During a time when network TV is looking for any kind of hit, ABC has truly scored with the David E. Kelley drama, Big Sky. Bolstered by strong reviews, a growing social media presence, and an ending of its first episode that had EVERYONE talking, Big Sky has proven to be a significant win for the network.
Big Sky hit new delayed high marks for its series premiere after already posting a strong Live+3 ratings lifts. After seven days of viewing on linear and digital platforms, with most of the digital consumption coming from Hulu, the viewership for the Big Sky premiere grew to 10.8 million viewers, with its adults 18-49 rating rising to a 2.50. That makes Big Sky the network’s most-watched and highest-rated (in 18-49) series debut since The Rookie in October 2018.
To showcase the strength of the series’ digital presence, in linear playback only, the series premiere scored 4.55 million viewers and its lift due to delayed viewing gives it the largest playback increase for any show on any network in total viewers in nearly eight months, since the March 30, 2020, telecast of ABC’s The Good Doctor. News for network TV was looking very dire during the pandemic, at least for scripted programming. While reality and competition shows are still holding up well, series like Fox’s Filthy Rich and Next, premiered to low ratings, never recovered, and were ultimately canceled. They also didn’t gain much traction in delayed viewing which has become a key factor in saving shows that may not perform on the level during live airings. Big Sky is clearly a show that is captivating viewers by bringing some cable TV sensibilities to network TV. In more bragging rights for the show, Big Sky stood as the strongest drama debut telecast in total viewers (8.7 million) and adults 18-49 (1.5) in L+7 linear ratings since Fox’s 9-1-1: Lone Star on January 19, 2020.
Big Sky is a procedural drama from David E. Kelley that is based on the 2013 novel “The Highway” by C. J. Box. The show follows private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe) who join forces with Cody’s estranged wife, ex-cop Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick), to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped on a remote highway in Montana. When they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they much race against the clock to stop a killer before another woman is taken.
If you haven’t started watching Big Sky, do yourself a favor and get hooked. I had pretty much given up on network television for scripted programming but the series is solidly addicting with strong performances and top-notch writing.