CBS’ attempt to introduce Star Trek: Discovery to a wider audience has backfired spectacularly, as the series’ full premiere on broadcast television has resulted in abysmal ratings numbers.
Last month, amid rapidly declining viewership numbers for the latest Star Trek series, current franchise development head Alex Kurtzman announced that Star Trek: Discovery’s first season would officially debut on broadcast television.
Unfortunately, Discovery’s lateral move from CBS All Access to CBS proper appears to have failed to entice more audiences to watch the series.
According to Variety, Discovery’s broadcast debut netted only a 0.2 rating among adults 18-49 and drew a tragically low 1.7 million viewers.
For comparison, rerun of the Michael Weatherly-led legal drama Bull that aired two weeks ago in the same 10 PM EST/PST time slot pulled in 1.9 million viewers for an overall 0.3 rating.
Technically, this is the second time this particular episode has aired on CBS, as it was previously aired as a ‘special preview’ in 2017 to promote the series’ then-upcoming first season.
This broadcast managed to pull in 9.6 million viewers for a total rating of 1.9, most likely due to the general interest in the first new Star Trek series in years and its time slot immediately following that week’s Sunday night NFL game.
Though the series was exclusive to the CBS All Access streaming platform in the United States, Discovery was broadcast in Canada on the CTV network and provides some numbers for further comparison.
Discovery debuted in Canada with a viewership of 2.274 million, but by the end of its first fifteen-episode season, the series only pulled 927,000, for a sixty-percent season total loss.
This lack of interest in the series would bleed over into its second season, as its premiere episode failed to appear in the Top 30 rankings during its debut week, with less than 978,000 viewers.
Viewership numbers would only continue to plummet, as the season two finale couldn’t even manage to draw 816,000 total viewers, the total viewership numbers for The Blacklist, the 30th ranked show in Canada for the week of April 15th to April 21st 2019.
Maybe more interesting is that The Orville beat out Star Trek: Discovery in Canada for the week of April 8th to April 14th 2019. The Orville’s Season 2 Episode 12 “Sanctuary” ranked 29th with total viewership of 841,000. Star Trek: Discovery failed to list in the Top 30.
The television premiere of “The Vulcan Hello” was covered by YouTuber OverlordDVD, who bluntly asserted that “Kurtzman Trek is Dead.”
“The numbers are in folks, and there is no disputing these numbers.”
Granted, this was the second airing of a widely watched episode from a less-than-current season of the show, this initial reception to the series’ public debut does not bode well for the series’ future on the broadcast channel.
Star Trek: Discovery’s first season will continue airing Thursdays at 10 PM EST/PST on CBS, while the series’ upcoming third season, which will introduce both transgender and non-binary characters, is set to premiere on CBS All Access on October 15th, 2020.