ShondaLand's 'Still Star-Crossed' Stumbles in Memorial Day Debut

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'Still Star-Crossed,' the newest show from Shonda Rhimes' production company, premiered on Monday night.
'Still Star-Crossed,' the newest show from Shonda Rhimes' production company, premiered on Monday night. Credit: ABC/Jose Haro

The series premiere of ABC's latest ShondaLand confection failed to drum up much interest on Monday night, as the "Still Star-Crossed" pilot proved to be the least-watched hour on the Big Four broadcast nets.

According to Nielsen preliminary fast affiliate ratings, "Still Star-Crossed" averaged just 2.43 million viewers and a 0.5 rating in the adults 18-to-49 demo, marking a 29% decline compared to the year-ago 0.7 served up by the season four premiere of "Mistresses."

While the early returns for "Still Star-Crossed" were perhaps lower than anticipated, it's worth noting that the in-season ShondaLand series "Scandal" and "How to Get Away with Murder" tend to gain about one-half a ratings point upon adjustment to the C3 currency. That said, the show would appear to have squandered two-thirds of the lead-in afforded it by "The Bachelorette," which delivered a 1.5 rating in its time-slot debut.

Conceived as a sequel to William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," "Still Star-Crossed" was introduced to media buyers with great fanfare during ABC's May 2016 upfront presentation. After much of the season had been exhausted without any word of when the show might premiere, ABC last month announced that "Still Star-Crossed" had been shifted to its summer schedule.

Produced by Shonda Rhimes' eponymous production company, the Verona-set drama was developed by showrunner Heather Mitchell, a co-executive producer on "Scandal." The series is based on the 2013 YA novel by Melinda Taub, a writer on TBS's "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee."

If not every ShondaLand project is a ratings magnet -- ABC earlier this month canceled "The Catch" after its closed out its second season as the lowest-rated broadcast show in its time slot -- the imprint remains one of the biggest driver of younger viewers in the business. In its 13th season, "Grey's Anatomy" was ABC's most-watched scripted series and tied "Modern Family" as the network's highest-rated show in live-same-day (2.1). "Grey's" lead-out "Scandal," which earlier this year was renewed for a seventh and final season, is ABC's No. 2 highest-rated drama.

Elsewhere on the channel grid, Game 1 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final on NBC averaged 4.89 million viewers and a 1.7 in the demo, which works out to around 2.18 million adults 18-to-49. That marked a 21% boost compared to the year-ago Sharks-Penguins showdown, which drew a 1.4 in the target demo.

In accordance with a precedent established by NBC over a decade ago, the Penguins-Predators series shifts to the cable sports net NBCSN for Games 2 and 3. While ratings for the next two games are all but certain to drop (with a sub base of 83.8 million households, NBCSN reaches around 71% of all U.S. TV homes), the Stanley Cup telecasts go a long way toward justifying the network's $0.31 per sub per month carriage fee.

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