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A Crazy Number of People Watched the Roseanne Premiere

Even more than watched the finale in 1997!

Liam Mathews

ABC is probably breaking out the 20-year-old bag of pot in celebration of Roseanne's return.

The revival's Tuesday premiere earned a mind-boggling 5.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic and over 18 million viewers, according to TV by the Numbers, which makes it the biggest premiere of the 2017-18 broadcast season and one of the biggest non-sports or news shows on TV.

More people watched it than watched the original series finale in 1997, which was seen by 16.6 million people on initial broadcast -- and that was before ratings eroded in the streaming and DVR era. So after time-shifting gets factored in, the final number of Roseanne premiere watchers is going to be well over 20 million at a time when very little cracks 20 million viewers.

Revival ratings are usually high, but Roseanne tops them all. Will & Grace's return last year earned a 3.0 rating and 10.2 million viewers, and added another five million or so in delayed viewing, while The X-Files' first return in 2016 netted a 6.1 rating and 16.2 million viewers and ended up at 21.5 million viewers after delayed viewing. (Although The X-Files ratings slipped to a 2.4 and 7 million by the end of the revival's first season.)

Here's How the Roseanne Revival Came Together

According to Variety, the only scripted show to draw bigger numbers than Roseanne this season was the post-Super Bowl episode of This Is Us, which earned a 9.3 rating and 26.97 million viewers. TheWrap shared further historical context for just how big this premiere is, noting that it's ABC's most-watched episode of a scripted show since a Desperate Housewives premiere in 2008.

It will be a challenge for Roseanne to keep the numbers that high for the whole nine-episode run, but after a night like that, the revival will almost certainly get a second season if the cast decides they're up for it.

Roseanne airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.