How ABC’s ‘Abbott Elementary’ Made the Honor Roll in Ratings

·3 min read
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Somebody put a shiny, red apple on Quinta Brunson’s desk, because her “Abbott Elementary” is schooling the competition in the TV ratings. (OK, except maybe for CBS’ “Ghosts,” last fall’s breakout comedy hit, but still.)

The first-year comedy, created and starring Brunson, about the teachers and administrators at an underfunded Philadelphia public school, has not only earned high marks in TV ratings, it’s also been a remarkably consistent performer. The first four telecasts of “Abbott” each initially drew a 0.6 rating among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen’s Live + Same Day ratings. The first three then rose to a 0.8 rating with three days of delayed viewing factored in. (We do not yet have Live + 3 Day data for Tuesday’s Episode 104.)

From the preliminary base of a 0.6 Live + Same Day rating, the Dec. 7 series premiere doubled to a 1.2 rating when counting one week of delayed viewing across multiple platforms, including ones that ABC measures but Nielsen does not. According to that semi-internal Multiplatform + 7 Day (MP +7) data, 4.5 million viewers of any age (2 or older, to be precise) tuned in during the first week of the series premiere’s availability.

Jan. 4’s Episode 2, which remained steady with the debut in both Live + Same Day and Live + 3 Day ratings, jumped to a 1.7 rating in MP + 7 numbers — meaning that it nearly tripled its viewership. That episode made it to 6.4 million total viewers after one week of people catching up.

After crunching some numbers, you find the second episode did 42% better than the first within their respective first weeks on air. That’s the result of positive buzz and excellent reviews. “Abbott Elementary” is currently “Certified Fresh” with a perfect 100% rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Quinta Brunson is a true force, whose comedic voice speaks to the next generation, and it’s thrilling to see that viewers at home recognize how special ‘Abbott Elementary’ is,” Craig Erwich, the president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment, told TheWrap. “This hilariously smart new show has permeated pop culture since its debut and we cannot wait to continue sharing it with the world.”

Even if you choose to ignore streaming platforms and focus solely on Nielsen’s numbers, “Abbott Elementary’s” +24% growth in total viewers from Episode 1 to 2 is the best from a debut telecast of any new series on any network this series. In the key ratings demo, the increase was a robust +13%.

“Abbott Elementary” is tied with its lead-in, “Judge Steve Harvey,” as ABC’s highest-rated new series of the season. “Abbott” is ABC’s highest-rated comedy in two seasons, since the 2019-20 launch of “Mixed-ish,” a spinoff of ABC comedy staple “Black-ish” (which ironically airs just after “Abbott”). That means it’s outperforming “The Wonder Years,” which certainly had more built-in buzz, and is also off to a better start than other ABC comedies like “United We Fall,” “Call Your Mother” and “Home Economics.”

In other words, “Abbott Elementary” in on a roll: the honor roll.