But its Tuesday competition will get much tougher
It’s tough to draw too many conclusions from NBC’s early premieres this week, but the rebuilding net has to be cautiously optimistic.Sure, “The Voice” may be paying a price for returning so soon — it didn’t open as well as in its first two seasons — but there’s no doubt it will make the network a stronger player on Mondays this fall. And NBC’s goal to broaden its comedy palette appears to be paying off with good initial tune-in Tuesday for “Go On” and “The New Normal.” These early premieres offer the Peacock a chance to launch its fall fare away from the clutter; the competition will get much tougher when the fall season officially commences on Sept. 24. Tuesday’s new comedies, forexample, are scheduled to go up against Fox’s “New Girl” and new “The Mindy Project” beginning Sept. 25, and ABC’s “Happy Endings” and “Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23″ join the comedy pileup on Oct. 23. NBC gets another chance to make an early impression on Monday when 10 p.m. drama “Revolution” bows while chief competitors “Hawaii Five-0″ and “Castle” are still in repeats. Looking at the Tuesday numbers, NBC’s “The Voice” opened in its new 8 o’clock slot with a 4.0 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 and 11.42 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen. It nearly matched its two-hour season preem scores on Monday (and up when looking at just the common 8 o’clock hour) and stood as the night’s No. 1 program (albeit against repeats on ABC and CBS). Any comparisons to previous seasons of “The Voice” are tricky since the show didn’t start airing a second night until halfway through its run last season (April 3), and those were results-show hours, which typically don’t rate as high as the blind auditions, which are airing three nights this week. That first Tuesday results show last April averaged a 3.2/9 in 18-49 and 8.5 million viewers overall. Following “The Voice,” new Matthew Perry comedy “Go On” had a good regular-slot premiere (3.4/10 in 18-49, 9.73m) after airing its pilot preview episode following one night of the net’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in August. “Go On” retained 81% of its 18-49 lead-in from the 8:30 p.m. half-hour of “The Voice” and recorded the top comedy score for the network since the second episode of last season’s “The Office” in late September. And among NBC comedy premieres, “Go On” delivered the best 18-49 rating since “Outsourced” in September 2010 and in total viewers since “My Name Is Earl” in September 2005. It was followed by the timeslot debut of “The New Normal” (2.5/7, 6.96m), which retained 74% of its “Go On” lead-in and delivered the same demo score and a bit more total viewers than it had the previous night with its pilot preview on a special night (when it had a stronger lead-in courtesy of “The Voice”). It may take a while to see how these new NBC half-hours shake out, but at least the early, multiple airings helped expose them to a large audience. The “New Normal” pilot repeated Wednesday night, and the “Go On” pilot will be shown again on Friday. Closing out Tuesday for NBC was its early season premiere of “Parenthood” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.48m), which was down 14% from its opener of a year ago (which had a stronger lead-in from “America’s Got Talent”) but was in line with its same-night average for all of last season. There wasn’t much else happening Tuesday on the Big Four, with Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” (1.5/4, 4.33m) the only other original program.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more