TV Ratings: NFL Lead-In Helps ‘Monarch’ Manage Fox’s Most-Watched Fall Scripted Debut Since ‘Prodigal Son’

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Fox’s Susan Sarandon and Trace Adkins-led country music drama “Monarch” didn’t hit the highest of Nielsen notes Sunday night, but it did manage to keep enough of its NFL lead-in audience to land the network’s most-watched fall scripted premiere in three years.

Immediately following an NFL doubleheader and postgame show “The OT”, “Monarch” debuted at 7:45 p.m. ET/4:45 p.m. PT to a 0.8 rating among adults in the 18-49 age demographic and 3.8 million total viewers, according to initial Nielsen data. Just before “Monarch” aired, “The OT” earned a 1.7 rating and 6.2 million viewers off of the doubleheader.

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An encore airing of the new series settled for a 0.2 and 1.5 million viewers.

Due to the nature of live sports, these results will adjust (likely down) when finalized numbers come in later Monday.

With its initial audience size, “Monarch” boasts Fox’s most-watched debut for a new scripted series during the fall broadcast season since “Prodigal Son” drew 4.1 million viewers in September 2019. The scripted series that have premiered on the network since include “Our Kind of People,” “The Big Leap,” “Next,” “Filthy Rich,” “LA’s Finest,” “The Moodys,” “Almost Family” and “Bless the Harts.” None of those shows, including “Prodigal Son,” debuted behind an NFL doubleheader like “Monarch.”

Both “Monarch’s” initial premiere and the repeat telecast aired against NBC’s eagerly anticipated Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers “Sunday Night Football” game featuring Tom Brady, which is no easy ticket to be up against in your first primetime outing — or subsequent ones. But with its own NFL lead-in, “Monarch” should have had a decent shot at a larger audience than it ended up with.

On Tuesday, the second episode of “Monarch” will air at 9 p.m. after “The Resident,” which will be the show’s time slot home for the rest of its first season.

Per Fox, “In ‘Monarch,’ the Romans are headed by the insanely talented, but tough as nails Queen of Country Music Dottie Cantrell Roman (Sarandon) and her beloved husband, ‘Texas Truthteller’ Albie Roman (Adkins). Dottie and Albie have created a country music dynasty. But even though the Roman name is synonymous with authenticity, the very foundation of their success is a lie. And when their reign as country royalty is put in jeopardy, heir to the crown Nicolette ‘Nicky’ Roman (Anna Friel) will stop at nothing to protect her family’s legacy, while ensuring her own quest for stardom.”

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