You shouldn't judge a book by its cover and you shouldn't judge a new show's potential success by its trailer views. Or at least until last year. In the first 11 days of its posting last May, the This Is Us trailer amassed more than 70 million plays across multiple platforms, with a record-breaking 50 million of them coming on Facebook. Everyone was flummoxed as to why. Was it Milo Ventimiglia's bare ass? Did NBC hack Facebook? Was it all the A Walk to Remember fans (no shade, it's a classic)? Were people genuinely excited about this triple-hanky tearjerker?
Turns out it was a lot of the latter. Rarely does that initial trailer curiosity translate into the kind of ratings and zeitgeist-y success This Is Us is enjoying, but while it may be the exception to the rule, the drama proved it can be done. So which new show has the best shot of becoming this year's This is Us, based solely on their trailer plays?
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We combed through all the released trailers and crunched the numbers! But first, some notes:
1. We only calculated plays on the shows' official YouTube and Facebook pages. The totals are the amounts as of press time, which will have changed by the time you finish reading this sentence.
2. The trailers weren't all released on the same day, so it's technically not a fair fight, but it is interesting to see which later trailers outpaced earlier ones. Post dates are in parentheses.
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The Runaway Top 5
These guys are far and away the best performing. The top three — The Gifted, Roseanne and Will & Grace — aren't surprising, as the former is set in the X-Men-verse and the latter two are revivals of groundbreaking hits. What made This Is Us' fast-rising tally impressive was the fact that it was neither superhero- nor property-reliant; it was a wholly original idea, and its twist was never forecasted in any of the pre-premiere materials. Seth McFarlane's Galaxy Quest-like space series The Orville is the only (relatively) original concept of this bunch. Even The Good Doctor was based on a South Korean series, but its heartstrings-tugging trailer and premise — Freddie Highmore is a young surgeon with autism — is in the same emotional/emotionally manipulative vein as This Is Us.
1. The Gifted (Fox) (May 14)
YouTube: 1.4 million
Facebook: 17 million
Total: 18.4 million
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The Rest of the Top 10
Nos. 6-10 is a mix of action drama, true crime drama, spiritual drama, mystery-suspense drama and superhero drama. Note that The CW's Black Lightning has beaten all of CBS' shows and all of Fox's other shows despite being up the least amount of time.
6. The Brave (NBC) (May 14)
YouTube: 1.9 million
Facebook: 7.1 million
Total: 9 million
8. The Gospel of Kevin (ABC) (May 16)
Facebook: 5 million
Total: 5.53 million
9. The Crossing (ABC) (May 16)
Facebook: 3.4 million
Total: 3.83 million
10. Black Lightning (The CW) (May 18)
Facebook: 2.9 million
Total: 3.48 million
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Million Dollar Babies
Everyone here has cleared 1 million plays, headlined by yet another reboot, The CW's Dynasty, which is beating Shondaland's latest, For the People. We get our first CBS entry with its crown jewel, The Big Bang Theory prequel spin-off Young Sheldon, and our first Fox sighting since The Orville with midseason comedy LA to Vegas. Maybe people wanted to see if it starred Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney?
11. Dynasty (The CW) (May 18)
Facebook: 3 million
Total: 3.26 million
17. The Mayor (ABC) (May 16)
YouTube: 1.5 million
Total: 1.54 million
Everything to know about CBS' fall lineup
Bringing Up the Rear
One of the most surprising entries on this list is S.W.A.T.'s low performance considering it's a reboot of a well-known property and stars Criminal Minds fave Shemar Moore. The ironic thing, of course, is that CBS shows are easily the most-watched of all the networks, so their low trailer plays probably won't have much bearing on the shows' actual performances. Kyra Sedgwick's Ten Days in the Valley is by far the worst performing of ABC's trailers, one of two not to hit 1 million (and from the looks of it, won't be close to that benchmark for a while). Dead last is military drama Valor, which is the apple in a bag of oranges in The CW's superhero-heavy and female-skewing slate.
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18. Deception (ABC) (May 16)
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(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)