Quantum Leap Reboot Ratings Plummet

The Quantum Leap reboot returned from a 56-day hiatus to ratings nearly half of its premiere just last summer.

By Mark McKee | Updated

quantum leap reboot

Quantum Leap is one of the most influential TV series of the late ’80s and early ’90s, following Sam Beckett across decades of essential people in history. While that series brought the concept of time travel away from using a time machine and shedding the Marty McFly dynamic of saving one’s self from the trope, the sequel to the series has yet to catch up to the love of the trope. According to Cosmic Book, the Quantum Leap reboot returned from a two-month break only to land with falling ratings. 

The sequel series had the benefit of a built-in fanbase when it dropped its pilot episode in July of last year, attracting the highest amount of viewers the series has seen, with nearly 3.4 million viewers. The series then declined steadily to a low of 2.2 million viewers before it went on hiatus for 56 days in the middle of its inaugural season. When the Quantum Leap reboot returned to the screen with meager ratings, it stayed steady at 2.3 million viewers; but the most recent episode that dropped, “Paging Dr. Song,” only picked up a measly 1.7 million viewers on January 9. 

Of course, this new development begs the question, what is next for the science-fiction favorite? While traditionally, falling ratings determine that the series (especially a sci-fi series) would be more expensive than it is worth and therefore be scrapped, the new industry framework may allow a home for the Quantum Leap reboot, despite the low ratings and viewership. It also suggests that the original series has a large base of fans still holding out hope for a little bit of nostalgia or maybe an appearance of Scott Bakula

Scott Bakula and the amazingly dressed Dean Stockwell from the original Quantum Leap

The original Quantum Leap sees Sam Beckett, a brilliant scientist desperate to prove his $43 billion time-travel project is worth the investment by testing it on himself. When he uses the project accelerator, he finds himself in 1956 in the body of a test pilot; what follows is five seasons of the man jumping from body to body and solving a problem for the person he jumped into before beginning the process over again. The series pioneered a new version of time travel, where the body didn’t necessarily have to go if the consciousness could travel and affect change around it. 

The Quantum Leap reboot’s ratings could be explained by a few factors, one of which suggests that audiences are tired of reboots at this point, having virtually every major series from days past returning to mediocre storylines. Another is the absence of the original series stars, Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell, who played his trusty source of information, Al. The other could be the storytelling approach each series takes; with the original having only the two heroes as returning characters and no actual chronological storyline, the majority of the episodes can be viewed randomly, whereas the new series involves a core cast of characters and the series needs to be viewed sequentially. 

While Quantum Leap‘s reboot may be suffering from falling ratings at the moment, the studio has already ordered additional episodes for Season 1 and greenlit Season 2. So, now they have time to course correct if needed or pick up a wider audience.