September 30, 2022

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Gains a Big Audience While ‘The Voice’ Keeps Rolling

The networks on Tuesday night again demonstrated that they can successfully introduce a series to the public, as ABC’s much-hyped new comic-book drama, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” posted the best numbers for a new drama in almost four years.

Still, the story of the early television season remains the performance of the NBC singing competition “The Voice,” which scored another two hours of hit ratings on Tuesday, surpassing its performance a year ago and leading all of television for its second hour.

The result for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” was welcome news for ABC, which put enormous support behind the start of the series, a spinoff from the movie franchise “The Avengers” (except that it does not star superheroes). Though the characters can’t fly, the premiere did, attracting just under 12 million viewers and a big 4.6 rating among viewers in the 18- to 49-year-old age group, which ABC uses for most of its ad sales. (That number, which is based on initial overnight sampling, is sure to grow when national ratings come in and even more so after delayed viewing is counted over the next three days.)

“S.H.I.E.L.D.” is the third new drama this season to open with hit-size numbers, following “Sleepy Hollow” on Fox and “The Blacklist” on NBC.

Unfortunately for ABC, Tuesday was book-ended by a second new drama, “Lucky 7,” which opened with the lowest drama ratings for a fall premiere that ABC has ever scored: fewer than five million viewers and only a 1.3 rating in that 18-49 category.

ABC got mixed results from its two new comedies in the 9 p.m. hour. “The Goldbergs,” which immediately followed “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” rode that lead-in to strong initial numbers, over nine million viewers and a 3.2 rating in the 18-49 measure. But the falloff accelerated in the 9:30 half-hour for “Trophy Wife,” which dropped to 6.6 million viewers and a 2.3 rating with those younger adults.

The competition was fierce Tuesday and it especially cost the Fox network. Ratings tumbled for two new comedies Fox introduced last week, “Dads” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”; and two of the network’s holdover comedies, “New Girl” and “The Mindy Project,” got battered.

The main reason: another potent night for “The Voice,” which again topped its ratings from a year ago. The music show averaged over 14 million viewers for its two hours Tuesday, with a 4.6 rating among the 18- to 49-year-old viewers. It would have likely been even bigger but for the sampling going on for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” in the 8 p.m. hour. In the 9 p.m. hour, “The Voice” jumped to 15.5 million viewers and a 5.2 rating in the 18-49 category.

CBS’s night of long-running crime shows held its own against the heightened competition, though their ratings were down from last year. The juggernaut “NCIS” still attracted more viewers than anything else on television, over 19 million, but it was down to a 3.4 rating in the 18-49 group from a 4.1 last season. It was the lowest “NCIS” premiere in six years.

Its spinoff, “NCIS: Los Angeles,” was also down, about 12 percent, to a 3.0 rating and just over 16 million viewers.

The strength of “The Voice” helped make a winner at 10 p.m. out of “Chicago Fire” on NBC, which scored a solid 2.8 rating among the 18-49 viewers. That topped “Person of Interest” (2.3) on CBS, though typically for that network it was the winner in total viewers with 12.3 million to 9.3 million for “Fire.”

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Another Promising Night for Fox and Its Early Start to TV Season

On its second night of jump-starting the new television season a week before its network competition, the Fox network again got some positive results.

A new comedy, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” got some promising ratings; another, “Dads,” fared well enough to hold out some hope, and one returned comedy, “New Girl,” showed some renewed strength.

Only one comedy, “The Mindy Project,” generated disappointing numbers, probably disappointing as much to critics as to Fox executives because “Mindy” had been widely extolled before its second-season premiere. The premiere also featured a guest appearance by James Franco.

Even so, Fox will probably take the overall performance on a Tuesday night, where it struggled badly last season. Probably the best news was the strong showing for “Brooklyn,” another favorite of critics, which drew six million viewers and a solid 2.5 rating among the group Fox sells to advertisers, viewers between the ages of 18 and 49.

The other new series, “Dads,” which had been excoriated by critics for what they charged was racially insensitive humor, managed a 2.1 in that 18-49 group and 5.6 million viewers, both respectable numbers for a newcomer. “New Girl” returned with 5.6 million viewers and the best 18-49 rating of the night, a 2.9. Both numbers were up slightly from the show’s premiere episode a year ago.

“The Mindy Project” however, showed what may be a worrisome falloff from “New Girl,” dropping to just under four million viewers and a 1.9 rating in the 18-49 group. Fox, which is also offering projections of how its shows will fare when delayed viewing is counted, offered some hope for “Mindy,” suggesting it could eventually reach more than six million viewers and climb to a 2.7 rating among those younger adult viewers.

That would still be a sizable falloff from “New Girl,” which Fox thinks could get as high as more than 10.5 million viewers and perhaps a 4.7 rating in the 18-49 category.

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Media Decoder Blog: ‘Smash’ Ratings Hit a New Low on NBC

Can “Smash” stay on the air? The enormously publicized — and enormously expensive — NBC drama crashed to a new ratings low Tuesday night, hitting a level that only a few weeks ago caused another NBC drama, “Do No Harm,” to be yanked off the air.

On Tuesday, “Smash” pulled in only 2.6 million viewers and a remarkably low 0.7 rating in the audience that NBC sells to advertisers, viewers between the ages of 18 and 49. Not only was that the worst number recorded Tuesday by any show on network television, it is exactly the same rating that pushed “Do No Harm” over the ratings cliff.

That medical drama won the unfortunate distinction of scoring the lowest ratings for its premiere of any drama in network history; now “Smash” has sunk to that level.

But “Smash” may yet survive for several reasons, beginning with its close association with Bob Greenblatt, the top NBC Entertainment executive, who brought the show with him from Showtime when he joined NBC. More significant, perhaps, is that NBC has an enormous amount already invested in “Smash.”

The show has completed all 17 episodes it had scheduled this year. At a cost of about $4 million an episode, NBC has already spent about $70 million on the show. To pull it off the air now, after just four of those completed episodes have been broadcast, would mean NBC would have no chance to recoup the rest of its investment.

But NBC did remove “Do No Harm” despite having paid for 13 completed episodes of that show. (NBC may broadcast the remaining 11 at some later date, but at a much lower advertising rate.)

There is also evidence that NBC still believes “Smash” does not belong in the same category as “Do No Harm.’ Last week, the network’s public relations department pointed out that “Smash” may have a small audience, but it is among the most affluent audiences in television. That makes its small audience a bit more attractive to advertisers.

This week, the account of the abysmal ratings for “Smash” included the note that the Broadway drama is still heavily viewed on a delayed basis, with last week’s rating growing by 66 percent after three days of delayed viewing, rising to a 1.5 rating from a 0.9. Three days’ worth of added viewing is what advertisers will pay for, so “Smash” looks somewhat better financially when that accounting is included.

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Media Decoder Blog: On Second Night in New Slot, a Ratings Slide for Kimmel

Not that anyone should have expected Jimmy Kimmel to stage an immediate late-night ratings coup, but on his second night in a head-to-head-to-head contest with Jay Leno and David Letterman, Mr. Kimmel fell slightly in the ratings, while both other hosts added viewers.

The strength of Mr. Leno and NBC’s “Tonight” show was underscored by his margin among total viewers. On Wednesday, Mr. Leno averaged 3.55 million viewers, up from 3.27 million the night before. That put Mr. Leno in a strong first-place position among total viewers.

Mr. Letterman also experienced an upward bounce, to 3.04 million total viewers from 2.88 million.

Mr. Kimmel, meanwhile, saw his viewer total drop off to 2.86 million viewers from 3.09 million on Tuesday night — meaning he finished third in viewers on his second night.

But in the contest among the viewers who count the most among advertisers, viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, Mr. Kimmel showed more strength. He picked up significantly from his first night, averaging 1.08 million viewers in that age group, up from 887,000 on Tuesday. That total was a virtual tie with Mr. Leno, who was just 6,000 viewers ahead in the 18-49 category.

Mr. Letterman also picked up significantly in that group, growing to 998,000 viewers in that audience segment from 683,000 on Tuesday.

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