Third-season premiere of “The Shield” didn’t arrest auds, averaging 2.8 million overall viewers in its bow.
The 10 p.m. episode was down significantly from previous premieres: Second-season launch in January 2003 drew 4.4 million total viewers; the series debut in March 2002 drew 4.8 million.
Still, skein held up in FX’s core audience of younger viewers (1.6/4 in adults 18-49, 2 million). Demo numbers are down from the 3.2 million the cop show captured in the second-season premiere but on par with the series average of 2.2 million. “The Shield” also topped men 18-49 rankings for the night in basic cable (2.0/6, 1.3 million).
Show faced competition from Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” (2.3 million overall viewers) and A&E’s “Cold Case Files” (2.2 million). Meanwhile, the 14th edition of MTV’s “The Real World” racked up a 2.4/6 in 18-49 and 4.2 million total viewers.
“The Shield” got little help from the lead-in theatrical “Planet of the Apes,” which drew just 794,000 viewers.
No ‘Significant’ viewers
Elsewhere Tuesday, Bravo’s series launch of the improv comedy “Significant Others” premiered to 494,000 viewers in its target 25-54 category, down dramatically from recent launches “Celebrity Poker Showdown” and “Queer Eye.”
Cabler premiered two half-hours at 9 p.m. with an encore episode at 11 p.m. Latenight repeat built on its initial audience, drawing 579,000 viewers in 25-54. Second episode at 9:30 delivered 486,000 in the demo.
There is already talk that NBC may give the laffer some exposure on the Peacock net.