‘Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD’ Opens to 12.1 Million for ABC

It wins in demo opposite 'NCIS' and 'The Voice'; NBC's 'Chicago Fire' debuts well on new night

UPDATE: In Nielsen national estimates released later Wednesday, “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” grew to a 4.7/14 in 18-49 and 12.12 million viewers overall. Other changes from the prelims for Big Four programs: “NCIS” grew two ticks to a 3.6/11 while hitting 20.02 million viewers, its third largest season-opening audience in its 11 seasons; NBC’s “The Voice” edged up (4.7/13 in 18-49, 14.35m) while “Chicago Fire” edged down (2.7/8 in 18-49, 8.70m); ABC’s “The Goldbergs” came down slightly (3.1/8 in 18-49, 8.94m); no Fox show budged in 18-49.

On cable, FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” didn’t seem to notice the new competition from original dramas on ABC, CBS and NBC. It did a strong 2.4/7 in 18-49 in the 10 p.m. hour to place second to “Chicago Fire” in the demo. And on USA, six repeats of “Modern Family” averaged a 0.6 rating in 18-49 and 1.59 million viewers overall — well down in total viewers for the net from last year but up about 25% in adults 18-34.


ABC’s mission to translate Marvel’s theatrical success to the small screen is off to a rousing start.

Tuesday night’s premiere of “Marvel’s Agents of Shield” drew strong ratings in key demos and 11.9 million viewers overall despite airing opposite some of the toughest series competition any recent new show has had to endure. In fact, it was up against the most popular series on both CBS and NBC.

Thanks to a special hour of “The Voice” and a good relaunch for “Chicago Fire” on its new night, NBC won the opening Tuesday of the season in adults 18-49 for the first time since 2005. CBS led Tuesday comfortably in total viewers.

ABC, meanwhile, had its best opening Tuesday in three years.

Looking at the ratings action, the 8 p.m. hour on Tuesday saw CBS’ “NCIS” draw a whopping 19.5 million and NBC’s “The Voice,” which won’t be airing in the hour on a regular basis, attracting 12.7 million. ABC, CBS and NBC combined for 44.1 million viewers from 8 to 9.

“SHIELD,” starring Clark Gregg as the agent character he played in the 2012 film “Marvel’s The Avengers,” tied with “The Voice” as Tuesday’s No. 1 series in the adults 18-49 demo (4.6 rating). Head-to-head, “SHIELD” beat “Voice” in the demo, 4.6/14 to 4.0/12.

The 4.6 rating makes “SHIELD” the top drama premiere on any network since ABC’s “V” in November 2009 — and the best for any 8 p.m. drama since “Lost” in 2004.

ABC was able to bring men to the network, with roughly 58% of the 18-49 audience for “SHIELD” coming from guys. Compare this to last season’s averages for its returning dramas: “Grey’s Anatomy” (24%), “Scandal” (26%), “Revenge” (30%), “Once Upon a Time” (33%) and “Castle” (36%).

Airing opposite the additional monster competition on its rivals, Fox’s new comedies “Dads” (1.5 rating/5 share in adults 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall) and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall) declined sharply from their premieres of the previous week.

Following “Agents of SHIELD,” ABC launched new comedies “The Goldbergs” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall) and “Trophy Wife” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall). They won the head-to-head comedy battle over Fox’s second week of “New Girl” did a 2.1/6 in 18-49 and 4.1 million viewers overall, and “The Mindy Project” (1.5/4 in the demo and 3.0 million total viewers).

ABC has to be pleased with its performance from 8 to 10 p.m., but new 10 o’clock drama “Lucky 7” opened to weak numbers (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall).

At CBS, “NCIS” held up well among older viewers and was down just 5% from its year-ago premiere. But it was off about 15% vs. last year’s premiere in adults 18-49 and 25-54, and by larger amounts in key male demos. (Last year, ABC had “Dancing With the Stars” airing at 8.)

“NCIS” was followed by the premieres of “NCIS: Los Angeles” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 16.2 million viewers overall) and “Person of Interest” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 12.3 million viewers overall). “Person” was second to “Chicago Fire” for its hour in 18-49 and 25-54 while winning easily in total viewers.

A year ago, “Vegas” opened at 10 p.m. for CBS to a 2.5/7 in 18-49 but it enjoyed a stronger lead-in from “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

At NBC, “The Voice” averaged a 4.6/13 in 18-49 and 14.1 million viewers overall), rising with each half-hour. The music competition is off to a great start this fall, and was up from its opening Tuesday a year ago (prior to the start of the TV season) by 15% and up from its result during premiere-week Tuesday of last year (4.2) by 10%.

It was followed by the second-season premiere of “Chicago Fire” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall), which grew 56% over “Parenthood” in the timeslot a year ago; however, “Parenthood” had a considerably smaller lead-in courtesy of new comedy “The New Normal.”

Compared to its series debut of last year (on a Wednesday in the third week of the season), “Chicago Fire” was up 47% in 18-49 rating (from 1.9).

Through two nights, NBC is up vs. last year by about 25% in 18-49 and more than 40% in total viewers.

More TV

  • Luna Nera Netflix Italy

    Italy's Women Filmmakers Set to Make Waves

    The Berlinale in recent years has been a prime launching pad for Italian films directed by women, which though fewer in number to their male counterparts, make up a considerable portion of the country’s representation on the festival circuit — Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) at Cannes, Susanna Nicchiarelli (“Nico”) at Venice, and Berlin regular [...]

  • Love Me Scandinavian Cinema

    Scandinavia Ups Its Game With So Many Markets for Its Fare

    When the Nordic entertainment group, one of Scandinavia’s largest media groups, announced last month during the Goteborg Film Festival that it was pulling out of non-scripted content to focus on scripted drama, and film production and distribution, it underscored two market trends in the Nordics: Subscription-based services, whether local or global, are driving the region’s [...]

  • Louis Hofmann in Prélude

    Berlin: Louis Hofmann Cast in Damian John Harper's 'Fresh' (EXCLUSIVE)

    German star Louis Hofmann is set to topline Damian John Harper’s upcoming drama “Fresh,” a German-language adaptation of Scottish writer Mark McNay’s novel of the same name. Hofmann plays a young man who must emancipate himself from his tyrannical older brother. Unlike the book, which is set in the outskirts of Glasgow, the film’s story [...]

  • Steve Stark

    Steve Stark Named President of Newly Formed MGM/UA Television

    The newly formed MGM/UA Television label has found a president in Steve Stark, who previously served as MGM’s president of scripted television production and development. MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman Mark Burnett made the announcement late Friday, adding that Stark has extended his contract with the studio as part of his new role. “We are [...]

  • Bad Education

    TV News Roundup: HBO Sets Premiere Date for Hugh Jackman's 'Bad Education' (Watch)

    In today’s TV News roundup, HBO Films set the premiere date for “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney and “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” tapes Chris Harrison and Sage Steele as hosts. CASTING “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison will host “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” alongside co-host Sage Steele of ESPN, ABC announced. [...]

  • Randall Park Ed Helms

    Randall Park, Ed Helms to Host Hybrid Alternative-Scripted Series 'True Story' for NBC

    Ed Helms and Randall Park are attached to co-host a hybrid scripted-alternative series titled “True Story” at NBC. The hour-long show has received a six-episode order. It is based on the Australian series “True Story with Hamish & Andy.” In the series, everyday Americans sit down with Helms and Park to share their most extraordinary [...]

  • Annie MurphyGlamour Women of the Year

    'Schitt’s Creek' Star Annie Murphy Cast as Lead in AMC's ‘Kevin Can F— Himself’

    “Schitt’s Creek” star Annie Murphy has been cast as the lead in AMC’s upcoming series “Kevin Can F— Himself.” The dark comedy centers around Murphy’s Allison, Kevin’s wife, who escapes her confines and discovers her rage. “Kevin Can F– Himself” probes the secret life of a type of woman we all grew up believing we [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content