NBC’s “Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris,” the first of 22 new series bowing on the broadcast networks this fall, received pretty good sampling in its premiere Tuesday night following the season finale of “America’s Got Talent” — though its preseason bow meant it was going up against repeat programming on both on both ABC and CBS.
The variety hour, which is adapated from a British format, averaged a 1.9 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 6.8 million viewers overall in the 10 o’clock hour, according to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, winning its timeslot in both categories. It went from a 2.0 in the demo at 10 to a 1.7 at 10:30, a fairly typical drop for a show in the late hour coming out of a higher-rated program.
The 1.9 rating is the best for a regularly scheduled program in the time period for NBC since an early April episode of “Chicago Fire.” The network aired two firstrun alternative series in the Tuesday-at-10 timeslot this summer, with newcomer “I Can Do That” averaged a 1.5 rating in 18-49 and 5.3 million same-day viewers for its six episodes, and Jane Lynch-hosted “Hollywood Game Night” following that up with a 1.3 demo rating and about 4.6 million same-day viewers for its ten episodes.
During the regular season, airing behind a combination of “The Voice” and young comedies, original episodes of “Chicago Fire” averaged a 1.8 rating in 18-49 and 7.4 million viewers overall in same-day ratings.
“Best Time Ever” on Tuesday benefited from a sizable lead-in courtesy of the season finale of “America’s Got Talent” (2.3 rating/9 share in adults 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall) and went up against repeats on both ABC and CBS. Ruling once again as summer’s top-rated series, “Talent” was Tuesday’s No. 1 program and was down a smidge from its year-ago closer (2.5/8 in 18-49, 11.5 million viewers overall).
Next week, “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris” will again air at 10 p.m., following a two-hour episode of “The Voice.” It will then finish out its initial run in the tough 8 o’clock hour, where its competition will include veteran “NCIS” and newcomer “The Muppets.”
The only other first-run broadcast programming on Tuesday came at CBS, where a special night of “Big Brother” averaged a 2.0 rating/8 share in 18-49 and 6.4 million viewers overall at 8 o’clock. It was followed by the season finale of scripted drama “Zoo” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall), which was down a tenth from last week.
ABC aired a recap of the previous night’s “Dancing With the Stars” premiere from 8 to 10 p.m. (1.1/4 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall). And Fox warmed up audiences for next week’s two-hour series premiere of “Scream Queens” by airing a repeat of 2000 feature film “Scary Movie” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall).
The winning primetime performance by NBC carried over to late-night, where “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” hit a nine-week Tuesday high. Its 3.0 household rating/8 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnights comfortably beat both CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (2.3/6, its lowest to date) and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (2.1/6). And in the markets with Local People Meters, “Tonight” (1.1 rating) more than doubled both “Late Show” (0.5/3, lowest to date) and “Kimmel” (0.5/3).