest-ever Live + 7 Day overall viewing increase for a single telecast on any network (including cable). The Kiefer Sutherland action series hauled in 7.7 million more viewers with a week’s worth of delayed watching. That dropped the previous record of 7.2 million, which came from a December 17, 2015 “Big Bang Theory.”

Of course, delayed viewing is still a relatively new phenomenon, one that gains more and more traction with each passing season. Plus, “Designated Survivor’s” late time slot and cliffhanger storylines lends itself to more catch-up tune-in than, say, “Big Bang.”


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“Designated Survivor’s” series premiere had already scored 10 million total viewers in Live + Same Day ratings. That’s a very strong number for a 10 o’clock series — especially on ABC, which has been struggling in recent seasons.

The story is almost as impressive in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, which saw the “Designated” debut double from a 2.2 rating to a 4.4. That’s not a record, however, as a “How to Get Away With Murder” bump (+2.3) beat that two years ago.

For comparitive purposes, NBC’s freshman hit “This Is Us” added 4.5 million total viewers and 1.8 demo ratings points from its own recent debut. CBS’ brand-new “Bull” grew by 4.9 million overall audience members and 0.9 demo ratings points.

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