Fox’s ‘The Following’ Underwhelms Monday as ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Leads CBS Surge

Kevin Bacon drama premiere on the night with series low; ABC's 'Bachelor' rises, NBC's 'Blacklist' strong again

Fox's 'The Following' Underwhelms Monday 'How I Met Your Mother' Leads CBS Surge

With the highest-rated “How I Met Your Mother” of the season getting the night off to a great start, CBS saw gains for all of its Monday series last night en route to an easy victory in key demos. At Fox, meanwhile, “The Following” had a sluggish regular-timeslot premiere after kicking off its second season behind football one week ago.According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “How I Met Your Mother” averaged a big 3.8 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 10.7 million viewers overall, up 23 week to week and edging out its season premiere in September (3.7) as its top-rated episode in 18-49 since last February (the night after the net aired the Super Bowl) and its largest overall audience since December 2011. The leadoff comedy, which is wrapping its run in nine weeks, and the entire lineup overall likely benefited from promotion during the Eye’s telecast of the Grammy Awards one night earlier.

The big “Mother” helped boost “2 Broke Girls” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall), “Mike & Molly” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 10.7 million viewers overall) and “Mom” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall), all of which matched or set season highs in all categories; “Mike & Molly” tied with “How I Met Your Mother” as Monday’s most-watched program overall. And at 10 p.m., “Intelligence” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall) improved as well, posting its best Monday scores in its three outings on the night.

For the night, CBS won over runner-up ABC by 19% in 18-49, 28% in 25-54 and by more than 1 million total viewers.

At Fox, an encore of last week’s second-season premiere of “The Following” kicked off Monday (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) and was followed by the timeslot premiere of the show at 9 (2.0/5 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall). Despite being amply sampled post-football (its premiere did a 4.4 demo rating), the Kevin Bacon serial-killer drama delivered its lowest demo score to date (2.0/5 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall) and came in below every episode of “Sleepy Hollow” to air in the timeslot this season. While the show is sure to do well in DVR playback as it did a year ago, it ran third in its timeslot in same-night 18-49 delivery.

ABC’s “The Bachelor” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall) delivered its best numbers since its season opener, rising 9% week to week and beating out the CBS comedies to win the 9 o’clock hour in 18-49. A repeat “Castle” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall) finished about on par with the firstrun “Intelligence” on CBS.NBC aired two original episodes of “Hollywood Game Night” at both 8 p.m. (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) and 9 (1.3/3 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall), with the former matching last week’s series-best 18-49 score. and setting a high in total viewers. It was followed by “The Blacklist” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall), which nearly doubled the gameshow’s 18-49 lead-in average and was easily Monday’s No. 1 drama. The rookie drama grew 9% week to week and improved upon the net’s year-ago January time-period average with “Deception” by 67%.

There was no real moving of the needle at CW for its “Hart of Dixie” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall) or “Beauty and the Beast” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.9 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.5/7; ABC, 2.1/6; NBC, 1.8/5; Fox, 1.6/4; Univision, 1.4/4; Telemundo, 0.6/2; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 9.1 million; ABC, 8.0 million; NBC, 6.7 million; Fox, 5.0 million; Univision, 3.3 million; Telemundo, 1.5 million; CW, 1.0 million.