ABC’s much-anticipated post-“Romeo & Juliet” TV series from Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland, titled “Still Star-Crossed,” which stars British actress Lashana Lynch, finally premiered last night, Monday, May 29, from 10:01-11:00 pm. But despite the rabid anticipation for the period drama, its first episode didn’t perform as strongly as one would’ve expected, with an underwhelming 0.5 rating in adults 18-49 and just 2.4 million viewers according to Nielsen. For some comparison, its lead-in show, “The Bachelorette,” drew a 1.5 rating and 5.6 million viewers, which was slightly lower than last week’s ratings, but mostly inline with what the show typically draws in terms of live viewers.
It could very be that the Memorial Day holiday hurt ratings for the premiere episode of “Still Star-Crossed” and it may have performed better on a different night entirely; maybe on Thursday night, which is Shondaland night on ABC. But even with that consideration, its opening numbers just don’t bode well for the freshman series. Typically, you’d expect the first episode of a much-anticipated new series to launch explosively in terms of ratings, and then gradually fade and settle into a tight range over time. So unless the next episode of “Still Star-Crossed” (which won’t be on a holiday) really outperforms and preferably draws better numbers than last night’s premiere, the series could be in trouble early. 2.4 million live viewers is just not good enough for an ABC primetime series; especially one as high profile as this one (given that it comes from Shondaland, and is probably expensive). Even “Scandal” – which is at series ratings lows this season, performing worse than it’s ever done since its first season – is averaging about 6 million viewers per episode. So 2.4 million for “Still Star-Crossed” likely won’t be acceptable for ABC brass.
But let’s see what the Live+ DVR numbers look like when they’re released; although I wouldn’t expect a huge shift upward. Ultimately, I’d say that next week’s episode will tell us a lot more.
Did you watch? If so, your reactions? And if you didn’t watch, but were at one time interested, why didn’t you tune in last night? Chime in below.
Written by Heather Mitchell, and based on the book by Melinda Taub, “Still Star-Crossed” is set in 16th century Verona, picking up where Shakespeare’s original work ended. It chronicles the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate.
The story centers on Rosaline (Lashana Lynch), described as a beautiful, intelligent and headstrong Capulet and Juliet’s cousin. Following the death of her parents, Rosaline is taken in by her aunt and uncle, Juliet’s parents Lady and Lord Capulet, and forced to work as a servant. She does her best to tolerate her aunt’s cruelty, and focuses on finding a way to free herself of the humiliation. She is eventually ordered to marry Benvolio (male lead Wade Briggs), a Montague.