Ratings progress report: Does ‘Limitless’ have unlimited potential still?

In the latest chapter of our Ratings Progress Report series at CarterMatt, we are here to chronicle the journey of a show that has been somewhat fascinating to us from the very onset in “Limitless” … and for so many reasons. This is a show that came into the fall with a well-known executive producer in Bradley Cooper who has even been willing to play a recurring role. Also, it’s the return of Jennifer Carpenter to TV following “Dexter.”

So what has the show done right? It’s performed well enough in the ratings to get a full-season order. However, isn’t there more than needs to be done to secure a second season? That’s something that we are going to examine here.

The good news – As a whole, “Limitless” this season is averaging a 1.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic, and when you look at other series that are airing at 10:00 p.m. Eastern across the board, that’s pretty good. It’s even better when you look at CBS. Right now, this is the network’s #1 scripted 10:00 show in the demo, topping “CSI: Cyber,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Code Black,” and “Blue Bloods.” Odds are, it will probably also be better than “Elementary.” Also, as of right now it is averaging almost the same rating as its lead-in “NCIS: New Orleans,” and is skewing as a whole significantly younger. All of these are great signs for the network, which is why we’d say for now that this is a show in at least contention of getting the spot after the Super Bowl. What better way to bring in Cooper for a big role?

The bad news – The has lost almost 25% of its peak audience over the past several weeks, and while that may be better than the majority of other new shows out there, it is still not altogether great given that this show has a smaller margin to work with. The show has barely made it to a 1.4 the past couple of episodes, and if it sinks much lower it could be in a danger spot of coming back.

Also, we just wonder commercially whether or not it would have been a better decision to give Carpenter’s Rebecca Harris the lead role of the show. She has a little more power behind her name than Jake McDorman, there is a movement around female action stars, and it could have created a little more buzz. That’s our worry with this show right now: Other than when Cooper shows up, it’s not getting much in the way of mainstream publicity.

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