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The good news for The Good Doctor 2017 movie keeps on showing up. Hardly a month after its debut, ABC’s feel-good Freddie Highmore hospital drama has become the No. 1 drama on network TV, edging out NBC’s red-hot This Is Us and CBS’s perennial leader NCIS to claim ratings supremacy among hour-long shows.
Per Nielsen’s most current data via Sunday, The Good Doctor 2017 movie is averaging a striking 17.4 million viewers this season, about a half-million more than Us (with 16.9 million) and NCIS (16.8 million). It’s still an early stage, and it’s possible Us or NCIS will end up on top when May arrives. But even beyond the horse-race numbers, The Good Doctor 2017 movie’s vital signs are some of the healthiest an ABC series has seen in years.
One of the main reasons Alphabet execs are so pumped about the prognosis for their new hit is that the show is doing well in the 10 p.m. slot: It’s really the most-watched show — new or returning — in the time period since CSI: Miami in 2006–2007. This is notable, since the last hour of prime time has proven difficult for many broadcasters in recent years, particularly for newer shows. Network research studies have shown many viewers now use the 10 p.m. hour to catch up on series they’ve recorded earlier in the night (or from other evenings), putting 10 p.m. hours at a disadvantage.
I definitely appreciated the main conversation about it taking place between three female characters: Claire, her patient Hazel, and Hazel’s sister (who I don’t think we ever learned her name). You see three different perspectives: Hazel’s sister, who thinks the issue can be solved by moving to another industry (surprise – it’s everywhere); Hazel, who has been trying to work within the confines of it, but that has landed her in the hospital; and Claire, who sees the impossible situation presented and is just so damn tired of it, and sees no way but to work her way up to the top, as hard as she can.
And while cable networks now program originals in all time slots, some of the bigger first-run cable shows on networks such as FX, TNT, and USA air at 10 o’clock. A few shows, most notably ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, have managed to make an early splash at 10 p.m. But most of the biggest drama hits of recent years — Empire, This Is Us, Scorpion, Bull — began their runs in 9 p.m. slots. The fact that The Good Doctor movie has been able to reach such a wide audience in the 10 p.m. hour suggests the time slot isn’t quite as risky as networks thought; they just need to find the right program.
The Good Doctor watch online has also overcome its late hour partly by getting a huge lift from time-shifting and streaming. Its September show premiere gained 7.9 million viewers through DVR replays and Nielsen-measured streaming within a week of broadcast, the single-biggest grow in the Live-plus-7 ratings in the DVR age.
On average, the show’s L+7 lift has averaged a solid 7.5 million viewers, with 5.4 million replaying the series within three days of airing. That last stat is significant because advertisers care much more about viewing that takes place closer to air. And speaking of Madison Avenue, The Good Doctor full movie is also nailing well with the types of audiences advertisers love: It’s a top-10 series among adults under 50 with college degrees, as well as young adults who live in homes that are wealthy (average income above $100,000) and very rich (over $200,000).
The Good Doctor full movie is also a top-ten show with all adults under 50, though it’s worth noting that it’s still well behind NBC’s This Is Us in that critically important demo. In L+7 ratings for the first month of the season, the Peacock tear-jerker is averaging a 5.5 rating with adults under 50, demolishing Doctor’s 4.3 rating. Of course, Us has a key advantage: It follows the young-skewing hit The Voice, while The Good Doctor 2017 is slotted behind the much, much older-skewing Dancing With the Stars.
The early ratings triumph for The Good Doctor full movie is especially welcome at ABC, a network that has done great at producing successful comedy series in recent years (for instance, The Goldbergs, Black-ish, American Housewife) but has had far less luck with dramas. Last fall’s Designated Survivor did fine, though it lost ground in the second half of its first season.
But The Good Doctor 2017 full movie looks to be in an entirely different league, giving the Alphabet its This Is Us– or Empire–level hit. ABC researchers indeed claim Doctor is the network’s greatest first-year series in 13 years, stretching all the way back to the 2004–2005 season when Lost and Desperate Housewives both emerged with a bang. And while, again, it’s still very early in the season, for the time being, The Good Doctor 2017 online is on track to be ABC’s leading scripted show since season five of Grey’s Anatomy, back in 2008. Memo to ABC development executives: Medical melodrama works.
We’ve reached the mid-season finale of The Good Doctor 2017 free online, and, over the course of its first ten episodes, it has become one of the most popular new TV shows; I would be very surprised if it didn’t get The Good Doctor Season 2. Although it can be a little schmaltzy, I feel like it’s worked out its kinks and figured out what makes it, well, work. And a little schmaltz isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially this time of year.
The theme of this episode seems to be intentions: Dr. Glassman’s thoughtful intentions to hire Shaun a therapist to ease his own guilty conscience; patient Bobby Otto’s good intentions in telling Shaun to demand respect from the surgical crew; Jared’s noble (at least in his mind) intentions in standing up for Claire’s honor against Dr. Coyle; and Dr. Coyle’s odious intentions in sexually harassing Claire.
This is a timely episode in regard to sexual harassment. It can be hard not to get accused of being preachy when it comes to television shows taking on subjects like these, but I feel like the show was able to handle it well without it feeling like it was smacking you over the head (an issue that would have worried me in the beginning of the season).