Update: “Red Widow” Premiere Delivers Disappointing Ratings

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Update: The passable overnight numbers were not a reflection of how “Red Widow” performed in the adults 18-49 demographic. Indications reveal that “Widow” flopped in the target demographic, squandering a sizable portion of its “Once Upon a Time” (which is no longer a bit hit in its own right) lead-in.

The show delivered a 1.4 adults 18-49 rating with 6.9 million viewers.

Overnight metered market ratings are never definitive in predicting the more-important adults 18-49 and total viewership figures, and they seem particularly ambiguous in the case of ABC’s new series “Red Widow.”

According to TV Media Insights, the heavily-hyped two-hour premiere drew a 4.9 metered market rating (household approximate, not a demo rating), which represents impressive retention out of lead-in “Once Upon a Time” (5.0). The fact that the show held steady ground throughout its premiere–half hours broke down as 5.0, 4.9, 5.0 and 4.7–is also a positive.

On the surface, one would have every reason to think “Red Widow” got off to a great start.

But the show’s skew will matter. A 4.9 overnight is large enough to suggest the show did not totally flop but not so large that it assures an impressive demo figure.

For a potential point of reference, a recent “Once Upon a Time” original delivered a 4.9 in the metered markets and ended up with a 2.3 in the demo. That, again, should not be mistaken for any promise about how “Red Widow” performed.

Another factor worth considering is timeslot. “Red Widow” benefited from a 9PM airing and assistance from “Once Upon a Time” this week, but it will soon move to a one-hour format at 10PM with direct support from the weaker “Revenge.” So early success might not say much about long-term health.