Justin Hartley certainly has a proven track record when it comes to post-Super Bowl dramas.
In an often-uneven linear landscape, the This Is Us alum’s new CBS series Tracker scored a very solid 18.4 million viewers in its debut after the network’s Super Bowl coverage Sunday. That’s the best premiere of any series on any network since … well, the last time the still Shari Redstone-owned network had the Super Bowl in 2021 and Queen Latifah’s The Equalizer hit the small screen.
More from Deadline
The hip hop legend’s still-running crime procedural had a viewership of 20.4 million on February 7, 2021.
As for the crime-solving Hartley show based on Jeffrey Deaver’s 2019 book The Never Game, there could be more eyeballs coming once viewers on Paramount+, CBS.com and the CBS app are factored in over the coming days. As it is, CBS is predicting the Tracker debut will top out at around 25 million viewers.
Currently up around 16% in viewers so far compared with last year’s post-Super Bowl Next Level Chief on Fox, Tracker hung on to about 15% of Super Bowl LVIII’s record-breaking crowd of 123.4 million. It should be noted that the Super Bowl audience total — bigger than anything ever on American TV outside of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 — is a meld of viewers on CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Univision and various digital platforms including NFL+.
Hartley last starred in a post-Super Bowl drama on February 4, 2018 when This Is Us’ emotional “Super Bowl Sunday” as the 14th episode of the Dan Fogelman-created series’ second season. You can check out the football-themed plot yourself, but suffice to say the episode pulled in almost 27 million viewers – the most for any post-Super Bowl drama ever.
With this year’s NFL title showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers going into OT, Tracker had the one of the latest debuts of any post-game show ever when it began at 11:14 p.m. ET/8:14 p.m. PT. Only Alias in 2003 on ABC and Elementary in 2016 on CBS started later.
Best of Deadline