Even the most confident clairvoyant at NBC couldn’t have predicted such a large bow for its Monday drama “Medium.”
The Patricia Arquette-led skein about an Arizona psychic who uses her abilities to help solve crimes generated NBC’s best numbers for a drama premiere in more than four years, nearly catching CBS drama powerhouse “CSI: Miami” in key demos in their head-to-head matchup.
Viewers, meanwhile, rejected Fox’s titillatingly titled and much-criticized adoption spec “Who’s Your Daddy?” which left the net deep in fourth place on the first night of the New Year to feature mostly firstrun fare.
And CBS got off to a solid start in latenight with new host Craig Ferguson.
Big story of the night, though, was NBC’s “Medium,” which scored a 6.3 rating/16 share and 16.09 million viewers overall — the best results for a Monday debut on the net in nearly 11 years (the comedy “Someone Like Me”), and the best for a drama on any night since “Ed” in October 2000.
Tapping into some of the same fascination that made CBS telepic “Living With the Dead” a smash two years ago, “Medium” finished a close second in demos to the Eye’s “CSI: Miami” (6.7/16 in 18-49, 18.49m).
And, in an encouraging sign, “Medium” grew by 10% in its second half-hour (6.6 vs. 6.0 in 18-49) and closed the gap with “CSI: Miami” to just two-tenths from 10:30 to 11 (6.6 vs. 6.8).
Lower than ‘Average’
Although “Average Joe” delivered higher numbers than the “Medium” bow a few times last winter, NBC has struggled with scripted programming in the Monday-at-10 hour since “CSI: Miami” came aboard a couple of years ago. So anything remotely close to the “Medium” premiere numbers would be a significant step up for NBC opposite such tough competish.
“Medium” is set to face “CSI: Miami” repeats in upcoming weeks. NBC also has skedded a special firstrun episode of “Medium” on Thursday in “ER’s” timeslot, and will replay the pilot on Saturday.
CBS won Monday over second-place NBC in both adults 18-49 (5.6/14 to 5.3/13) and total viewers (16.1 million vs. 13.4m), but this repped the Peacock’s best showing on the night this season.
From 8 to 10, both “Fear Factor” (4.5/12 in 18-49, 11.01m) and “Las Vegas” (5.0/12, 13.10m) performed well for NBC, while CBS received typically strong numbers from comedies “Everybody Loves Raymond” (6.3/15, 18.84m) and “Two and a Half Men” (6.2/14, 18.03m).
College football’s Sugar Bowl game between Auburn and Virginia Tech averaged a 4.8/12 in 18-49, and 14.20 million viewers overall, for ABC from 8-11:25 p.m. ET, placing third for the night, but first in male demos.
In latenight, the premiere of “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” improved upon the net’s seasonal time period averages in both adults 18-49 (0.8 rating vs. 0.7) and total viewers (2.1 million vs. 1.8m), according to preliminary Nielsen nationals ordered by CBS.
A repeat of NBC’s “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” beat Ferguson’s show in metered-market households (2.4 rating/8 share to 1.8/6), with the Peacock entry matching its highest Monday rating in eight months.