CBS tried to boost returning sitcom "Mike & Molly" by adding the word "new" to the title in its recent promotions, but ratings for the season premiere last night wound up looking roughly the same as last time.
Monday night's premiere drew 9.1 million viewers, according to CBS, a 13% increase over recent ratings in the time slot, but a 3% slip from the show's season premiere a year ago. "Mike & Molly" fell even more among the all-important 18-to-49-year-old demographic, declining 16% from the season premiere last year.
That's despite CBS's efforts to get "Mike & Molly" a second look from viewers, calling it "The New Mike & Molly" in promotions. It's worth noting that "Mike & Molly" premiered in September last season instead of having to wait for November, and ran at 9:30 p.m. then instead of 9 p.m. now. Perhaps more important, it had a stronger lead-in from "2 Broke Girls," whose ratings have declined.
The "New" promo line was "a call to action" for new episodes, a new time and some new plot directions, a CBS spokesman said.
Critics said Monday night's season premiere indeed resembles the pilot for a new show, with Melissa McCarthy's character, Molly, abandoning her job as a teacher, taking the series in a seemingly different direction.
Despite the softer debut, "Mike & Molly" was still CBS's best showing on what has become a lackluster Monday-night comedy block.
According to CBS, its Monday night 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. comedy block saw an 8% jump in total viewers, with "Mike & Molly" providing a meaningful boost to the 9 p.m. slot.
Mondays have been uninspiring at CBS this fall as it goes up against NBC's "The Voice" and new drama "The Blacklist." CBS's "How I Met Your Mother" has been relatively steady but is in its final season; "2 Broke Girls" has wobbled, hitting series lows; "Mom" hasn't been a runaway hit, but has been picked up for a full season; and the drama "Hostages" has been a failure early out of the gate.
"Mike & Molly" replaced "We Are Men," which was pulled after just two episodes.