More than 16 million of the 31 million-ish people who were still watching the London Olympics on NBC around 11 p.m. Wednesday stuck around to see the ad-free unveiling of the network’s new Matthew Perry comedy “Go On.”
For comparison sake: the biggest crowd NBC managed to convince to watch the unveiling of any of its new comedies last fall was the 11 million who caught the much-ballyhooed Lorne Michaels comedy “Up All Night.”
In fact, the “Go On” premiere – in which in which “Friends” alum Perry plays a grieving widower sportscaster in court-mandated group therapy (yes, really, it’s a comedy) – scored a bigger audience than any new comedy launch last fall, except the unveiling of CBS’s “2 Broke Girls.” “2 Broke Girls,” you’ll recall, premiered right after CBS killed off Charlie Sheen’s character – literally -- and trotted out a sometimes nekked Ashton Kutcher on “Two and a Half Men.” “2BG” averaged just under19 million viewers that Monday night in September.
Among 18-49 year old viewers who are NBC’s ad sales currency, “Go On” logged a 5.6 rating. That means 5.6 percent of the country’s audience in that age bracket watched.
Last fall, the best NBC’s comedy launch rating in the age bracket was also “Up All Night,” with a 3.7 rating, which had been considered a solid launch.
But maybe the best news for “Go On” – and NBC – the second half of the episode retained 84 percent of the first half’s audience, despite the late hour and the very large Olympics lead-in. Which suggests that a large chunk of the people who stuck around liked what they saw.
NBC suits have given “Go On” one of their network’s very best timeslots this fall – Tuesday at 9 p.m., immediately following singing competition series “The Voice.”
Because Wednesday’s late-night preview of “Go On” aired without commercials, Nielsen will not include it in NBC’s average for the night, the week or the TV season.