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‘Voice,’ ‘Blacklist’ Strong As NBC Wins Opening Night in Demos

CBS' 'Hostages' off to a lackluster start; Fox's 'Sleepy Hollow' holds up well in its second week

NBC’s James Spader drama “The Blacklist” opened very well Monday, taking advantage of its sizable “Voice” lead-in to handily win its head-to-head showdown with fellow CBS rookie drama “Hostages” as the television season officially commenced.

Elsewhere, Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” continued to look good in its second outing despite losing some audience, as expected, opposite increased competition. CBS veteran laffer “How I Met Your Mother” opened its final season with good numbers, but the net’s newcomer “Mom” was nothing special.

It’s important to keep in mind that while same-night viewing is still a good indicator of a show’s strength, the networks are increasingly preaching patience when it comes to the evaluation of their programs. Shows can be watched at any time, and on a number of platforms, and it will take a while to truly judge their popularity.

NBC was the No. 1 broadcaster on Monday in the key demos of adults 18-49 and 25-54 as well as total viewers, sweeping the night’s six half-hours in demos. It won the night over runner-up CBS by 70% in 18-49, up from 46% a year ago and the biggest margin on premiere Monday for any network since at least 1986.

Combined, the Big Four broadcasters averaged a 12.1 rating in 18-49 for the night, up 9% from last year’s 11.1. NBC was up a little, Fox a lot, while ABC and CBS had minimal year-over-year declines.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “The Voice” averaged a 4.9 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 14.7 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m. — up 17% from its earlier-in-September bow of last year (4.2) and 11% better than the opening night of the TV season a year ago (4.4). It beat the runner-up broadcast network in the time period, CBS, by 58% in 18-49.

This was the largest overall audience for any episode of “The Voice” since March 5, 2012.

And at 10 p.m. for NBC, “The Blacklist” averaged a 3.8/10 in 18-49 and 12.6 million viewers overall, on par with the opening two-week average of “Revolution” a year ago. (“Revolution” bowed pre-season to a 4.1 and then did a 3.4 on the official opening night of the season.).

At CBS, “Hostages” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall) underwhelmed and was merely on par with last year’s “Hawaii Five-0” in the time period. It didn’t have an especially strong lead-in from new comedy “Moms” (2.5/6 in 18-49, 7.9 million viewers overall), which placed a distant third in its time period and was down from last year’s “Mike & Molly.”.

Earlier for CBS, “How I Met Your Mother” opened its final season with a 3.6/10 in 18-49 and 9.2 million viewers, on par with last year’s opening half-hour, and “2 Broke Girls” followed at 9 (2.8/7 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall), down sharply from last year. Things could get tougher for “2 Broke Girls” next week as it will have a new show, “We Are Men,” leading into it.

Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall) was down about 10% from its strong premiere, building by a big 63% in 18-49 on its lead-in from “Bones” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall). This is an impressive second-week-hold given the stepped-up competition last night; by comparison, NBC’s “Revolution” last year similarly bowed a week before the season started and then dropped off 17% in week two against premieres on other networks.

“Sleepy” is Fox’s strongest fall drama premiere in seven years, and it fared well in early DVR playback too, hitting a 5.0 in the demo in just its first three days post-premiere. On the opening Monday of last season, the net’s “Mob Doctor” did a mere 1.3 same-night demo rating.

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 13.4 million viewers overall) was down 26% from its week-ago premiere but off just 8% from the opening night of last season, which was its premiere. And it was up slightly from its second week of last season (2.1 in the demo).

At 10, veteran drama “Castle” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 11.5 million viewers overall) was up a tick from last year to place a solid second for the hour.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 4.6/12; CBS, 2.7/7; Fox, 2.5/7; ABC, 2.3/6; Univision, 1.3/4; Telemundo, 0.4/1; CW, 0.2/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 14.0 million; ABC, 12.7 million; CBS, 8.3 million; Fox, 7.6 million; Univision, 3.4 million; Telemundo, 1.0 million.

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