CW’s ‘The Flash’ Off to Fast Ratings Start Tuesday — Net’s Best Bow in Five Years

CW The Flash TV Review

CW drama “The Flash” opened to impressive ratings Tuesday, drawing more young adults than any program on ABC (including “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD”) or Fox last night and logging the best scores for a premiere on the network in the five years since “The Vampire Diaries” in 2009.

The night also saw soft second-week scores for ABC comedies “Selfie” and “Manhattan Love Story,” which had opened OK last week. NBC won the night in young adults even with a “Voice” clips show, as “Chicago Fire” remained hot, while CBS won in adults 25-54 and cruised in total viewers behind its “NCIS” shows.

According to preliminary national estimates, “The Flash” averaged a 1.8 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 and 4.5 million viewers overall — a demo rating well above the net’s top premieres in recent years, “The Originals” last year (1.0) and “Arrow” in 2012 (1.3). You have to go back to the September 2009 premiere of “The Vampire Diaries” to find a better premiere on the network in both 18-49 and total viewers.

Based on the DC Comic character and starring Grant Gustin in the title role, the well-reviewed “Flash” placed second in its hour among adults 18-34 (1.5/6) while dominating in males 12-34 (1.8/8). And in another good sign, it built in its second half-hour across the board — including by two tenths in 18-49 (1.9 vs. 1.7) and about 500,000 total viewers (4.8 million vs. 4.3 million).

“The Flash” was CW’s most-watched show in the Tuesday 8 p.m. timeslot in more than seven years (“Gilmore Girls” series finale in May 2007) and highest-rated in adults 18-49 in more than six years (since “90210” in September 2008).

“Flash” was followed by the tenth-season premiere of “Supernatural” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall), which matched its year-ago premiere score in 18-49. In both adults 18-34 (1.1/4) and total viewers, this was the show’s best start to a season since 2010.

The dramas combined to give the CW its most-watched night (3.66 million) since May 2010,  Last night was The CW’s most watched night (3.66M) in more than four years (5/12/10), and its highest rated night in A18-49 (1.5/5) in more than four years also (9/9/10). It was the best A18-34 night (1.3/5) for the network since 10/11/12.

At NBC, a two-hour “The Voice” clips show did pretty well from 8 to 10 p.m. (2.4/8 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall), retaining nearly 60% of its week-ago firstrun rating and finishing slightly behind CBS in the time period in 18-49. The standout, though, was 10 p.m. third-year drama “Chicago Fire” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall), which again bested its CBS and ABC drama competition in adults 18-49 even though it had a softer lead-in this time; it was down just 9% from last week and matched its score of the comparable week a year ago (while rising 13% year-to-year in total viewers).

Next week “The Voice” is slimmed down to an hour on Tuesday, where it will be followed by the series premiere of “Marry Me” and the second-season debut of “About a Boy.”

At CBS, “NCIS” (2.6/9 in 18-49, 17.1 million viewers overall) won the 8 o’clock hour in 18-49, 25-54 (3.8/11) and total viewers, and ruled as the night’s top program in each of these categories. It was steady with last week, as was 9 p.m. rookie “NCIS: New Orleans” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 15.3 million viewers overall), which featured a guest appearance by Special Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon) of “NCIS.”

Closing the night, “Person of Interest” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall) was down a couple of ticks to its low — placing second among the broadcasters to “Chicago Fire” in key demos while easily winning in total viewers.

At ABC, “Selfie” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) and “Manhattan Love Story” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) were both down more than 20% from their week-ago prelims (and about 30% from their nationals). The lower start to the night seemed to drag down dramas “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall) and “Forever” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall), with the former hitting a low and the latter matching its week-ago prelim (and down a tenth from its national rating).

Fox, which removed “Utopia” from its schedule after last week’s poor results, did only slightly better in Tuesday’s opening hour with a repeat of the hourlong Sept. 28 “Family Guy” episode featuring a crossover with “The Simpsons” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall). It was followed by comedies “New Girl” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall), which was steady week to week, and “The Mindy Project” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall), which was down a tenth.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 2.3/7; CBS, 2.2/7; CW, 1.5/5; ABC, 1.3/4; Univision, 1.1/3; Fox, 1.0/3; Telemundo, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 14.1 million; NBC, 8.8 million; ABC, 4.4 million; CW, 3.7 million; Univision, 2.9 million; Fox, 2.2 million; Telemundo, 1.4 million.

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  1. HONKYSAUCE says:

    This show is a dumbed down version of DC’s The Flash + a melodramatic tween drama aimed at a much younger audience. Ignoring the core fanbase and watering down the already rich storylines from the comic book pages makes for an almost unbearable show. I cannot sit through another scene where the STAR Labs “scientists” (who look 15) say things like “that’s hella cool bro” and then casually describe designing Captain Cold’s ice blaster with scientific jargon abound. This rendition of The Flash is a hybrid of Wally West, Barry Allen & the animated version of the Flash. That is a horrible recipe. His personality is bland, yet extremely aloof and immature for a forensics scientist. The actor portraying the scarlet speedster doesn’t have the physique or the acting chops to pull it off. The writers of this show need to set their resumes on fire along with this drivel they think is dialogue.The only thing this show has are the special effects when Barry Allen dons his costume. I wouldn’t be surprised if the show gets cancelled.

  2. Jacques Strappe says:

    Once you get over the shock and awe of anything on The CW getting a 1.8 rating (which might even adjust up a tenth, too) and cooler thinking prevails, I can’t help but think The Flash’s ratings are a proverbial flash in the pan. I’m not trying to diminish the quality or appeal of The Flash. It was respectable for a comic book adapted to television–perhaps the most pure comic book inspired show on television, superhero costume and all. Its optimistic tone seems a lot more family friendly than fellow DC comic inspired Gotham. But let’s face it, network (and film) marketing departments are masterfully using Comic Con and social media to create this frenzied, insane anticipation for these comic book adaptations and comic book inspired show premiers, turning their debuts into “event” programming. The result is lots of curiosity seekers tuning in to see what all the hoopla is all about but many will not return in subsequent weeks. These disproportionately high ratings debuts for this genre of programming on all networks is probably the new normal for the foreseeable future but history shows that they are not even remotely sustainable for very long. In the coming weeks, I anticipate The Flash’s ratings settling into more typical CW territory of 0.8 to 1.1. It’s a lock for renewal but I don’t believe it be the top CW show in the key demo by the end of the season.

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