CBS was the ratings winner in key demos on Tuesday behind the night’s dominant program, “NCIS,” while the CW and its DC Comics programming out-rated ABC and its Marvel programming, which included a sluggish return for “Marvel’s Agents of Carter.”
According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ABC’s the hourlong special “Marvel’s Captain America: 75 Heroic Years” didn’t do much leading off the night (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall), placing fifth among the English-language broadcasters in the 8 o’clock hour. It was followed by the two-hour second-season premiere of “Marvel’s Agent Carter” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), which became the latest limited-run series across networks to return to noticeably lower numbers; the 0.9 last night was 0.4 below its low-water mark when it aired seven weeks in early 2015. By comparison, the lowest numbers this season for “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” in the Tuesday-at-9 hour were a 1.3 in 18-49 and 3.5 million total viewers.
“Agent Carter” will pick up some audience in delayed viewing, as it grew on average last season by 60% in adults 18-49 (1.5 to 2.4) and by 52% in total viewers (5.0 million to 7.6 million) when comparing its same-day averages to “live plus-7.”
Elsewhere, CBS opened the night with another strong “NCIS” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 17.4 million viewers overall), which was Tuesday’s No. 1 program in 18-49, 25-54 (3.6/10), 12-34 (1.2/5) and total viewers. This was the show’s third highest rating of the television season, behind only its recent high set with an “NCIS: New Orleans” crossover (2.7) and its season premiere (2.5).
“NCIS: New Orleans” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 13.2 million viewers overall) was also above average and logged its third best score of the season, standing as the night’s No. 2 program in 18-49, 25-54 (2.7/7) and total viewers. The momentum stalled at 10 p.m., though, as “Limitless” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall) was down 0.2 from its prior original to hit a season low.
NBC kicked things off with “Hollywood Game Night” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall), which was up a tenth from last week and matched its premiere demo score of two weeks ago while drawing its largest overall audience of the season. It was followed by “Chicago Med” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall) and “Chicago Fire” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall), which remain a potent tandem even if they predictably were down from their crossover-boosted averages of two weeks ago. This was the lowest score in six airings to date for “Med,” but this is a pretty good score considering it’s the first time it had neither a “Voice” lead-in or was part of a crossover storyline. And “Chicago Fire” wasn’t too far below its prior season average and was the easy timeslot winner among the broadcasters at 10 o’clock.
At CW, “The Flash” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall) was on the low end of its season ratings range, but was up from its final original of 2015 and was the night’s top superhero-themed program; it also appears poised to round up to a 1.4 in the finals. The second-year drama was No. 1 in its time period in men 18-34 (1.3/6) and No. 2 in 18-34 (1.1/5), 18-49 and men 18-49 (1.6/6).
It was followed by a pair of half-hour specials that generated good numbers for the network: a preview of new Thursday series “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall) and “Dawn of the Justice League” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 1.8 million viewers overall), a preview of upcoming DC Films.
At Fox, “New Girl” was down in its third week (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) but remains the network’s strongest comedy player on the night. It was followed by “Grandfathered” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall) and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall), which were down a tenth from their most recent originals, and “The Grinder” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall), which held at its most recent rating.