CBS Dramas Top Tuesday, but ‘Splash’ Makes Noise for ABC

Celebrity diving series grabs best demo score for a reality premiere since Fox's 'X-Factor'

CBS Dramas Top Tuesday, 'Splash' Makes

CBS has won another Tuesday behind its “NCIS” combo and a rising “Golden Boy,” but ABC made a bit of a splash on the night with pretty good numbers for the debut of its diving series “Splash” — though it will have to face NBC’s “The Voice” starting next week.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, CBS won all three hours on the night in key demos starting with veteran “NCIS” (3.1 rating/10 share in adults 18-49, 19.1 million viewers overall), which was Tuesday’s No. 1 program but was down a bit in its first airing after the onset of Daylight Saving Time. It was followed by its spinoff, “NCIS: Los Angeles” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 16.6 million viewers overall), which introduced characters for a possible spinoff of its own called “NCIS: Red.” Featuring guest stars John Corbett and Kim Raver, who would appear in the series if its makes the CBS schedule next season, “NCIS: Los Angeles” was the night’s No. 2 program in key categories and matched its most recent first-run delivery.

Closing the night for CBS was “Golden Boy” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall), which was up 13% week to week and just a tick off its series-premiere score of Feb. 26.

At ABC, “Splash” averaged a 2.6/8 in adults 18-49 and 8.8 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour, topping Fox’s competing unscripted series “Hell’s Kitchen” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall) and placing second to “NCIS” with the top 18-49 score for the premiere of an unscripted series on any network since Fox’s “The X-Factor” in September 2011.

The show’s premiere gave ABC its best 18-49 performance with a regular series in the Tuesday 8 p.m. hour since October 2011 (“Last Man Standing” and “Man Up”). Another ABC reality show, “Celebrity Wife Swap,” opened with a pretty good 2.4 demo rating in the hour on Feb. 26 with the first of its three episodes, but then dropped off considerably in its other two outings. In a good sign, “Splash” grew a bit across the demos from its first to second half-hour. Beginning next week, the timeslot will get even more crowded with unscripted programming, as NBC’s “The Voice” returns.

The stronger than usual start to the night seemed to lift ABC for the rest of the night, as the net got good mileage out of a “Dancing With the Stars” special called “Exclusive First Look” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall), and 10 p.m. drama “Body of Proof” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall) looked healthier, rising 25% in 18-49 (0.3) from last week.

Fox followed “Hell’s Kitchen,” which was down slightly from its premiere in the hour last week, with original episodes of “New Girl” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) and “The Mindy Project” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall), both of which were in line with their most recent originals of three weeks ago. “New Girl” was the night’s No. 1 program in adults 18-34 (2.2/7) and Fox won the night in the category.

NBC had a quiet night, with “Off Their Rockers” averaging a 1.0/3 in 18-49 and 3.7 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour for its repeat and original episodes. It was followed by the low-rated return of rookie half-hours “Go On” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall) and “The New Normal” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall), which were both down from their most recent originals of two weeks ago.

And closing the night was “Smash” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall), which was off slightly from last week in its penultimate airing on the night before heading to finish its run on Saturdays.

CW aired the music special “iHeart Radio: Justin Timberlake” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall) and “Beauty and the Beast” (0.2/0 in 18-49, 0.5 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.6/7; ABC and Fox, 2.0/6; Univision, 1.4/4; NBC, 0.9/3; CW, 0.3/1.
In total viewers: CBS, 15.0 million; ABC, 8.9 million; Fox, 4.3 million; Univision, 3.5 million; NBC, 2.9 million; CW, 0.8 million.