UPDATE: In updated Nielsen estimates released late Tuesday, CBS’ “Scorpion” was revised down a tick to 3.2/9 in 18-49 and 13.83 million viewers overall, tying with Fox’s “Gotham” in 18-49 (3.2/10, 8.21 million viewers); the Batman prequel held at its earlier rating and picked up about 200,000 viewers in the nationals.
Nielsen had good news for ABC’s shows, as “Dancing With the Stars” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 12.76 million viewers overall) and the preview of “Forever” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 8.59 million viewers overall) were both adjusted up by two-tenths. “Dancing” closed the 18-49 demo gap with competing reality show “The Voice” from 2.8 ratings points a year ago to 1.7, and the ABC show nearly caught the NBC show in total viewers.
The program averages for “The Voice” (3.9/11 in 18-49, 12.95 million viewers overall) and “The Blacklist” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 12.34 million viewers overall) held at their earlier numbers.
At CBS, “The Big Bang Theory” averaged a 5.4 demo rating in both half-hours (and about 18.1 million viewers overall), and “Under the Dome” held steady (1.8/5 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall).
NBC was the top broadcaster on the night by two-tenths over CBS in 18-49, and the nets tied among adults 25-54. CBS prevailed in total viewers.
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” averaged a 5.2/14 in 18-49 and 13.27 million viewers overall.
The strength of broadcast television was on full display Monday, as the light switch was turned on for a new season and tens of millions of viewers tuned in to see a mix of new and returning series — including some of the biggest on television.
This opening night was as jam-packed as any in memory, with both Fox (“Gotham”) and CBS (“Scorpion”) unveiling their most heavily promoted new shows to promising results.
NBC (“The Blacklist”) and Fox (“Sleepy Hollow”) also launched the sophomore seasons of their biggest new shows from last year, with the former looking very strong in its return and the latter taking a fall — likely losing some drama audience to timeslot competitor “Scorpion.”
And CBS’ (temporary) relocation of “The Big Bang Theory” to Monday meant that the night also featured a head-to-head showdown between TV’s top comedy (“Big Bang”) and reality show (NBC’s “The Voice” in young adults and ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” in total viewers).
In the night’s opening half-hour — which featured “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Voice,” “Gotham” and “Dancing With the Stars” — 43% of adults 18-49 and 45% of adults 25-54 watching television were tuned in to one of the Big Four networks, according to Nielsen. In total viewers, they totaled more than 49 million.
And of course, these and other shows will also pick up millions of viewers in DVR playback.
Looking at the preliminary “live plus same-day” Nielsen estimates, which include live viewing plus time-shifted viewing done by 3 a.m. Tuesday, “The Big Bang Theory” emerged the top entertainment series among adults 18-49 with its back-to-back originals at 8 (5.3 rating/17 share, 17.8 million viewers overall) and 8:30 (5.4/15, 18.0 million). Despite taking on much tougher competition than it faced a year ago when it premiered on Thursday (also with back-to-back originals), “Bang” was down just a bit.
That potent lead-in helped provide nice sampling for “Scorpion” (3.3/9 in 18-49, 14.0 million viewers overall), which matched last summer’s “Under the Dome” as the net’s strongest drama premiere in 18-49 over the last three years. CBS was hoping that the drama about genius crime-solvers would mesh well with the “Big Bang Theory” audience, and that appeared to be the case on Monday. Considering the huge lead-in it had, “Scorpion” held up pretty well on the half-hour, going from a 3.4 to 3.1 in 18-49.
“Scorpion” easily bested the second-season premiere of Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall), which was down 43% in 18-49 from its big bow of last year (3.5) and also below its first-season finale in January (2.4).
Leading into “Sleepy Hollow” on Fox was the much-anticipated Batman prequel “Gotham” (3.2/10 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall), which placed third among the broadcasters in 18-49 for the 8 o’clock hour, but is also one of the net’s best drama premieres in recent years — and did this rating as a self-starter kicking off the night. Among 8 p.m. dramas to bow on Fox, “Gotham” is the top-rated in 18-49 since “Prison Break” in 2005.
In a good sign, “Gotham” grew in its second half-hour in all key categories. It also was the night’s top drama draw in men 18-49 (3.4), ahead of “Scorpion” (3.1) and “Blacklist” (2.9).
At NBC, “The Voice” (3.9/11 in 18-49, 12.7 million viewers overall) came back pretty well, but was clearly dinged by the brutal competition, falling about 20% below its year-ago opener and its lowest-rated season premiere to date in 18-49. The music competition series roughly doubled the demo delivery of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall), which was down about 15% from its season premiere of the previous week when it faced lesser competition.
Last week’s “Dancing” saw its biggest-ever L3 lift for any premiere telecast of the series, surging 21% in adults 18-49 over its same-night number (from a 2.4 rating to a 2.9 rating).
It was no contest at 10 p.m., with NBC’s “The Blacklist” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall) beating the combined demo scores of CBS’ season finale of “Under the Dome” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) and ABC’s special preview of new Tuesday drama “Forever” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall). “Blacklist” was down about 10% from its monster premiere of last year, but Monday’s return score was the show’s second best to date. It also retained a bigger chunk of its “Voice” 18-49 lead-in (87%) than last year (75%).
Starting next week, the James Spader drama will face veteran crime dramas “Castle” on ABC and “NCIS: Los Angeles” on CBS. Also coming on board next week is sophomore comedy “Mom” on CBS, which will air at 8:30 after “The Big Bang Theory.” CW’s Monday series “The Originals” and “Jane the Virgin” bow in October.
Overall, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” was expected to win the night in adults 18-49 with its big-market Chicago Bears-New York Jets matchup, which earned a 9.2 overnight household rating and took away some potential same-night viewers from the broadcast premieres.
NBC edged out CBS in both adults 18-49 and 25-54 as the night’s top broadcaster, while the Eye pulled ahead in total viewers.