On paper, Fox’s “New Girl” got off to a rocky start in its fourth season premiere, down 45% from last season’s opener — but when compared to where the show left off (1.2 in adults 18-49 and 2.4 million in total viewers for its third season finale), the Zooey Deschanel comedy posted gains, scoring a 1.6 rating and 3.1 million total viewers. Whether it can improve those numbers once DVR viewing is factored in remains to be seen, but given the show’s audience erosion last season, it’s likely heartening for execs that fans were curious enough to give the laffer a second chance after a creatively uneven year.
Lead-out “The Mindy Project” told a similar story, posting a 1.3 in 18-49 (down from last year’s 1.9 premiere, but even with its season three finale). In total viewers, the Mindy Kaling series was up a tick from its most recent finale, with 2.8 million vs. 2.5 million. Neither comedy was helped by reality lead-in “Utopia,” which was up 11% week-to-week but touted only a 1.0 in the demo, providing little boost.
At 8 p.m., “Big Brother” (which scored a 2.3 rating) beat out first-run episodes of “Utopia” (1.0) and “Dancing with the Stars” (2.1) in adults 18-49, but the “DWTS” results show stomped the competition in total viewers (12.3 million), making it the most-watched program of the night overall.
The finale of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” won the night in 18-49, notching a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 11.4 million total viewers in the 9-11 p.m. hours. The rest of the schedule was in repeats, aside from an ABC “20/20” special at 10 p.m., which nabbed a 0.6 rating and 3.2 million viewers.