It’s almost unbelievable that this show premiered in 1993. Well, sort of (three TV movies aired before the show’s premiere – one in 1992, the other two in ’93). I was in first grade when DIAGNOSIS: MURDER started on CBS, and it always felt like the show came straight out of the golden old days of QUINCY, M.D. and COLUMBO. Still, the 90s success story of Dick Van Dyke didn’t really start that euphoric on the old-folks network, despite the fact it started off in a JAKE AND THE FATMAN episode (DIAGNOSIS: MURDER is therefore a spin-off show). One fifth of the TV watching audience tuned into the series premiere, which didn’t quite mean the show was a success. In fact, it wasn’t, and if the ratings would have remained below 10.0 in 2014, there would have been a great chance that DIAGNOSIS: MURDER was only a one-season drama, and maybe CBS should have just produced a couple more TV movies.
But the ratings climbed with the start of the new year, and CBS and viewers who realized they loved this show had hopes for some great survival. DIAGNOSIS: MURDER was never a break-out hit for CBS, but the rise in viewership and ratings made the Friday night show look much better in 2014 than it did in 2013. The lowest-rated season one episode of 2014 was still higher-rated than the 2013 episodes (excluding the pilot), which probably says a lot. For CBS, it said that ordering a second season was a good choice.