The return of the ABC sitcom "Roseanne" has left many who cover TV falling all over themselves to describe the show's popularity. Some ratings watchers have gone so far as to suggest that the Conner family is poised to be the catalyst for a new broadcast comedy boom.
While a little hyperbole is understandableit's hard to understate the novelty of characterizing a broadcast series as a hit without having to reach for the scare quotesthe how-"Roseanne"-saved-TV pronouncements are a bit overblown. And the breathless citation of the premiere's DVR-inflated live-plus-three-day ratings only further muddies the waters of what should be a clear-cut success story.
After bowing March 27 to a massive 18.4 million live-plus-same-day viewers and a 5.2 in ABC's target demo (which works out to 6.64 million adults 18-to-49), "Roseanne" held up nicely in its Tuesday night time-slot debut. According to preliminary Nielsen data, Tuesday night's episode averaged 15.2 million viewers and a 3.9 rating, and while that marks a 25 percent decline in the demo, that 3.9 also represents the season's third-highest delivery for a scripted broadcast show. (Bookended between the two "Roseanne" broadcasts is the season premiere of CBS's "The Big Bang Theory," which served up a 4.1 rating among the 18-to-49 crowd.)