Fox’s monarch, originally slated to debut last spring, launched last night at 7:45 PM ET behind an NFL doubleheader. With a title that could’ve been easily mistaken for another special about the late Queen Elizabeth II, the country music drama averaged a 0.8 adults 18-49 Live+Same Day ratings and 3.8 million total viewers, with an encore immediately following drawing an additional a 0.2 rating and 1.5 million viewers for a combined 1.0 rating and 5.3 million viewers on premiere night, per Nielsen fast nationals. Both telecasts faced the mammoth Sunday Night Football Cowboys-Buccaneers match-up featuring un-retired superstar Tom Brady.
That is a respectable showing under the circumstances. Fox’s January premiere of Next Level Chef (1.2 18-49 rating, 4.01M viewers in L+SD), which also followed an NFL game, had OT lead-in (3.3,12.31M) that was twice as strong as Monarch‘s OT lead-in last night (1.7, 6.16M), so the drama’s retention, especially in viewership, is decent in this day and age.
Fox’s Monarch and Next Level Chef rank as the No.1 scripted and unscripted series debuts of 2022 in L+SD adults 18-49 ratings across broadcast and cable. (That includes the linear L+SD portion of HBO’s House of the Dragon0.6 in 18-49, though a large part of that show’s viewing is done on HBO Max.)
Monarch also ranks as Fox’s most-watched fall scripted debut in three years, since Prodigal Son in September 2019 but we should note that Fox has not launched a new fall scripted series behind an NFL game since The Orville in 2017.
Following the premiere, Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier sent a congratulatory email to the network’s staff.
“Cooperation between Entertainment and Sports resulted in the strategic decision to streamline The OT after a FOX national NFL game that ended early, thus allowing Monarch to begin live across time zones at 7:45pm ET,” he wrote. “It’s also worth noting that we drew in this post-game audience even as Monarch was up against Tampa Bay’s opening night, which marked Tom Brady’s big return to the field against the Cowboys. Despite this formidable challenger, Monarch still took a Texas-sized bite out of the night… I’m really pleased with all of our efforts and with this beginning amidst a cluttered world.”
The premiere of Monarch will have additional encores tonight and Wednesday at 9 PM, The series’ second episode will premiere next Tuesday, September 20, in the drama’s regular 9 PM time slot after The Resident.
Collier went on to say, “While it’s great to share news of a strong opening night with you, we must remember that this is just the beginning of Monarch‘s story as we remain focused on the long-tail. It is important to note that these are preliminary measures that will be supplemented by additional encores tonight and Wednesday, as well as DVR/VOD timeshifting and streaming on Hulu between now and the show’s time period premiere on Tuesday 9/20.”
Created by Melissa London Hilfers, Monarch is a multigenerational musical drama about America’s first family of country music, the Romans. The premiere starred Trace Adkins, Anna Friel and Susan Sarandon.