'The Equalizer' Kept More Viewers Than Any Post-Super Bowl Show Since 2013

Ratings: The CW’s ‘Black Lightning’ Falls From Last Week’s Season 4 Premiere


‘The Equalizer’ Kept More Viewers Than Any Post-Super Bowl Show Since 2013

CBS series debuted to just over 20 million viewers. Week 2 held onto an impressive 8 million of those

Queen Latifah’s “The Equalizer” debuted to 20.404 million total viewers following Super Bowl LV. On Sunday, in its regular time-slot premiere, the CBS drama drew 7.976 million viewers, which means the show retained 39% of its Episode 1 audience for Episode 2.

That’s pretty damn good. As a matter of fact, it’s the best retention for a post-Super Bowl show since 2013*. Why the asterisk? Well, the 39% retention rate for “The Equalizer” equal(iz)ed what NBC’s “The Blacklist” held onto in 2015.

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On Wednesday, we’ll get final Live + Same Day Numbers for the second episode of the new “Equalizer.” Any even semi-significant upward adjustment will hand Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) his hat and make this a clean “in-eight-years” claim.

The Feb. 2, 2020 post-Super Bowl Season 3 premiere of Fox’s “The Masked Singer” scored 23.854 million total viewers. The next episode, on Feb. 5, 2020, drew 7.457 million viewers, a retention rate of 31%.

A year prior, CBS’ short-lived James Corden-hosted competition show “The World’s Best” debuted with 22.245 million total viewers. The next episode had 5.516 million viewers, for a retention of 25%.

Following the 2018 Super Bowl, a very special episode of NBC’s “This Is Us” posted 26.987 million total viewers. The next episode kept 10.136 million of those, or 38%.

In 2017, Fox premiered “24: Legacy” to 17.576 million total viewers. The second episode had 6.224 million viewers, retaining 35% of the post-Super Bowl start.

In 2016, an episode of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” followed the big game, securing 20.552 million total viewers. The following night, Colbert’s 2.672 million total viewers represented retention of just 9%. That’s understandable, though, for a nightly program — especially one that airs after primetime.

“The Blacklist” was gifted the coveted post-Super Bowl time slot in 2015, drawing 25.724 million total viewers. The next episode kept 39% of that audience, or 10.111 million viewers.

Fox’s “New Girl” attracted 25.724 million total viewers immediately following the 2014 Super Bowl. The next episode settled for 3.479 million, retaining just 13% of the post-football crowd.

So what last beat “The Equalizer” (and “The Blacklist”)? That brings us back to 2013, when CBS’ modern-day Sherlock Holmes series “Elementary” hung on to 52% of its post-Super Bowl audience of 20.857 million total viewers. The very next episode brought in 10.891 million.

Think that’s a big number? (OK, it is.) In 2008, Fox’s “House” kept 80% of its post-Super Bowl audience of 29.063 million total viewers, gobbling up 23.210 million viewers just two nights after the Big Game.

Tony Maglio