Net dominates in demos, sees OK starts for new comedies

A good but unspectacular return for “The Voice” combined with “Sunday Night Football” and a solid start for comedy “Go On” to lift NBC to a dominant primetime ratings victory last week.

The frame also saw a decent debut for another Peacock comedy, “The New Normal,” a sluggish return for Fox’s “The X Factor” and an impressive season premiere for FX’s “Sons of Anarchy.”

“The Voice” and “X Factor” didn’t do themselves any favors by going head-to-head for one hour on Wednesday, with NBC putting the collision in motion by making a late sked change to blunt the debut of Britney Spears as a judge on the Fox show.

NBC won that matchup in both 18-49 rating (3.4 to 2.9) and total viewers (10.9 million to 7.8 million), though the two-hour average for “The X Factor” in its premiere (3.4/10) tied with “The Voice” for the night’s top show.

“Voice” kicked off its third season with the week’s top scores for an entertainment series with Monday’s two-hour debut (4.2/11 in 18-49, 12.28m) and Tuesday’s hour (4.0/12, 11.42m) but was down from its first two editions (which kicked off at different times of the year so comparisons aren’t clean).

“X Factor” showed rather sharp declines vs. its premiere last fall (4.4/12 in 18-49) and followed its Wednesday preem numbers last week with similar numbers on Thursday for its hourlong telecast (3.1/10, 8.28m).

Both shows not only returned lower, but will have to contend with tougher competition down the line as well.

Overall for the week of Sept. 10-16, NBC cruised with a 3.1 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and was followed by Fox (1.9/6), CBS and Univision (1.4/4), ESPN (1.3/4) and ABC (1.1/3). The Peacock, which has now tied or led outright in 18-49 for six of the last eight weeks, also won comfortably in total viewers (9 million).

Pro football continued to dominate, with “Sunday Night Football” easily the week’s No. 1 primetime show (8.9/23 in 18-49, 21.33m for Lions-49ers). ESPN led cable with its “Monday Night Football” doubleheader premiere, which was down from last year but averaged a 5.7/16 in 18-49 and 12.92 million viewers during primetime.

And NFL Network kicked off its season of “Thursday Night Football” earlier than years past, winning the night with its rivalry matchup of the Bears and Packers (3.8/11 in 18-49, 8.56m).

In addition to the return of the music contests on NBC and Fox, the Peacock also used “The Voice” to lead into the regular-slot premieres of Tuesday comedies “Go On” (3.4/10, 9.73m) and “The New Normal” (2.5/7, 6.96m). While they represent above-average deliveries for NBC half-hours, they will eventually do battle with comedies in the Tuesday 9 o’clock hour on both ABC and Fox.

At Fox, “Glee” bowed on its new night Thursday (3.1/8, 7.41m), down about 20% vs. last year when it kicked off on premiere-week Tuesday; it retained all of its 18-49 demo rating lead-in from “X Factor”

ABC’s returning Friday lineup of unscripted/news programs kicked off its season early, and to consistently good results: “Shark Tank” (1.8/7, 6.40m), “What Would You Do?” (1.7/6, 5.31m) and “20/20″ (1.8/6, 6.13m).

Of note on cable, FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” (2.8/8, 5.37m) kicked off its fifth season with series highs Tuesday, standing as the week’s No. 1 entertainment series in men 18-34 (3.5/12) and 18-49 (3.4/11).

E! saw a nice finale for “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” on Sunday (1.8/4 in 18-49, 3.57m).

And Oxygen’s summer series “Bad Girls Club” hit season highs on Monday (0.8/2, 1.58m), ranking as cable’s top entertainment series in the 10 o’clock hour in key women demos.

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