Forget for a minute about the sophomore-episode slump that traditionally befalls series premieres and instead let TV execs revel in the glory of a fantastic opening week that saw big-name new shows from each of the four major broadcast networks draw in over 10 million viewers each. (Remember, do not talk about those big second-ep ratings drops).
With the Big Four battling cable and online viewership, early numbers trended positive for at least a handful of the 15 shows that premiered.
CBS couldn’t have been happier with its new Robin Williams comedy The Crazy Ones drawing over 15.5 million viewers in its first week. But CBS wasn’t alone in the celebratory mood. NBC’s The Blacklist (below) featured more than 12.5 million viewers and ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was right behind with over 12 million viewers. Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, which debuted a week before, cashed in on over 10 million viewers in its first week and retained over 80 percent of those in its second week.
According to Nielsen, nobody has been able to touch NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast — and The Big Bang Theory slips past NCIS for scripted-show prowess early in the season — but The Crazy Ones (sixth), The Blacklist (13th) and Marvel’s Agents (15th) all cracked the overall Top 20.
Possibly to NBC’s surprise, The Blacklist bested its highly touted The Michael J. Fox Show, which did draw in 7.5 million viewers, but didn’t deliver as the network’s largest draw.
And while Michael J. Fox isn’t a failure by any stretch, there were some shows still on the hunt for more viewers after their debut. ABC’s Lucky 7—a lottery drama—had 4.4 million viewers, about the same place we saw Fox’s Dads drop to in its second week, with both still behind the not-much-better showing of CBS’ Hostages. But with over a dozen new shows, they couldn’t all be winners, right?
For now, the networks will keep a close eye on the follow-up weeks, which already saw a significant drop of about a third of Agents’ viewers on Tuesday (but that doesn’t count DVR and video-on-demand numbers which have trended up 17 percent over last year), but kept Sleepy Hollow (below) well intact.
Kelly Kahl, CBS’ program planning chief told USA Today “people are coming to network TV when we put on shows they want to see. We all had some success over the (last) couple of weeks. That’s a good sign.”
An even better sign for broadcast television would be another solid couple of weeks.
Here are the prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Sept. 23-29.
Listings include the week’s ranking and viewership.
1. NFL Football: New England at Atlanta, NBC, 20.49 million.
2. The Big Bang Theory (Thursday, 8:31 p.m.), CBS, 20.44 million.
3. NCIS CBS, 20.02 million.
4. The Big Bang Theory CBS, 18.99 million.
5. NCIS: Los Angeles CBS, 16.35 million.
6. The Crazy Ones CBS, 15.52 million.
7. Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick NBC, 15.26 million.
8. The Voice (Monday), NBC, 14.98 million.
9. The Voice (Tuesday), NBC, 14.35 million.
10. NFL Football: Oakland at Denver ESPN, 13.92 million.
11. Dancing With the Stars ABC, 13.57 million.
12. The OT Fox, 12.89 million.
13. The Blacklist NBC, 12.58 million.
14. Person of Interest CBS, 12.44 million.
15. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ABC, 12.12 million.
16. Blue Bloods CBS, 11.7 million.
17. Modern Family ABC, 11.66 million.
18. Two and a Half Men (Thursday) 9:31 p.m., CBS, 11.59 million.
19. Castle ABC, 11.46 million.
20. Football Night in America NBC, 11.36 million.